After another sleepless night, Anna began to believe that she was already dead; her body and mind just had not caught up yet. She found herself pacing through her house, trying to clean. She had company coming, and she realized her house had become a disaster over the past month. She grew convinced cleaning her house would help her mind. As she cleaned, the messages increased – “Anna, please you have to control your mind.” The electronics in her house started behaving erratically. Unknown callers on her phone, while her son’s iPad began incessantly sounding alarms. She found the iPad, and saw a picture of Eric with the kids. Next to the iPad was a note from her daughter, she had drawn a picture of them all together. Her note read, “Mommy, please don’t ever stop loving Daddy.” Anna collapsed and soaked the drawing with her tears. The iPad sounded a new alarm, and the background had changed to a wedding picture of her and Eric.
Her phone gave an alert – “Your cat needs you!” and Anna realized she hadn’t seen him around. Anna checked where his food and water bowl were, and found them both bone dry. She filled the bowls and found vomit near his litter box. She began looking for her cat, nervous something was wrong. As she did, she saw new patches of urine and vomit that weren’t there previously. She began cleaning the new stains, while calling for him and shaking his treat bag. She found him hiding under her bed, and he refused to leave even for treats. Anna laid on the floor and sobbed. “I can’t even take care of my fucking cat!” The vomit and urine weren’t normal, but she also wasn’t sure it was the cat’s, recalling the odd dirty dishes in the cabinet. Next to the cat, she saw another pair of Kris’ socks and a pair of his underwear “There is no way…” she stammered. Her phone rang again, and she answered. “Hello?”
“Hello?” came the response
“hi…who is this?’ she asked
“Who is this? You called me.” a male voice responded, and she could hear stifled laughter in the background.
“No, I didn’t. You just called me.”
More stifled laughter, and “What’s your name, you sound cute!”
She hung up and threw her phone on the ground. Another notification popped up, “Treats would make me happy!” she sighed, thinking her cell phone is less of a device and more of a master. “Everyone uses their phone to care for cats, right?” as she tossed treats under the bed and watched him greedily eat them up. Anna went up to hop in the shower, but the hot water would not work. Anna sighed and noticed another pair of socks on the ground. “What the fuck…?” she thought as she picked them up and put them in an empty dresser. She didn’t understand why she was even holding on to them. There were now 3 pairs of socks and one pair of underwear. She shook her head in disbelief. “I would have seen these before..” Anna’s concerns about someone messing with her house grew. She kept losing things or finding items in places she did not leave them.
Despite the cold January, she thought about going to the beach or the mountains. She wanted to immerse herself in nature and get away from everything. One of the messages she received had suggested that. She packed a bag and headed towards the mountains. Her GPS began directing her in circles all over again, and she felt afraid and confused. She remembered she could not actually get a hotel room – her license was now missing, as were her glasses. She began to see and feel a light again. She felt like she was floating, peaceful for the first time. She felt strangely numb, yet completely peaceful. She imagined this was what heroin felt like. It seemed like a large beacon of light was emitting from the crown of her head. Anna smiled and sighed happily. Seconds later, Anna opened her eyes and saw a telephone pole. The speedometer read 66mph, and Anna’s heart almost exploded from her chest. She jerked her car too hard and shot to the other side of the road, bumping into the grass. “Did I fall asleep?” she wondered. The clock confirmed no time had actually elapsed; the same song was still on the radio. Her display – which shows song/artist and radio station, was now showing a simple message: “Drive Safely!”
Blinking again, she walked into her ex’s house. Anna had no recollection how she got there. She looked at the clock reading 11:11, when she swore it was 10. Eric was surprised, “hey, are you okay??” Anna replied, as she fell onto the couch, “I just…need…sleep” 15 minutes later, she shot back awake in horror, covered in sweat again. She began pacing and babbling to her ex. She tried telling him everything that was happening, but he would hear none of it. He tried to get her to sleep with melatonin, but she spent the night pacing the steps.
The next morning, her phone began sounding alerts almost non stop. She had 15 missed calls from her parents, but it had not rang once. According to her call log, they had been calling for days with increasingly worried voicemails. New notifications chimed – instructions to breathe, GPS navigation to addresses she did not know, and then Anna received a text message from an unknown number. There were no words, just 2 pictures, Eric feeding the kids breakfast and her mother and father drinking coffee at the table. Anna began shaking and sobbing. Spotify opened with Gnarl’s Barkely’s “Crazy” blaring. Anna attempted to call a crisis line, and the person told her to just eat some breakfast with her family; she was fine. It had taken Anna 6 tries to even make that connection, as her phone kept telling her dialing was restricted on her phone.
After Anna disconnected from the crisis line, her daughter came in. “Mommy, my friends have a message for you.” She turned the tablet towards her, and Anna read, “Mommy, if you are upset or anxious, please write it down. Please don’t think about the bad man anymore.” Anna did not understand how her daughter could spell this, and the handwriting was perfect. “What does this mean, baby girl?” Anna asked nervously. “My friends want you to be more careful, Mommy. They said you are making a big mess.” Anna nodded and smiled. Her daughter whispered, “You need to be careful with your phone too Mommy. It’s not safe.” Anna became terrified she did something wrong. All the thoughts about Twin Flame, someone trying to talk to her, and this feeling she needed to choose came surging forward.
