Warning: This story contains mature elements.
Note: This is Part Two of the story. Part One can be found here.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BE—
Frank's hand fell atop the alarm clock, silencing it's incessant shrillness. He cracked open his eyes, staring at the ceiling for nearly a full minute before he finally sighed and sat up, pulling the sheet to his waist.
He turned to look at the digital clock, which read 9:06, and he sighed again, as his stomach began churning with bile, followed by the rhythmic pounding of the start of what promised to be quite the headache. He needed sleep, but sleep was proving to be an elusive quarrelsome prey. He had gotten into bed almost eleven hours ago, but he had received maybe three hours of rest, and those had been broken into thirty and forty-five minute sessions, each ended by his dreams waking him with a start.
He didn't want to get out of bed. He swung his legs over the edge and stood anyways, the pain in his head temporarily growing, causing him to shut his eyes and grimace. It retreated to it's normal, bearable level, and Frank walked to the bathroom.
After he finished relieving himself, he opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out two bottles. He poured what had become his daily breakfast into his hand—four aspirin and four antacids—before popping the pills in his mouth and chewing. He was nearly growing used to the horrible, bitter taste—pills had been the only thing he had eaten in...how many days? Three? Four? The last time he had tried to force himself to eat, he had gotten almost halfway through a turkey club on wheat before the sandwich turned to ash in his mouth and promised that it would be making a return if he did not immediately halt the vile and base transgression of daring to have a meal.
He looked at the mirror, and it was as if he was seeing himself for the first time. His skin was unnaturally pale, and the rings underneath his eyes were pronounced. He stared at himself for entirely too long, and he finally realized that he couldn't find a single thing about himself that was good. He stared at himself longer, his eyes roving the contours of his face, from his chin to his forehead and back, until he finally realized that he absolutely hated everything about himself.
The mirror shattered around his fist, the metal back crumpling inwards as the glass began to fall towards the sink. He grit his teeth as the pain struck home, and pulled his hand back to examine it. Most of the cuts were shallow, though a few were notable.
“Stupid,” he said, his voice a croak, as he watched the scarlet life ooze out of him, dripping towards the tile floor.
He left the bathroom, walking slowly through the bedroom, and then the living room, into the kitchen of his dingy one-bedroom apartment. He unscrewed the top of the bottle of cheap vodka he'd bought the day before and poured a bit over his hand, hissing as the alcohol bit into the wounds.
The bottle, still in his unwounded hand, caught his gaze, and held it captive. He wanted to drink. Not much, just six or seven shots, just enough to get the fuzziness. Just enough to make coherent thought a little less possible.
But he had work. He couldn't show up to work with alcohol on his breath.
Begrudgingly, he sat the bottle down. Logic said no. Logic said if he drank now, he could lose his job, which would make it quite difficult for him to drink later.
Still, there were always other options. He walked back into the living room and sat on the couch, facing the television, and grabbed a bag of green off of the coffee table, breaking it up into the bowl of his glass pipe. He didn't turn on the television, or the stereo; he had discovered after a week that it was easier for him if he didn't watch TV, or listen to music. Not much easier. But easier.
He had become quite the introvert in the last month. He left for work at ten am every morning, and, unless he had to make a stop at the liquor store or his dealer, came straight home after. He ignored calls from his friends, and knocks at his door only made him look in the direction of it, not get up and see who it was. He watched no television, listened to no music, read no books, magazines, or newspapers, and only turned on his computer once or twice a day to see if a specific person had emailed him.
At work, he faked a smile, and he had quickly found that he was an eerily good actor. He wore headphones, now, and he kept his MP3 player had a single hour-long track on repeat. The track was nothing—just static that he had pulled off of some website and then set it to loop and overlap until it was ridiculously long. Still, when he listened to the static on full blast, he couldn't hear the radio that was constantly blaring rock music in the shop.
Music. He remembered when he loved music. He would pick up his guitar and listen to CDs for hours, practicing chords with the songs, dreaming of one day being famous. Not anymore, though. Every song he heard seemed to remind him, bring up memories that he needed to keep buried for his sanity's sake. Every time he looked at his guitar, he thought of the songs he could play, and none of them were pleasant. Finally, he buried it behind boxes in the back of the closet, just to keep it from catching his eye any more.
He lifted the pipe to his lips and took a long drag, the smoke inflating his lungs. He closed his eyes and exhaled, immediately bringing the pipe back up for another round. Eventually, about half of the bowl was killed, and he had a pleasant head change. He sat the pipe down and stood.
Time to get ready for work. He showered, got dressed, grabbed his keys and headed out the door. He realized halfway down the stairs that he had forgotten his cell phone...but he didn't need it. The only person he wanted to talk to wasn't calling.
He drove to work, threw a fake smile and made small chat with a few of the guys for a few minutes before he headed in, putting his headphones on. Eight hours, he thought. Then a ten minute drive home. Then I can be alone to drink and smoke.
That was perhaps the only thought that kept him going.