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Schizophrenia disease concept. LSD feeling abstraction.

The hallway was dark as Jun walked towards his target, his prize. For so long, he had been waiting for this. He could hear the grandfather clock to his right ticking softly. Five minutes to twelve. His heart was beating erratically, knowing that finally, he would get what he wanted. 

Jun had once been like all the other kids in his neighborhood. He hadn’t been special, hadn’t been different. He had seen the world through rose colored glasses and dreamed about being a fireman when he grew up. His younger self, he thought, would be very disappointed to see how his life had turned out. 

When he was about fifteen years old, Jun had realized that he couldn’t see like others did. It had been a slow process, but he could no longer see or comprehend people’s faces. Everything else was clear as day, but all of his friends, teachers, parents, everyone in his life had just a blank visage. No eyes, no mouth, just a weirdly cracked and bleeding outline. His parents had gone to as many doctors as they could find, begging them to find out what was wrong, trying to find out what had happened to their son. But his brain was doing perfectly fine, vision otherwise clear.

 One of the doctors had simply said, “He must just be imagining it.” Another said, “He’s probably a little unstable. Maybe you should take him to a psych ward.” But Jun hadn’t bothered with trying to find a cure along with his parents. The things he saw had terrified him, yet intrigued him. He felt different from everyone else, something he hadn’t realized he had needed. It felt good. 

But as Jun grew up, he started to wonder if the word special was really the way to describe it. People had started to avoid him, his friends starting to look away. He had started obsessing over what people looked like, what their faces must be. Jun began to distance himself from everyone he knew, focusing only on what was happening with himself. He was too busy to worry about others. 

But eventually, he had no one left to listen to his tangents and rants. He was alone, and all of the people in his life called him crazy behind his back. They didn’t think he was special at all. He was just insane.

  He had just been a silly child all along, thinking that he was better than everyone else. That realization had shaken him badly, realizing that no one actually wanted to spend time with him, that no one wanted him anymore. So he refocused.  How could he save himself? How could he stop seeing things? How could he fix himself? 

It started as an accident. 

He had been in a silent study hall, but almost everyone had left the second the teacher walked out of the room to get something. There was only Jun and some other boy. The boy had a pen, a purple gel pen, and he was clicking it. And he wouldn’t stop. The sound ricocheted in Jun’s skull, his brain shrieking at him to just shut that kid up. Jun’s fists clenched, tension and irritation making him shake. Before he really realized what was happening, he had stood up and shoved the boy to the ground. The boy started to shout at him, angry and confused, but Jun saw something. An eye. The boy had blue eyes. He hadn’t seen eyes in years. He had thought that he must have just imagined it, that he was hoping to see something, so he did. He had almost fallen backwards, shaking and laughing as delight filled him. It was too good to be true, and he had to be sure that what he had seen was real. So, he tried a little experiment. 

It wasn’t anything bad, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Elbowing his classmate in his AP Econ lecture, ‘accidentally’ running into someone in the hall. He could see eyes, even if only for a moment. A sliver of a mouth or jaw line. Maybe, just maybe, he had a chance. He could still see people, he just needed to change his strategy, if only slightly. 

Jun didn’t want to hurt people, but he had too. He wasn’t a monster. But on his quest to finally see a face, he ignored the bloody footsteps that trailed after him. Jun had a feeling that this was it; that maybe, just maybe, his curse would be lifted once he wrote the ending of his story with a purple gel pen.

He was brought back from his thoughts as the clock chimed, the aftershock of the noise clicking in his head in a familiar way. Jun allowed himself a steadying breath. Just two left. The faces had been getting clearer after they died, and he knew the moment had come. After all of this pain he could finally live in peace, be like everybody else. His pale lips pulled back into a smile. It was time. 

Opening the door to the living room, Jun saw them. A woman and man. Black haired, laughing at something on the TV. Jun stepped forward, heart pounding in his ears, the clicking of that pen, that purple gel pen, getting louder and louder. His hands shook. The guilt had left him years ago, all that was left was excitement. He could finally be normal again. Real. Human

He took another step, but to his dismay, the floorboard under him creaked loudly. It was too late to hide, the woman had already turned around. Her face was grotesque, Jun almost wanted to cower and run. The more he had killed, the clearer the people were when they passed, but the more horrific they were when alive. It made the whole thing easier, when they didn’t look like people. 

The woman seemed in shock. “Jun? What are you doing here?” Her voice sounded like a stretched cassette tape, warped in his head. She didn’t sound real. “Junnie? I had no idea you were coming! Why didn’t you say?” 

Jun shook his head, mumbling under his breath. Just these two, just these two, just these two, just these two. The man said something, but Jun couldn’t hear it over the incessant click, click, clicking of the purple gel pen. His resolve had heightened, and he had no more time to waste. 

He walked slowly to the front of the couch, staring transfixed at their faces. Their skin was flaky and charred in places, cracked like a ceramic vase. He couldn’t hear them talking anymore. It didn’t matter, nothing mattered except for this moment,when he would finally get fixed

Jun raised his gun. Suddenly the voices were loud, they were screaming at him to stop, that this was crazy. The man’s hand was on his arm and Jun tried to pull away, but the man held onto him with an iron grip. It’s face was horrifying, and Jun closed his eyes desperately, trying to push the monster away from him. They weren’t people anymore. They were horrific beings, bloody and screaming. 