After everyone had gone to bed, Anna paced the steps. She was bathed in the white light again, and everytime she closed her eyes she saw a kaleidoscope of colors. Worried her pacing might keep everyone up, she went outside to try to meditate and calm herself under the moon. As soon as she went outside, the wind began howling. She sat, and slipped into meditation. When she grew too cold, she went inside to check on the kids. She went to her daughter, who was sleeping soundly. As she rubbed her back, her daughter growled and gritted her teeth. Anna was surprised. She went to her sons’ room, and rubbed her youngest’s back. He too growled and gritted his teeth, moving around uncomfortably.
Anna swore she could hear laughter. She went outside again. The howling wind and rain made her get into her car to smoke a cigarette. She turned the radio on, and heard Britney Spears and Will I Am singing, except it too was slow and demonic. The DJ broke in, “Roll call! Who’s awake and ready to party?!” His voice was deep and low, like someone had turned the speed down on a record player. “Sing if you are on the right team” Anna sang the “It’s Will I Am and Britney bitch” verse, and the DJ broke in, “whoa whoa whoa, what kind of language is that? Sounds pretty abusive if you ask me. What kind of woman wants a man that calls her a bitch? Ohhhhhhhhhhhh we know! It’s the Eric and Anna show!!!! We all know what happens when Eric and Anna party!”
Anna screamed and turned on the ignition and peeled out of the parking lot. The DJs continued mocking her. “Hey – what do you do if you are having problems…do you google it? You google it right? Hearing voices, google that. Maybe you should run away to the beach in January right? Everyone told you to go dance, so you drove around alone, right?” The other DJ’s laughed in the background. Anna continued screaming. She changed the station. A new demonic DJ chimed in, “Hey, what do you do when millions of women are protesting their rights? You try to fix things with your exes right? Nothing advances women’s causes like sticking with the men who hurt you!!!! Hey, hey, sorry, I gotta get back on track. It’s horoscope time!!!! Leo, your number today is a 7, you are strong, courageous, but you are not going to have a great day today. Someone really messed things up for you, and you are about to deal with some serious storms. Aquarius! Your number today is a 3. Try not to let the traffic jams of millions of people trying to get into the city weigh you down. It’s not your fault someone blew out all the traffic lights and a bridge! Libra!!!!! Your day is going to be a 10! You don’t need to listen to anyone’s advice, and you need to just keep doing whatever it is you want. You are smarter than everyone else after all. You are going to have the best day ever, and we can’t wait to watch and see what you do!!!” The laughter intensified, Anna swerved her car in an illegal U-Turn and headed back to her kids. She changed the station again, “Have you ever illegally given someone a cell phone to impress them? Have you ever stalked someone hoping they’d love you again? I know this one chick who got played by a kid way younger than her, and she lost her mind.” More laughter. Anna’s heart was racing, and one thought, “I’ve killed us all.”
As Anna drove, she tried to breathe and calm herself down. She raced back to Eric’s. As she got out of the car, she noticed how dark the sky was. The wind was still howling. A woman was walking down the sidewalk. Anna said good morning, as the woman looked at her. Anna screamed in horror as she watched her face melt away, and the woman hissed “have a better tomorrow.” She screamed and slammed the door behind her. Eric was standing there angrily, and grabbed her by the wrist, and moved her on to the couch. “What the FUCK is wrong with you!!!!!!” he roared. Anna began sobbing, “I killed us all! I killed us all!”
“Yeah, I know you did.” Anna began shaking and rocking and sobbing. “I heard you scream that to our 5 year old daughter before you disappeared.” Anna was confused, she didn’t remember that. She looked at the clock, it said 7:00. She was lost – “I….I don’t know what’s going on, Eric!” she stammered. “A woman’s face just melted, and there are demons on the radio! I swear, Eric, they said I ruined everything. They said I was going to have a great day, they said they couldn’t wait to see what I could do!”
“That’s enough, Anna, stop. You are scaring the shit out of me and you scared the shit out of the kids. I am taking you home, and you are going to drink some goddamn tea and go to sleep. You can’t think anymore, you haven’t slept in weeks. I know you haven’t.” Eric yelled, “I’m fucking exhausted. You kept me up all fucking night!! You woke me up yesterday at 5, crying in to the phone saying you wanted to fix us, and by 5PM you hated me again. I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”
“Take me to the hospital” Anna replied. “Something is wrong.”
Eric shook his head, “Anna, you are fine. You are not crazy, you are Fight Club levels of Insomnia right now. You have a complete Tyler Durden thing going on right now, that’s all!”
Anna disagreed, but went to check on the kids. They were twirling around with dollar bills stuck on their fingers. “Hey Mommy! I had a dream last night that the Suicide Squad came and took you and Daddy away.” Anna felt sick. “I kept dreaming there was a doggie biting me all night.” Anna recalled them growling at her and moving away. Her daughter came in, “Mommy…did you kill us?” Anna sobbed, “no no no honey, I must have had a bad dream, I’m sorry.”
Anna had seen and heard enough. She told Eric to take her to the hospital, or she’d have her parents do it. Eric, knowing Anna better than everyone, pushed back. “Anna, your biggest fear are hospitals. Every time you go to one, you come out worse. You know that. You just need sleep.”
“I am going to kill myself if I don’t get help, there’s something wrong with me.” He asked her if he contacted her doctors. “They told me to eat breakfast with you” she replied with confusion. “Well, you told them you felt this way and they didn’t seem to think it was a problem. Just call out of work and sleep.” Anna curled up on the couch, hearing her phone giving new notifications. Eric left with the kids, and Anna tried to sleep. As she closed her eyes, “Life Imitates Art” flashed before her eyes in neon lights. Lana del Rey’s “God’s and Monsters” started playing without her touching a thing.