Perceptions of Reality

I myself don't have schizophrenia but I do have another mental illness that has completely taken over my life. I know what it feels like to have even those who you are close to turn their backs on you because of your disorder. And most importantly, the terrifying reality that you can no longer trust your own mind. So to explain, on one hand, this one shot shows the ugly truth of what people think when they hear 'mental illness' without really understanding it. On the other hand, this is how those afflicted with a disorder might perceive themselves, as lost in the maze of their mind, desperately trying to escape.

I'm not going to further explain what is happening, as I'd like to leave it open to interpretation. Though of course, any one with questions is free to ask. I will say one thing though before I finish this. If when reading this, you are confused, that is the point. It's up to you to decipher what is the truth and what is only Blake's mind, twisting his perception of reality.

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1. Schizophrenia

Blake ran blood covered fingers through dyed silver hair, sighing as he slid his back down the wall,coming to a rest on the ground. He pulled a long leg up, wrapping one arm around his knee while the other lifted a cigarette to his mouth. Taking a long drag, the smoke filtered out from his nose only a moment later, the motion a calming one to him. He looked down at himself, his white shirt and black jeans completely covered in a red liquid. How had he even gotten himself into this situation?  How had he ended up here, hiding from the cops in this debilitated, abandoned shack?

"Hey, you can't be in here." 

Blake's head shot up from where he'd been staring blankly at his clothes to across the small space, where a blonde head was sticking out from behind a pile of dirty blankets. He hadn't even noticed her, had she been sleeping in those blankets since he'd arrived? 

"And why is that?" He asked curiously, finally coming out of his own world. 

"Because this is my hiding spot!" The woman exclaimed proudly, as if living here was some kind of feat. 

Blake scoffed, "So what? I'm just chilling here until the cops cool it, so calm down."

The woman moved out from behind the blankets fully, walking over to the only window in the shack, lifting a stained piece of cloth  to peer through the grubby glass. She squinted, obviously trying to look for any cops that might have followed him here, and in the meantime he looked her over. If he had to guess she was around twenty-three, slim but with a full figure that under normal circumstances would have caught his eye. But her clothes were filthy, and barely keeping to her body, staying together with poorly done patch jobs and sheer will power. She had been hiding far longer than him, so how she wasn't starving to death was a mystery.

"Why are you living in this place anyway?" 

She ignored him for a few seconds before she turned from looking out the window to plop herself down on the blankets, placing her head into a hand and staring at him critically. 

"Why are you covered in blood?" 

He sighed, rubbing at the growing pain in his forehead. If he was going to get any information to cure his boredom while waiting for the piggies to stop searching, it was clear he'd need to give information too. 

"I . . . don't know." He replied hesitantly.

The woman gave him an incredulous look. 

"How do you not know the way you became covered in another person's blood? 

What, you expect me to believe you're suppressing it or some other psych bullshit?" 

He rolled crystal orbs, shaking his head at her attitude. Damn, forget satisfying his curiosity, this bitch was annoying as hell. 

"I'm telling the truth. 

I just woke up outside my house like this, and then the cops showed up." 

Blake's jaw tightened at the memory, the confusion and panic still pumping through his body along with his blood. What had he done?

"You're kind of dense huh?" 

He glared into her blue eyes, raising the cigarette to his lips once more as if to fend off any insults he had brewing in his mind. 

"I'm serious though. Now that  you're away from the cops, this is the perfect chance to try and see if you remember anything. 

And you're just sitting here, smoking a cig like everything is cool."

His right eye twitched as he tried to ignore her scathing tone, as if she even had a right to fucking criticize him. She was living here for fucks sake! 

"Hey, look at me! I'm serious! 

If you think hard enough, maybe you'll remember!" 

He froze at her words, staring off into the space behind the woman's blonde head, eyes becoming hazy as if drifting through his memories. He could still feel her hard but intrigued stare on him, so he suddenly swung his gaze  to meet hers, startling her a bit. 

"You're right . . . I do remember." He spoke without hesitating, despite it being a complete lie. 

For the first time since he'd flung himself into this shack without a second thought, the woman's face softened, the tiniest of smiles crossing her lips. He narrowed his eyes in contemplation at this, wondering why she seemed so invested. She wasn't even scared of him, and something about her . . . she reminded him of someone. But he couldn't for the life of him remember who it was. 

"I'll tell you what I just remembered, if you tell me your name first." 

Blake stared patiently at his hiding partner as she thought over his words, crossing her arms. 

"Alright, but you better keep your end of the deal."

What would she do if he didn't? Glare him to death? He motioned with his hand for her to continue, his patience wearing thin.