“Jun!” The sounds were deafening, and he was trying to shove the creature away but it wouldn’t let go. 

Its mouthless face had huge fangs gouged out of it, and it leered at him, eyes wide and white. 

Jun pulled the trigger. The creature fell to the floor, purple ink seeping out of its charred chest while the other wailed, sobbing with fear. He glanced at the other monster, who now had hollow voids where a person’s eyes would be. Purple ink scars dripped down its cheeks. “Jun.” It wheezed, voice hoarse. “What’s wrong with you? What happened?” 

It looked at the monster on the ground. “Why would you do this to your-” 

Jun watched it fall, the smoking gun held in his trembling hands. He had done it. It felt harder than normal, more painful. Shaking with a mix of fear and a sick excitement to finally see faces after so long, Jun reached over to the man, and turned him over. 

There he was. A face, pale and cold but a face. It seemed familiar, the sharp nose, the high cheekbones. Even the expression. Jun stared at the man on the ground, his stomach starting to feel ill. Who was this? Why did he know who they were? The hair, it was like Jun’s, similar texture, same color. Jun held out a pale, shaky hand and pulled back one of the man’s eyelids, revealing a hazel eye. Hazel. The same color as Jun’s.

Jun yanked his hand back, his breath coming in short spurts. No, no, no. How could he have not realized this sooner? The house, it had been so familiar to him, the front door, the streets. But in his empty, soulless mind he hadn’t seen any of that. He had just walked in with the intent of fixing himself. But for the first time in his life, he wished that he couldn’t see faces. 

His father, his own father lay at his feet, cold and silent. Jun held his head in his hands and sobbed. He could have survived without seeing people’s faces, he could have been fine. Why had he had to go to these lengths just to see something like everyone else? People saw him as a monster, a horrid creature, and he understood why. He had hurt innumerable amounts of people, always looking ahead, never feeling a shred of sympathy for anyone. How many had been part of the carnage that he had caused? 

He glanced at the couch. He knew the woman, of course he did, his mother, as pale and quiet as her husband. Jun couldn’t stand, he was shaking so badly. His mind, the sick expanse of his mind, was laughing at him now. What a fool he was, thinking that all he had done had been for the better, had been a journey that he needed to complete to fix everything. A quest. He had treated life like a mobile game, a life where it didn’t matter who you hurt, because eventually, you would get a happy ending. 

But as Jun sat and shook with tears and shock, a happy ending seemed far from his grasp. Once again, his life was ripped apart and he was left trying desperately to pull the seams back together. His parents were gone, and it was because of him, because he was a selfish, broken person who had no one left. Were his friends gone too? Was there anyone left who cared about him? 

Why would there be? Jun thought to himself. Why would anyone want to be around someone like me? I’m a monster. 

The weight of all the pain he had inflicted on others came down on him like a riptide, yanking him under the sea water. Guilt crushed his lungs, he could almost hear his rib cage cracking under the pressure. His mind was screaming at him, blame and anger filling his veins like the ink and blood that stained his hands. How could he have done something so terrible, how could he think he was human after all of the pain he had caused?

After all this time, all this effort, this was what he got? All his morals had been thrown to the fire to burn in the ashes, never to be seen again as they turned to dark smoke drifting through the air like a carefree kite. Jun was trapped on the ground, the clicking of a purple gel pen snapping against his skull, and mired in guilt and anguish. He was a wretched thing, someone who had given up everything for a backhanded reward. He looked up, unable to keep staring at his father’s eyes anymore, instead focusing on the pale blue wall across from him. A mirror shone back at him, an antique one, something his mother had probably hung on the wall to check her hair before work. And finally, after years, a face looked back at him in the reflection. 

He was a horrifying sight. Pale and shaking, black hair dyed red with blood. His t-shirt was torn and dirty, and his face was lean, his jaw and cheek bones sticking out starkly against his vapid skin. He was thin, too thin to be healthy, and he fleetingly wondered if he had really eaten anything to keep himself alive since his madness started. The hallows of his eyes were deep and dark, sleep deprived and haunted. 

Jun looked away. The image he saw disgusted him, a gaunt creature who looked like they were a step between living and dying. He didn’t look like a person. He didn’t look like a human. He looked like a beast. A monster from mythical tales, something that had crawled from Hell to exact its revenge on those who had hurt it. 

He stood up, slowly taking in his surroundings. His legs were shaking, but other than that, he was fine. It was… fine. He could see now. He was fixed. Everything was alright. Perfect, in fact. He was fine. It was over now. He wouldn’t have to hurt anyone ever again. His mind wasn’t broken, it was just fine. Jun’s lips quivered slightly as they pulled back into a sharp –  toothed sneer. 

His hands shook, bloody and aching, but he could feel them. His legs as well, his face and chest. The only thing that seemed to be truly numb was his mind. It was eerily silent, when it had used to scream and clatter in his ear for months straight. He couldn’t hear his pen anymore. 

Jun nodded, his bloody grimace still stretching across his face. Even his mind had left him to rot. He really had no one left now. No loving family, no friends, no mind, nothing. He was an empty husk, pulled by the strings of his disdain for his life. Jun slowly walked to the door at the end of the living room. He opened it, glancing back for a second before turning forwards again, leaving the gruesome scene behind him.