He promised himself he would quit after the last time, but here he was with a small square of aluminum foil gripped between his thumb and index finger. The last trip was challenging; he learned about the difference between a bad trip and a terror trip, and concluded the former was only difficult to overcome. Yet he enjoyed the outcome. He enjoyed never really knowing if he would come out okay. That was why he was back.
The challenge wasn’t enough to stop him.
The last time he took acid, he was alone. He was feeling amazing until fifteen minutes before his peak. Anxiety shot through him and he began to hear things in his home.
Footsteps, voices, windows opening. He had reached for his phone to call one of his friends but he couldn’t see. Everything was melting.
“I am on a drug,” but he couldn’t convince himself. “I am on a drug, this is not my reality,” but he couldn’t believe it. There was a gunshot. The voices grew louder and he could not discern if they were in his head.
Pacing, pacing, pacing. His own steps assured him there was someone else. His reality was not his own. He felt detached. He wanted to run. Suddenly his body felt hot and he began to remove his clothes, but his head was caught in his shirt and he panicked more, running and bumping into his furniture and screaming for someone to get him.
More pacing, more breathing, punctuated, erratic speech, large pupils. He could see but his house was dark. Lights poured in from the window in the door, the knob turned, panic set his veins on fire and he felt his throat constrict and his eyes grow even larger. He couldn’t recognize his best friend as she opened the door.
Thank God she came when she did.
After, he stopped for three months. He became more productive, spent his money on more important things, and had to deal with the twitch he developed from the trip.
Now he’s about to go on another, and this time no one knows.
It was eight o’clock. His house was lit with color changing LEDs, soft music was playing, and he was wearing clothes fresh out of the dryer. The atmosphere was right. The dosage would be right. He had a different acid this time, from a different plug, but the friend he got it from swore it wouldn’t give him a bad trip.
But what if…
He carefully unfolded the tin square. There were two tabs, one was cracked but the other was whole. Normal dose. He turned the music up, placed both tabs on his tongue, and waited for them to dissolve.
He told himself this was for answers. Most people take ‘cid to get a deeper understanding of themselves and the crossroads they’ve encountered. They would have the trip they needed, not the one they wanted, and everything would be fine. This was for him; he needed to know himself better. He knew the risk of this trip, as with every trip, and he accepted it.
The lights got brighter. That was his first clue. The second was the simultaneous feeling of weightlessness and heaviness; his body was made of sandbags but his inside was filled with air. There was a twinge of energy, extra energy. His body wanted to take off, but his enclosure held him still.
And that was his third clue – the urge to escape. He overlooked it. This was not going to be a bad trip. This is what he needed to know himself.
Then he felt like his head was underwater. Then the lights flickered and powered off for a second and no longer. Then it was his heart, it felt like it was beating too fast and he needed to sit down, but only for a second or two or three or he thought his heart would stop if he rested too long. Then he took a breath.
“I am on a drug. This is what acid does. It is hallucinogenic. I am okay.”
His head felt light, floating, detaching.
“This is LSD.” Hovering. “I am okay.” Descending. “This is a drug. My reality is concrete.” Connecting. It was working.
He needed this.
His ascent was amazing. He understood himself on a deeper level, like everyone else had on their trips. There were some feelings of darkness, but he was ignoring it. The music was soothing his anxiety. Everything was well.
But the darkness persisted. From his peripheries he saw shadows. Tall and slim and three-dimensional. Black circles flew by his television. Shadows and shapes were plastered on the walls like stickers. Some moved, others did not. They came closer until his vision was gone. He felt water drip down his cheeks and he thought he was crying. His skin was crawling. He started scratching.
He felt bugs crawling on his skin, thousands of them coming from his pores. They were under his nails, in his shirt and nose and mouth. He was scratching vigorously but the bugs kept coming. Bugs on bugs on bugs on his skin, in his skin. His nose, eyes, ears, mouth, every pore on his face and body.
It was too hot. He started to strip. Nothing got caught on his head and he was free to keep scratching, clawing away at his skin, breaking some of it with his nails. The bugs kept coming.
He did not see the person approach him until their feet were in his view. He glanced up. It wasn’t a person. Solid. Ridged edges, a slender body and featureless face. Shadow. The head had no defined shape, shifting between something with horns to something with long and pointed ears to nothing at all. There were hooves. A tail. He thought it was the devil.
