Solitary Confinement


I don’t know how long I’ve been lying on the floor.  Wasn’t it only a moment ago that an ice pick sliced through my skull?  My muscles are stiff and my cheek is slick with sweat where it meets with the floor.  I can’t move.  There is nowhere to go, no chance for escape.  Any attempt worsens a pain that can only become more unbearable. The pills meant to make it stop lay scattered, just out of reach.  The pain knows this, so I close my eyes and wait.

The ants start to crawl under my skin.  Their tiny legs are armed with lightening rods and stab relentlessly wherever blood flows.  The worst part is its only just begun.  The ice pick jabs from inside my head; its sharp point rips at my mind with persistent fervor.  The pounding of my pulse brings new waves of blinding agony.

He said I could call . . .

My body recoils in a violent fit.  One hand grabs onto my head, while the other tries to quell the ants that refuse to stand still.  My knees snap to my chest as a vicious cramp seizes every muscle. I wait for the blackness to come.  A dark void where I am lost and cannot feel. Hallucinations of haunting images flicker and phantasms of pain darken my view. I want to scream, but a clenched throat chokes my voice.

Help . . . I need help.

My limbs won’t loosen and my thoughts shatter. I lock myself away in a sunless tunnel.  It’s the only way to hide and protect what’s mine. There’s a chance I’ll never find my way back, but where else can I go?  I long to hear footsteps that will find me and save me from this hell.

But they will not come.  He left weeks ago, tired of what I could not fix.

My fingers cling to knotted strands of hair.  Another wave strikes, bringing with it a thousand baseball bats that beat the life right out of me. Shadows that don’t exist move in the corner of my eye.  Whispers that aren’t really spoken sound in my ear.

Where is he?  Why isn’t he coming?

There are no footsteps.  The blackness offers no release.

Something warm drips down my chin.  Red falls to the floor in tiny drips.  Not even my lips are immune to the havoc that reigns – my teeth cut right through.  He always knew what to do.  When I couldn’t take care of myself, he was always there.  But, not now.  I can’t remember why.  It’s lost to the pounding that won’t stop.

Didn’t he say to call him whenever I needed?

I need him.  I need help.

But that was before . . . he left.  A sledgehammer slams into my temple.  A white flash wipes out my vision.  The only sense I have left cries from the torture.  Please let me go. The hardwood floor, so unforgiving, pushes into my joints and offers no comfort.  Yet, I cannot leave.   Is this my punishment?  If he were here, I would apologize.  And beg for forgiveness.

Help . . .

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c.b. 2012


43 thoughts on “Solitary Confinement

    • I’m debating whether or not to share the inspiration. Part of me likes the mystery, while the other wants to ensure everyone I’m not crazy. 😉

      I’m glad to hear my voice is still coming through, despite such a departure from my usual realm. This was an experiment and I learned a lot from trying something new. 🙂


  1. Clinical depression? Schizophrenia? Not you, the character. Sorry, I’m studying psychology so I view everything from that potential lense. It was very good, the wording making it tortuously believable. But seriously, where is he??? 😛


  2. Very nice, I wasn’t exactly used to it coming from you, but I like this too. Dark, yes, and I wonder what really happened. The cynic in me relates this a little to Poe’s Tell-tale Heart – I kind of feel that it isn’t just about an ice-pick. I almost feel like he left her there… where is he?!
    I might have misinterpreted…please excuse me…
    Anyway great work! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Very descriptive and powerful. I think you explored this fiercer arena fearlessly. Now you know you can go there, which gives you a whole other aspect of topic/writing/feeling you can draw on. and as usual with your short fiction, you left me wanting to know more.


  4. Like all the others here, I, too, thought it was very powerful …and dark. Frightening; yes …because as I was reading, I made my own, private associations..


    • It’s interesting to hear I’ve struck a personal nerve for some. At least I know I’ve done something realistic – that’s a wonderful compliment for a writer to receive. 🙂

      The tone is surprising from me, but I’m thankful my readers were willing to come along for a darker trip into fiction.


      • Oh, I just let my imagination take me for a ride, realizing that the ‘ice pick’ was merely an adjective, so to speak…


  5. Dark, yes. Not an easy read. Are you describing a migraine attack? I suffered with those in my teens and twenties and they are awful. Your descriptions of vision problems (shadows and white flash) sound familiar, and the ice pick is a good description of the pain. The mention of pills is what makes me think that this is a medical condition. But for whom is she calling? A doctor? No, a doc wouldn’t give up on a patient. I guess there’s the mystery.


    • Hmmm . . . we’ll have to see how today’s poll goes before I divulge anything. 🙂

      For a long time I didn’t know who “he” was in the story, but after the second draft I figured it out. It’s not what anyone thinks, (so far, anyway!).

      Thanks so much for reading.


  6. I just voted for full disclosure. 🙂 But wanted to add my guess, or how I interpreted the story.(Incredibly well written, by the way.) It sounded like severe emotional pain after a major heartbreak. Psychosomatic pain – real pain caused by severe emotional distress. And the feeling of being trapped inside those overpowering emotions. No matter what you do, you can’t change the truth of what has happened and it’s unbearable.

    Can’t wait to hear the inspiration and/or malady behind the story.


    • May the “full disclosures” win so you can get your answer. 🙂

      There are a lot of layers to this story, some of which sit right on the surface and others that go much deeper. It’s a piece that surprised me at every turn during the writing process.


  7. Sounds like one heck of a migraine! I think it’s interesting to explore the darker side of our writing. I have done the same on very few occasions and I’m still not sure where it all comes from. Great job on this one, C. B. I’ll have to check out the poll to see if more is revealed… 🙂


  8. very powerful… I read the explanation before the story (probably should have done it the other way around but I’m just catching up on blogs!). I think it helps, I would have understood the migraine, I think (I have suffered from them on and off for years but they are not as severe as the ones you describe). An overwhelming impression of pain… and helplessness. Quite bleak, I suppose… I would like to know what happens to her – is she still suffering? Is ‘he’ just a hallucination, a figment of her imagination or based on reality (hers, I mean?)


    • I left her hanging mainly because that’s how it feels in the midst of one – it feels like it will never end. I didn’t continue her story for that very reason.

      From my perspective, “he” is a hallucination, but it really is left to reader interpretation. I wrote it to make him seem real because he is to her as she struggles.


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