Copyright JC Wallace 2014
Each week a group of authors participate weekly in Wednesday Briefs Flash Fiction. Each installment is 500-1000 words long and is posted to our blogs each week. After you read the latest in my story, click on the link at the end to visit other flashers.
Welcome to the first installment of Soul Seekers (working title). My previous story Diventando: Becoming has been pulled so I can prep it for publication. I will let you know in the future a date of publication.
Levi Reed paced his bedroom, frantically shaking his hands. Like a caged animal yearning for escape, he wore the same tread across the blue shag rug repeatedly. Waves of fear lashed out, tearing into his mind, forcing his attention. He paused pacing, stopping momentarily to jump up and down, as if the action were enough to shake the icy grip of panic. No such luck and he resumed pacing. The terror threatened to drown him beneath suffocating waves. Since that morning, the menace had been growing from a deep crevice within his mind. At first, it was just a small grain, barely detectable. By midday, that small grain had coalesced into the familiar companion that had accompanied him for his nineteen years of life, which rarely resting.
“Think,” he commanded, the sound of his voice doing little to settle his nerves. The time for tricks of distraction and deception had past. He was well into the throws of this nightmare. Fear, greater than any human should ever know, threatened his sanity. He cursed his ingrained weakness. Too weak for a man.
“You’re safe,” he said aloud, repeating the mantra several times, but the words were a hollow attempt at self-reassurance. “Come on Levi. Cut this shit out.”
Grasping his icy hands together and rubbing, he fought to to formulate a plan. Yes, a plan, he thought, but the adrenalin pumping through his veins forced thoughts to whirl about quickly. Clamping his eyes shut, he bent at the waist until his eyes were level with his knees. The action accentuated the racing beats of his heart, clamped beneath the ever-tightening muscles of his chest. The tighter they squeezed, the faster and harder his heart muscle pumped. Any minute, he imagined his heart would win and shatter his ribs into a million sharp, bony pieces.
Will-power was the only weapon he had against this enemy—sheer determination to keep up his defenses. Achingly, his mind continued to battle the ever-surging breakwaters threatening to overcome their dam. A dam he’d built in mind just to contain the fear, which, if allowed to overcome him, would shred his sanity into tiny reflective bits that would echo who he once was. His psyche had yet to smash but did bore endless, jagged cracks that had weakened its structure. Just a matter of time.
Not now. Not this time! His mind screamed at the unseen adversary.
Steadying himself, Levi gripped his knees with his hands, digging his nails into his skin through his sweatpants, the pain faint and distance. Crushing pain seared his chest as he forced a deep breath into his lungs and held it. “One…two…,” he muttered, fighting to keep the air from escaping prematurely, “three.” With strained control, he steadily allowed the air to escape. Quickly, he drew in another breath and repeated the pattern several times. His attention focused solely on this one last act to stop the panic, but he was interrupted by a noise.
A closing door. Footsteps in the hallway. The thin hollow core door to his room was the only barrier. Levi bolted upright. The walls of the room slanted and tipped. A surge of dizziness threatened to topple him. The footsteps pausing at his door brought reality crashing down. Everyone should be asleep. The distraction was
the only pause his panic needed.
With unnerving ferocity, the fear breached his mental dam, forcing itself through fractures within the blockade. Panic pushed the release of adrenalin higher. His heart froze momentarily in his chest as the hormone invaded. Levi gasped and slapped his palm against his sternum. “No!” he cried. The absence of the familiar thud pushed his fear past the edge of reason. Just as he thought his heart would never beat again, it exploded into beats faster than he could count. Numbness crept into the nerves of his right arm and leg. The sound of rushing blood roared in his ears.
Levi spun around as the door to his room opened. “Please, no,” he managed to utter.
Levi’s brother entered casually, looking down to kick something blocking the door. A blue NY Giants ball cap shielded his eyes from the overhead light. “I saw the light on and knocked but you didn’t…” As Logan raised his head, the last word caught in his throat. “Levi?” Alarm replaced the relaxed smile on his face.
Quickly, quietly, he closed the door behind him, his eyes never wavering from Levi. “It’s bad this time?” Part question but mostly a statement.
The twist of fear and panic on Levi’s face was a dead giveaway.
The sight of his brother rushing around the bed towards him, the determination of his stride, the familiar mask of worry on his older brother’s face took any fight Levi had left. Surrender was his only option now. Clawing at his throat, Levi could barely manage to whisper, “I…can’t…breathe!”
The tightening in Levi's chest rose to envelop his windpipe. Air was everywhere but none of the oxygen seemed to reach his screaming lungs.
I’m dying, he rationalized, or worse.
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