Phrike: Faith (3)

She was stuck in a loop, and she couldn’t break free.

After Faith had sat down, she was so physically and emotionally exhausted that she had blacked out.

She awakened, sprawled on the floor sometime around noon, where she was once again reminded of what she now needed to confront. Feeling somewhat better, she turned to the cluster of eyeballs which stood at the foot of her bed. In the soft daylight, it seemed even more revolting than it did last night.

She noticed the shimmer of its wet exterior and the thump and rattle of its occasional movement in its pot. Two stumpy, thick roots protruded from its bottom and it picked up items with its sticky leaves.

Ten seconds, she counted, then she spoke.

“What are you? Why are you here?”

Dazed eyes snapped to focus and she noticed all of its pupils shrinking and dialating. Rotten compost drifted in her direction as it spoke again.

“What am I? What do you think?”

Faith slid off of her bed, feeling curious about the organism which was seemingly so much like her. The eyes approached, getting closer and closer.

“I,” it stared blankly, unwavering, into her eyes, “am you, aren’t I? A part? A glimpse? Like a chunk that’s been robbed from your body, except you’re perfectly fine, and here I am.”

Faith supposed it was right. But what was its purpose? To provoke her? To aid her? To remind her that she had an obsessive compulsive disorder? Nothing made sense and that caused agitation.

She needed to figure out what her next step would be. What would be the game plan? She always needed some sort of plan. She remembered a video she had seen a couple days ago about how hallucinations could be linked to mental instability. She decided to take a chance and abruptly grabbed one of the smaller protruding eyeballs, trying to smush it in her palm.

Her first reaction was that it was wet like the texture of a slug and hard like a golf ball. The next thing she knew, she was on the floor writhing in pain. The flesh on her arms and legs expanded and contracted and she started gasping for breath.

Dizziness was induced and Faith was trapped in the small pocket between life and death for several minutes.

The cluster of eyes watched her, almost solemnly, as she proceeded to convulse on the ground, rolling around in thick puddles of mucus which had dripped on the floor the night prior. All it did was silently stick one of her scarves into her mouth so she wouldn’t bite her tongue off.

Tears ran down her cheeks and she felt like she was being electrocuted repeatedly while thousands of pins and needles dug into her skin. She comedically twitched like a fish out of water, all the while her mind blanked.  

When it was finally over, Faith lay on the floor covered in sweat and tears, exhausted and completely miserable. She was scared. She feared its power; she feared its impact on herself. It was enough that her own mind was surrounded with things that bothered her. How would she fare with a constant reminder of everything that wasn’t right?

Should she give up? Should she just succumb to her worries and simply fix everything until it’s perfect and continue to count every second and step until she’s dead and gone? Faith was interrupted by the groan and rattle of the terracotta which housed the tangled mass of eyeballs.

“I told you we were connected,” it whispered. “Stop doing such absurd things and sit up. You knocked over your chair. Get up and change, you have stains on your clothes.”

But she didn’t move an inch, just laid in the same position. All she wanted to do was think. As the jumble of eyes continued to criticize everything wrong about her room, she ignored the pinpricks of anxiousness that it brought. A momentary sense of calmness washed over her as she sat up and obeyed everything it commanded.

She fell into a trance as she cleaned, straightened, and surveyed. It wasn’t too bad and she realized that she did enjoy cleaning. The feeling of a completely perfect room was the best feeling in the world, better than overindulging in chocolate and sweets, or being noticed by your favorite idol.

Performing every OCD-laced order, a sense of peace settled all throughout her mind. In a daze, she clambered throughout her house, fixing and adjusting everything perfectly, to her utmost satisfaction. She beamed as she glanced at every small detail in her kitchen.

She removed her spices from their original containers and put them in new ones. If they overfilled, the excess was dumped or measured to see if they’d fill another jar. She’d placed small hooks around her kitchen where she placed all her pans on full display, smallest to largest. Cabinet doors were removed and shelves were placed inside. Faith had an online catalog in her head where everything was placed and she was extremely pleased. Like a library, everything had its own coded place.

The eyes were pleased as they watched Faith with careful eyes, ready to call out all of her mistakes until everything was perfect.

Nightfall passed, and she was still hypnotized in her work. She rubbed spots repeatedly and shifted items in their place nearly 20 times apiece. But what started off as somewhat small blossomed into something bigger— which was somewhat expected.

Faith had locked herself in her home for about a week by now. She only ventured outside to buy hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning supplies. Bleach wipes and paper towels were two necessities.

Garbage overfilled in her trash bin, which got her more anxious because she needed everything in its own place. So she began to put her garbage bags filled with paper towels, windex, and whatnot to neighbors’ bins, trying to disperse things evenly. She quickly realized that many neighbors would be suspicious if she put her garbage into their bins, so she only threw her trash away early in the morning. On her entire block, if one neighbor happened to have more garbage than the houses next door, it’d be sorted out and dispersed evenly.

Eventually, the neighbors complained about the odd, garbage-obsessed woman who was their neighbor. The the police were called to investigate. On a rather slow Tuesday evening, a pleasant, well-known policeman was sent to her home. He was a nice man, by the name of William Morray.

On the drive to Ms. Faith Hooper’s home, Morray cruised around the area before settling into a spot not far from the given address. This was a routine drive. He was heading into his later age and was mostly confined to his office. Every so often, he was let out on a mini adventure and he wasn’t going to let a small situation make him put his guard down. Morray briefly rehearsed his speech in his head before closing the door of the police cruiser and arming it.