"My name is Delaney. 

All right, now tell - " 

He didn't hear the rest of her sentence, cut off by a sharp, hot throb in the center of his chest. He gasped loudly at the sensation, grabbing the fabric of his shirt right in front of his heart, as if that would somehow stop the excruciating pain. Blake curled forward, squeezing so hard his knuckles turned white, desperately trying to contain whatever was happening to him.

He cried out as the torment increased, spots forming behind his eyelids before darkness came rushing down over him. 

She screamed, eyes wild and blonde hair flowing around her as she slashed upwards, the sharp knife in her hand just barely missing his neck as he dodged her quickly. He bent down slightly before barreling into her thin frame, slamming them both to the floor in one fluid motion. They wrestled for a moment, each trying to throw off the other while blocking various attempts to slash open their throats. With a loud grunt, he kneed her stomach hard, grabbing a fistful of her hair as she began to yell obscenities at him. 

"What have you done with my boyfriend, you sick bastard?!" She struggled in his hold in a futile effort to escape. 

"You are so FUCKING dumb!" He brought his face close to hers, so that their blue eyes stared into each others. 

"I've told you over and over, I AM your boyfriend!" He grinned at her expression of denial, still trying valiantly to prove to herself that he was lying. 

"NO, NO! My boyfriend would never hurt me like this! 

He LOVED me! We were going to get married!" 

Her own words caused the tears to begin to spill forth, soft whimpers of despair leaving her lips before she could stop them. Finally. He'd finally broken her, she accepted the truth now, somewhere in her subconscious she knew. 

"We were, and we would have been a lovely couple, don't you think?" He asked rhetorically. 

"But then you had to go and FUCK everything up, you stupid cunt!

And now, it's time I end this charade once and for all."

She began to scream again, violently squirming, and as he tried to keep a hold on her, she somehow managed to aim a kick at his head. But the foot to his face didn't faze the enraged man, who lifted her up into the air by her hair as he straightened to his full height. The last thing she saw was her own terrified reflection in his eyes as he brought his hammer to her face, over and over and over and -


He jerked upwards with a gasp, gaze almost delirious as he tried to figure out where the hell he was. Brown, rotting wood and a floor covered in a thick layer of grime and dust . . . He was in the rundown shack, that's right. What the hell had just happened?

"So I guess you actually remember this time how you got blood all over you."

His head turned sharply at the slightly amused voice off to the right of him. A knowing look met him, blue orbs filled with something akin to pity. 

"Yeah, you're not the greatest liar under pressure, Blake." 

He  slowly adjusted himself back into the position he'd been before - what? Being knocked unconscious? Questions whirling through his mind a hundred miles per hour, he almost didn't recognize what the woman had said. 

"What a minute. How the hell do you know my name?" He asked angrily, baring his teeth at her without realizing it. 

She sighed obnoxiously, as if everything he said got on her nerves. 

"Damn Blake, snap out of it! Don't let them control you anymore.

I mean, at this point, you've pretty much fucked up your life, but still."

He threw his hands up in the air, thoroughly exasperated at this point. 

"Stop speaking in fucking riddles and just tell me what the hell you're talking about already."

She held up her hands in the universal sign of 'okay, I give in' before grabbing a blanket and wrapping it around herself, shivering slightly. He didn't know how she was cold, it was at least 70 degrees outside and with no air coming through the locked window, his skin was already covered in sweat. 

"First, tell me what you remembered. "

She interrupted him before he could speak, mouth already opening to form an angry exclamation. 

"Don't you even fucking start! I told you my name didn't I?

You need to hold up your end up our first deal before we make another one!"

He stared at her for a few seconds, mulling over her words in his frazzled mind, but he couldn't come up with a way out of this. Besides, she claimed to know him, so maybe that meant she actually knew how he'd gotten covered in blood like this. So slowly he began to recount the dream he'd had while he'd been unconscious, with furrowed brows of dismay the entire time. 

"I've had dreams like that before but . . . what was that pain that knocked me out?" He finished speaking by throwing a question out into the air between them. 

"Yeah, that was probably the stab wound to your chest, Blake." 

Delaney must have noticed his perplexed expression because she rolled her eyes, before pointing at his chest with tight lips. He looked down with a sigh, but immediately let out a loud cry of disbelief at the knife protruding from his chest, the only part he could still see being the hilt. He grasped at the cutting tool, hands shaking as he tried to muster the courage to pull it from his body, though somewhere in the back of his mind he knew there was really no point. One hard yank and an agonized howl was all it took, pulling him back into the darkness before he could even attempt to stop it. 

