It wakes me, sitting on my chest. Thick and dark and heavy. My breath is short and not deep enough. But I can't inhale properly. It's there, on my chest.
It's 4am. I went to bed after midnight and stared into the darkness. I should be asleep.
It's cold, but I am hot. Its weight is pushing me down and holding down my arms.
I am claustrophobic and the weight on my arms pulses cortisol, the hormone of stress through me. I panic and struggle, finally sitting up, but it is still there, still stopping me breathing.
Each breath gurgles, as if the air is too thick. I inhale sludge into my nose and mouth, down my throat and panic some more as I gasp and more of it fills my chest.
My hair is in my eyes and I wonder at why I care when my chest is bursting. Snakes of sludge now sliding into my belly squirming over eachother in a serpentine orgy.
I make it to the bathroom sink, still pinned, still full of sludge,and vomit copiously, mucus and green bile, until my abdominal muscles lock painfully in spasm, bent over the sink, eyes bloodshot, chest still full and heavy.
The thickness travels further, into my spine, shocking each nerve root as it climbs steadily until it swirls heavily in my mind. I see the flashes as it lazily tumbles around in my eyeballs, still gasping for air, bent over like a woman 3 times my age.
I get in the shower, cold at first, the water heating until it is almost scalding and shiver under the spray. The sludge begins to wash off of me, until I am clean again. Tears streak the mud on my face until it is clean too. The rivulets of water running to the corner of my mouth salty. The snakes are still there, still jostling for position, still making me squirm. My hands are shaky and I wonder at the tremor.
I get dressed, black agent provocateur underwear, fishnet stockings clipped high on my thigh. Below knee sensible black wool skirt. Tailored blue shirt. Covering them until I look sensible and plain aside from the 8 inches of visible stocking clad calf. Hair scraped back into a pony tail, errant fringe tucked behind one ear. No make up. Still can't wear the crap even though I know I look better if I do.
The blackness is still covering my face, even though it is light now. Still breathing underwater.
I can't do this any more. No more months of this. More exams, more assignments, more deadlines, more nights lying awake with my brain racing then waking up too early facing the cold.
But I have to. A song starts whirring around in my head. The snakes bursting into spontaneous harmony. A stupid song. An offensive song. Around and around and around it loops like a record player jumping over a scratch but it makes me laugh. So I head out, drink diet coke with freshly brushed teeth and grimace, and plod through another day. With this as my soundtrack. WARNING DO NOT CLICK THE LINK IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED!
I may be fucked but at least I can still laugh.