FUGUE STATE

By BJ Keifer

Corrine awoke with a sharp intake of breath. She wasn’t quite sure where she was. Over the years, since that awful plane crash, it wasn’t entirely unusual for her to not immediately know where her body was resting. Oftentimes her sleep addled mind was still strewn about the wreckage of the plane. The down comforter became snow, the distant traffic din became the moans of the dying. Over time, she had learned not to scream.

 

Another sharp breath in. Another slow exhale. Corrine forced herself to focus on her surroundings. Nothing here was familiar. The carpet was thin, worn and brown. There was an odd brass candelabra from the seventies on a cheap, scratched and cracked nightstand. . Wood paneled walls with faded prints of deer and bears hanging dejectly from within dusty frames. A piece of marble marked the transition from the carpeted floor to an impossibly pink and grey tiled bathroom whose door wouldn’t properly close.

 

Something stirred in the bed next to Corrine. A man shifted ever so sliglthy in his sleep. Corrine stared. Who was this man? She wracked her brain trying to remember.  He looked familiar. Very familiar. Maybe it was the orderly who was raping her when she was emerging from the coma after the plane crash. . It had to be him. She grabbed the candelabra and brought it crashing to the man’s skull. As the candelabra made contact her mind screamed: “The orderly had red hair! That’s not him!”

 

Oliver sat up in a rush. This wasn’t the first time Corrine had attacked him in the middle of her terrors. Usually, he had the foresight to remove any objects that she could use as weapons from wherever they were. Yesterday had been long though: a ten hour drive from their home in Maryland all the way to Wiarton, Ontario left them both drowsy and him less aware.

 

Corrine now stared at him with blank terror filled eyes. “Do you know where you are?” She nodded no. “You are in Wiarton, Ontario Canada”  “Canada? Canada? How the hell did I get to Canada. This can’t be Canada.” She replied confused and panicked, but thankfully not moving. “Do you know who I am?” Oliver asked gently. “I’m not sure...you look familiar…” Her face softened to that of a confused child. “I’m your husband, Oliver” he contnued softly. “Canada?” She asked looking again around the aged hotel room. “Remember honey, you wanted to go some place very small and quiet where no one knew you, and experience Sauble Beach in the off season?”  He flipped on the televison and CTV chirped harmlessly in the background, a little bar with the temperature in Celsius ran at the bottom of the screen. Corrine watched the television and realized what he said was true: they were in Canada. Her body jerked violently and her eyes snapped back into focus. “Oliver! My god! Did I hit you? I’m sorry!” “You are tired, my dear, rest.” He gently but firmly commanded as he took a blanket and wrapped it tightly around her, pinning her arms so she couldn’t harm herself or him. The compression had the desired effect. She had leaned to relax in straight jackets during the horrible months in the ward that she was transferred to after she awoke . He held her, blanket and all, until she fell into a deep sleep in his arms. Warily he moved his arm from under her, and with the silence of a shadow, he moved across the room to his grooming kit.  Inside was a small vial of liquid. He opened her bottle of soda and emptied the contents into it.

 

A couple hours later, Corrine and Oliver woke again. They showered, dressed and got ready to explore. Before they left the room, Corrine spotted her soda and took a big swig. Oliver watched her intently. Almost immediately, she felt something was wrong.
 

“Don’t fight it darling!” Oliver cooed as the drug took over her mind and body. “You are safe, and you don’t have a will of your own. You will do as I say. Now get in the car,” He spoke calmly and firmly as he led her out of the room and into their waiting car.

 

It seemed to Corrine that the drive took forever Music, voices, scenery, all were muffled and muddled as the scenery changed. The very road itself seemed to end: swallowed by thick green forest. The car slowed. Stopped. He opened her door and bid her to rise and walk.

 

Over a mile later, there was a clearing in the forest. Broken burnt trees, and twisted metal were everywhere. Lively green new shoots poked up from the wreckage of the plane.  The roofie was almost worn off. Corrine knew where she was, but not how to leave or how to get back to her quiet Maryland home from here. Her husband was her captor. She had to obey.

 

Oliver produced a pair of handcuffs and a sugar cube. He cuffed her wrists. “Open your mouth” he commanded, firmly. She obeyed, fearfully. “I will break you of your nightmares once and for all.” He murmered, dropping the LSD laced cube in her mouth and firmly clamping her jaw closed.
 

For the next few hours, she trashed and screamed as she relived it all. She could see, smell and hear the horrible screams and the roar of the engines as the plane plowed itself into the earth. She felt the cold and blood. She wanted to black out and escape, but Oliver kept stroking her hair and tapping her cheeks, making her stay present in her private hell. “Burn it out of your mind. All of it. Let it be done.” Over and over again. She felt the orderly at the hospital tear at her once again, sobbing and screaming in her helplessness.
 

Through it all, Oliver held her. The memories burned and burned until they had no more fire.

© 2020 by Travelin' Tim
 

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