He panted hard as he stood over the now unrecognizable body of his girlfriend, arms slightly sore from the amount of times he had swung the hammer in his hands. Blood and strewn bits of brain matter mixed with flesh lined the walls and soaked the floor around them, a stark contrast to the rest of the sparkling clean church. He gazed around him in sudden uncertainty, wondering why he was here. He wasn't even religious. 

A whisper, faint and eerie, crawled through the corners of his mind, reminding him of his purpose. It grew in intensity quickly, black claws sinking into his consciousness, overtaking any form of rational thought. 

She betrayed you

He looked back down at the shattered remains of the woman on the floor. Yes, she was his girlfriend, the one who had cheated on him. How many men had she slept with, even up until the very day they were to be married? How could she have hurt him like this, when he had done EVERYTHING for her? Her once white wedding dress was ruined and stained now, high heeled shows having long been kicked off in their fight. 

She deserved it. This pain in his chest, like a metaphorical stab wound to the heart, it was only getting stronger. Killing her wasn't the end of this, not by a long shot. 

"Blake?!"

A voice exclaimed behind him, causing the silver haired man in a tailored suit to whirl his body, raising his hammer automatically at the new threat. 

"Oh my god!"

The woman dropped to her knees when she saw what his frame had been hiding, the bloody mess that once was a woman about to be married to the man she loved. She covered her mouth in shock, tears already running down her cheeks like a waterfall. The sight yanked him out of his befuddlement and his long legs propelled him forward, arm shooting out to strike the woman in the side of her head while she was distracted. 

They're all going to kill you, Blake. They've always wanted your blood. 

He mimicked his actions from only moments earlier, but this time his weapon rained down blows all over the liar's body. Bones splintered as he put every ounce of his being into making sure she could never try to hurt him or his loved ones ever  again. 

How dare they?! Pretending to love him, bringing him into their family as a potential son-in-law, all while they plotted his demise. 

Your family was in on it. 

His movements stopped at the voice, eyes wide and hair loose from the small ponytail he'd put it in earlier. He listened, heart beating fast as he waited for the next order. 

Kill them.

He visibly jerked backwards as if some unseen force had pushed him, horror written on his features. He couldn't kill his family! They wouldn't betray him, no never!

Would they? He had once believed his fiancee and her mother cared for him, and look at what they had been planning. Was it possible?

But he didn't want to kill them!

Callused fingers gripped his head, tearing at silver locks in desperation, trying in vain to get rid of the voices that plagued him.

This time when he woke, it was to a pair of painfully familiar blue eyes, ones that seemed to follow him wherever he went. He didn't move from his spot on the floor, forgetting in the moment just how disgusting it was. It almost felt like time was standing still as he waited with bated breath for Delaney to say something, but her expression was no longer one of annoyance or superiority. She smiled at him, the edges of it sharp as if her heart had been broken and she was just barely holding on. 

"You remember me now, don't you love?"

Was she crying? He reached out a hand, meeting with hers halfway, where she slipped her small fingers in between his much larger ones. His line of vision traveled over her, taking in the now shiny and full blonde hair held up in a bun and the red lipstick over her soft looking lips. She was wearing a breathtaking white dress made of lacy, slightly see through material and around her neck was a bright silver locket. Blake knew that if he reached out and opened the metal it would reveal a picture of the two of them. 

"It's okay, it always takes you a while to remember after they dose you." 

Her lips trembled as she squeezed his hand, searching his expression for any sign of affection. But all she saw there was trepidation and awe, because he was stunned by her beauty but knew that he was the one who had taken it out of this world. 

"Delaney . . . " His voice came out disjointed, already starting to lose grip of her once more. 

"Don't push me away, Blake. You can't run from the truth forever."

Her eyes begged him to stay with her here, in this rundown shack of a mind, where nothing made sense and his own thoughts betrayed him. Where the love of his life looked at him like she had before, like he meant the world to her. As if he were still a person that mattered, that had a life worth living. 

"You need to embrace yourself, I guess." She said with a forced shrug, the skin of her hand slowly starting to rot under his own. 

"I'd rather keep you here all to myself but . . . " 

Delaney began to sob quietly, though no liquid spilled forth, as only empty holes remained where her beautiful eyes had once been. 

"But despite everything I want you to be happy."

Embrace it. The woods are your only option left.

"Give in, Blake. Give in." 

She moved forward to kiss him with shriveled and blackened lips as he found himself instinctively being drawn forward, unable to resist her mouth even now. 

Patient Zero has escaped! Repeat, Patient Zero has escaped!

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