The amount of physical self control it takes to keep her jaw shut tight so the words on her tongue don’t come spilling out impresses even Brighton. If she’s honest with herself, and she’s the only person she bothers being honest with most of the time, she can acknowledge that her own self-restraint has gone straight out the window in the passing months, particularly in light of the avalanche. And in the current situation, she’s impressed with herself given how many hours have passes since she’s had a cigarette and how that bitch in the short skirt keeps flaunting her own cigarette at Brighton.
In reality, the whole situation, as she’s piecing it into perspective, is actually chipping away at her desire to conform and preserve her brain. Haha, it’s… No. No, now is not the time.
She closes her eyes and nods, listening to the shuffling and scuffling from behind her, trying to piece together what the therapist might be up to.
“Respect? Bullshi— Ack!” The needle is a surprise, and a wholly unpleasant one. Memories of a haze, a dulled existence and painful electrocutions, the taste of rubber on her tongue and the squeak against her teeth, of patronising voices saying, ‘Abigail, calm down’ barrage her and she breaks into a cold sweat. All because of a goddamn needle. Shit. This is. Going to be too easy for that creepy woman who is enjoying this far too much.
“What’s in this? What… fuck,” a nauseating wave of weakness washes through her before she can finish the thought, and when delicate hands pull her head back against the chair and strap it down, peeling the lids of her eyes open and holding them in place with cold metal clips, she doesn’t find the strength to jerk away. A chill courses through her, rattling at her chest and firing off along her limbs, so when the lights plummet, she’s overwhelmed with a sensation of suddenly submerging into cold water; it’s a pretty fucking bizarre effect and to be honest, it’s only getting worse. Maybe it’s not traumatic stress after all. Drawing a shuddering breath as the projector flickers to life, Brighton attempts to speak again, but the images on the screen and accompanying track derail her.
The smoke from the freshly-lit cigarette floats innocuously through the air, traveling through Brighton’s olfactory and burning at her open eyes, and for once, the smell doesn’t comfort her, it only aggravates the nausea in the pit of her stomach. And the fingers in her hair, and the emptiness of the room, and…
Her breath is hard, shallow, complexion grey, yet for all the factors aggravating the sick unease that wracks her body, the images onscreen give her no pause.
“I don’t follow,” she finally says.