“I am God.” And the voice was not in human language but he understood it perfectly.
“I am your God and you are nothing to me.” And he felt more liquid on his face, trapping the bugs still birthing from his pores, but it was thick and slow. His vision began to fall down and he understood his eyes were melting and bugs were coming from his sockets. They were inside his head.
His breathing quickened. Shallow. He could not gather a full breath and still he tried to speak, to ask for help.
“The only thing you know is that you are nothing.”
He tried to stand but his balance became shit. He stumbled all over his house, cutting himself on the corner of his table as he tried to go to his kitchen. This being in his home was threatening. The bugs were not stopping.
“Your god judges his creations because he cannot bear the weight of his own sin. You are the force of your own destruction, and you are weak. You are nothing.”
His hand reached for his face. The bugs were slowing down.
“You are what you choose to be and you chose failure, it was your only option.” And the entity became transparent, twisted itself around him, and became opaque. It took the shape of a snake and squeezed his body until he was sure his ribs had splintered, and he felt the flick of the tongue on his ear.
“Your reality is not your own. You are not your own. You will die by your hand or mine.”
He felt unbelievably cold.
“You, too, will be forgotten.”
He dropped, fell to the floor, and the shadows retreated.
The bugs had not. It felt like his skin was on fire. More still were pouring out and crawling all over him. Thousands, millions of tiny little creatures, now pouring from his walls. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Kill the bugs, kill them and leave him alone. His vision was not his. He had no sight with which to see and he was grabbing for anything that felt cool to his touch; his body was on fire.
Something cool, something smooth, and no bugs on it yet. It was too cold for them; they wanted his fire. They wanted his skin and blood and he would kill them before they could burrow in his skin like parasites. He rubbed the coolness all over himself. Whatever it was, the bugs were stopping, they were dying. He felt alive and exhausted but his mind was full and he had to keep going to make sure they were all gone.
He was not going to stop.
Sunlight. Pure, warm sunlight gently made its way into his house. He awoke with a headache, naked on his floor and surrounded by broken glass. He was bleeding from his face and his arms and legs were all cut up. He understood he had been a victim of a burglary.
What else could it have been? Why else would be he lying here? He remembered only the beginning of last night, nothing more.
Sitting up, he saw his walls were defaced. Nothing, Stop, and God were scrawled on the walls.
He looked at his arms and legs. Bugs had been carved into his flesh. His attention shot up to his right when he heard crunching glass.
His God was there. Tall, thin, unusually human looking but out of place, like it wasn’t really human after all. Why would it be? His God is a demon.
“Your nightmare will not end.”
The weightlessness and heaviness came back, but with such force that he flew through the ceiling and sunk into darkness and he felt trapped underwater, drowning in his ocean. His reality is fabric and his God is unraveling it thread by thread, torturously slow.
He got up and bolted out of his nightmare home. The air and outside were freeing. If he looked back, he would be trapped in the arms of his God. He was sure he would die.
And yet he looked back. His house was a hole, growing and screaming at him to come back, that he needed to sleep and forget, to be forgotten. He stumbled. His God emerged from the vortex. Now he had nowhere to go.
He had an open field. He knew no one would help him; he didn’t even see another person, but he knew they would grab him. He knew they would make him go back and forget. This is what he needed to remember.
His lungs were deflated. His throat was on fire. He was upright, then leaned forward, and then he fell, tumbled and rolled down the hill he thought was more flat land. More cuts, more blood, more pain. He was wet. Eyes open, reality was wavy, and he felt his body was made of sandbags.
Rushing water. No air. He would drown in the waters that made him. Nobody would swim them to understand his actions, but how would they? He was in Hell.
The sun and blue sky became tainted with light red and pink. He understood it as blood. He understood his head was exploding. He understood he would die, all carved up, and it would be the most unusual suicide people would hear about.
Darkness was clogging his eyes and he felt the bugs return. White circles floated above them and briefly he thought they were eyes, but there were no pupils. They were unnaturally white.
Then came the voice.
“Your destiny was to die. This is what you needed.”
There was no more light, only the rushing water. His God was here. He knew he was over at this moment. There was silence.
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