Meanwhile, Faith has rearranged her entire home according to how she’d always wanted it. She wasn’t going to let her mother control the one aspect of her life that was extremely important to her. This was her home– and she found a new light.

Faith found the most pleasure looking at her wardrobe. Most people find that clothes are a huge representative of who they were. She felt exactly the same.

The rainbow had always irritated Faith. Like how the alphabet had no real order, she found that colors shouldn’t or didn’t need to have one either. Her closet was organized from lights to darks, then blue, green, yellow, purple, red, orange. She was in the middle of folding a lilac sweater from her laundry just as Officer Morray approached the door.

That’s where Phrike came in– the goddess of horror. A cunning, severe form of Deimos and Phobos; she went into the mortal realm to play.

With the twirl of her finger, Phrike collapsed Morray and placed him in the driver’s seat of the car. She whispered a short scenario for him to follow, “Ms. Hooper said she wouldn’t continue her habits and the matter was resolved simply.”

As he softly snored, she appeared at Faith’s living room window, glancing inside.

Her beautiful creation, mátia fytón clambered out from deeper inside the house. It sensed her presence and bowed as she suddenly materialized inside. Everything seemed to be in perfect order– her work of art had done well.

The house stank of the sour smell of bleach, and every speck was in perfect order. Phrike lovingly pet several eyeballs of the mátia fytón before it disappeared, returning back to her private realm. What came next?

Faith stopped folding her laundry after the pot of eyes had stepped out of the room. She found its guidance refreshing now; it was no longer suffocating her life as it had been. She loved fixing every detail to perfection. After waiting exactly two minutes for its return, she decided to look for it.

She made her way into the living room, completely overlooking Phrike. Worry developed in the pit of Faith’s stomach, like the hard-to-swallow truth. Was it gone? Had it disappeared?

Phrike giggled. This was fun. She hadn’t been amused in centuries. She placed a tender kiss on Faith’s temple and got comfortable on her couch.

“Now all we have to do is wait,” she whispered. Phrike laid on the couch, resting like a picturesque painting. She was ready to enjoy the show which was now beginning.

Faith had run around the house in careful, plotted steps for several minutes. Goosebumps tingled on her arms as she realized that the monster was gone. Defeated, perhaps? Had it disappeared? How?

She had gotten so used to her shackles that she now felt loose and empty without them. Without weights tied to her wrists and ankles she was now ascending into the sky.

Faith crumpled onto the floor, lost in thought. Her fingers itched for something to clean. But she soon realized that everything was in perfect order; there was little left to do. So she walked around her entire flat surveying each bottle, appliance, food product, and every speck of dust.

After three hours of work, Faith sat at her dinner table, wading in endless bouts of hopelessness. Without someone to guide her, she felt lost in space with no one to save her. She didn’t want to cure her OCD anymore— she embraced it lovingly. It was a comfort that no one else could provide, except the strange creature.

It saw what Faith couldn’t and guided her, straightening all the wrong bits and pieces that she could not see. She hated her eyes— and what they couldn’t see. She hated herself— and her dependency on such a creature. She stared at the wall as she slowly went insane.

Faith burst into an abrupt sob.

She crumpled her fists and kicked her chair aside as she got up. She needed to break apart from everything. Her stomach weighed heavy as she raised a fist to sweep down everything in her fridge

Glass containers shattered as they hit the marbled floor and sauces erupted from inside. Tupperware were left with spiderweb cracks and chipped edges. Faith felt used and hated herself for it.

To think she appreciated its company was laughable now. She giggled and pulled vegetables from their drawer and tore them apart. The carrots were especially satisfying to crack into pieces. Imagining that she was tearing apart the cluster of eyes, leaf by leaf, stem by stem, was even more incredibly satisfying. She giggled again, ripping up the celery into small bits and throwing them onto the ground, along with the glass shards and sauces.

But Phrike was unamused. The ending to this story was pathetic; so what if she goes insane? Would it be too much to long for bloodshed?

She shook her head and appeared in front of Faith, now visible to her eye. Faith screamed and dove backwards into all the shards of glass. Trickles of blood leaked onto the ground,

Phrike frowned, but then she laughed.

“Did you miss me?” She teased, bent over cackling. “I thought you’d had the hots for me when we first met? Do you not remember?”

A flash of light surrounded her and she appeared modeling a loose black hoodie and jeans. She gave a flirty smile and twirled. Her long, dark hair flailed out behind her. She waited for a response, but got none.

In a matter of seconds, Faith had fainted. Glass shards further embedded into her skin, but she didn’t care. She was safe in her dream.

Phrike was now disgusted and the game was over. She turned and fled the mortal realm, ready to rid herself from such absurdity.

No one truly really knows what happened to Faith. After the police visit, the stranger had moved out. In came a newlywed family, who were social and hosted a welcome barbeque to meet the community. No one really remembered Faith anymore. She was just a gray spot in people’s memories when mentioning the new tenants.

No one would’ve guessed the goddess, Phrike paid a visit and left a present for her, a hoarder’s entire collection of absolute junk. Knicknacks and garbage filled the small flat, causing quite a reaction from Faith. Rumor has it she was sent to a high-class psychiatric ward. Phrike was content with that story and ended it there.

Perhaps she’ll start another one, but for now she must close this storybook. Who knows who she’ll find to play with next?

The End

Thank you for reading! This is the end of Faith’s story, and who knows– maybe there’ll be another!