Reverse Slope

1.

A woman sat alone on a chair by a window.

Outside, there were the sounds of children playing out, a dog barking, sirens, and a biplane passing overhead.

Beams of sunlight rained down through the glass window, streaming into the room.

2.

A lone June bug crawled around the corpses of its fallen brethren before taking off and colliding with the glass pane with a soft thud.

The beetle fell, then laid stunned on its back.

The woman stared at it before a low, male voice spoke as if he were in the other room.

3.

“I know the real you,” he said. As she jumped, there was a knock on the door.

She stood up from her chair and went to answer it.

She opened the door. Before her stood a tall man in a tan suit.

“Georgina,” the man said as he took off his hat.

“Doctor Berkeley,” she greeted.

4.

“How are you?” he asked as he entered the building.

“How are you,” she replied. “Please, come in.”

Georgina held the door open and stepped aside.

“I hear you’re the finest,” she said as he entered with his hat in his hands.

She shut the door and locked it.

5.

“So they say,” Dr. Berkeley said as he followed her to the sitting room. “Dr. Mavety recommended you see me? I hear you’ve been having visions, and hearing things?”

“Yes,” Georgina said. “They’ve been getting worse too.”

They sat alone in a small room filled with porcelain dolls.

6.

 “You live alone?” he asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Ah, good.”

“I’ve a cat.”

Georgina began clicking her tongue loudly. No cat came.

7.

“Here, Copy, Copy, Copy!” she cried out. “Here, girl!”

There was dead silence.

“Hm,” she uttered. “Guess she’s shy.”

“So, tell me how you’ve been lately,” he said.

“There’s a voice,” she said. “A low one. Like a man’s.”

“Uh huh,” he said, nodding slightly. “And what does he say?”

8.

She winced, remembering some of the more hurtful things she’s heard.

“Mean things.”

“Mean… things?” he asked. “Like what?”

“It’s your fault,” she said. “All your fault.”

“They say things that make me feel like… I’ve done something bad,” she said. “Something really bad.”

9.

“I feel like that’s why I’m here,” she said.

“Here…?” he asked. “You mean this town?”

“No,” she replied. “This house. Maybe, this Earth.”

She rubbed her arm.

“Everybody blames me,” she said before she blinked.

“Because it was me,” she said in a moment of clarity. “I brought it here.”

10.

There was a long pause.

“Yes,” he said as he released a hand from his hat and reached in with it. “You were, Georgina, but I assure you that it is not us that is perpetrating this… retaliation.”

“It’s all my fault,” she gasped, suddenly remembering. She sobbed at the gravity of the realizations.

11.

“You can’t just blame yourself,” he continued as he grabbed the mind-wiper in his hat.

“But that’s just it,” she said. “It’s not just me that does.”

She looked up at Dr. Berkeley, who had one hand in his hat.

“It’s everyone else too,” she said. “Isn’t it, doc?”

12.

He depressed the button on the mind-wiper, sending out small electrical pulses from the chip inside Georgina’s head.

The chip paralyzed her body, overloaded her senses, and wiped the last few seconds from her memory.

13.

“I’m afraid that’s all the time we have for today,” Dr. Berkeley said. “I have to go now. Lots more visits ahead of me.”

 “Yes,” Georgina said. “Of course.”

14.

Dr. Berkeley stood up and walked towards the front door.

“I assure you,” he said. “These voices and hallucinations you’ve been experiencing are only in your head. Just, ignore them as best you can and take these pills.”

Dr. Berkeley pulled a bottle of pills from his pocket.

15.

He held the bottle of pills out to her.

She grabbed it from his hand.

The psychiatrist placed his hat back upon his head, and nodded at her.

“Good day,” he said as he left through the front door.

Georgina closed the door and locked it. Then he turned around to hear…

16.

… absolute silence.

17.

“Where has that silly cat gone?”

Georgina heard a meow off in the distance.

“Copy?” she called out. “Copy, where are you?”

She wandered out from the small foyer.

“Copy?”

She continued to walk deeper and deeper into the building.

18.

The air was comfortable.

A nice cool breeze ran through the halls.

“Copy!” she called out. “Here, girl!”

She followed the soft meowing until she came to a door that was left ajar.

It led outside.

She took a step out and felt the sunlight.

It was warm against her olive skin.

19.

She closed her eyes and soaked up the sun.

Her pointy shoulders drooped and her equally pointy elbows dangled at her sides.

For a short while, she basked in silence.

She opened her eyes and saw the horizon. It glowed orange, like a low flame.

20.

Mountain ranges flanked the wide open field that sat beneath long, wispy clouds.

She took a step forward and immediately covered her nose, recoiling at the stench that just filled her nostrils. It was the foul smell of rot.

21.

She looked about the ground to find a mass of wet, grey fur. Upon the furry mess, was a white tuft. It looked like a bunch of cotton balls stuck together.

Georgina approached cautiously, with her left thumb and index finger pinching her nose shut.

22.

She covered her mouth underneath her fun top.

She drew closer to the wet fur, and found it to be the putrefying carcass of a small rodent. A small breeze carried a tiny speck of cotton off of it. The speck floated about, moving erratically.

It flew towards her.

23.

She held out a hand and let it land atop her right hand.

It was a small, wooly insect with tiny wings and a body covered in soft, white fluff.

“An… angel?” she said aloud as he observed the insect.

24.

She watched it is walked close to the base of her thumb, waggled its bulging abdomen, then drove its needle-like stylet upon its face into her hand and drew blood.

“Ouch!” she cried out, then slapped her hand

25.

She looked behind her hand to find the air filled with small white specks, all floating in her direction.

She instinctively backed away, and tripped. She fell on her full bottom, and kicked the dirt as she tried her best to get away from the encroaching swarm of wooly aphids.

26.

She turned about and ran for the building. She entered it, and slammed the door shut. The frosted window frame darkened as more and more aphids landed upon it. She stepped away from the door and sought a sink to wash her insect bite.

27.

She walked to the bathroom where she turned on the tap and tried to run water over her right hand, but the tap was dry.

“Come on,” Georgina sat and turned the handle more. A small drop emerged, and clung to the tap.

28.

Georgina felt the sting of her bite get more intense. The pain radiated from the wound and shot up her arm, reaching for her heart.

She opened the tap even wider, and a tiny trickle dripped from the tap.

29.

She released her hand of the tap and placed her hand under the trickle, washing the bite as the handle of the tap flew off and struck the ceiling with incredible force. A steady jet of water shot out from where the handle sat.

30.

Georgina tried fruitlessly to stop the powerful flow of water with her hands, but it was pointless. The water jet was just too strong. She searched the floor, which was starting to fill with water to her small ankles, for the handle and found it in the corner of the room.

31.

She tried her best, but she could not properly tighten it back in place.

She backed away from the sink and made her way for the exit, splashing in the water that was about knee-high at this point. She tried the door, but it did not budge.

32.

“Help!” she cried out as she banged on the door with her fists. “Help me!”

She continued until the water reached her bare thighs, then her slim waist, and finally up to her buxom breasts. She screamed in horror when she felt something slimy brush against her calves.

33.

The water climbed to the height of her chin. She tearfully pounded against the door and shrieked at the top of her lungs until the water rose to her forehead and suffocated her.

34.

She tread water for a moment before swimming over to the toilet-bowl and climbed atop it. She lifted her torso out of the water, and pressed up with her hands against the low ceiling.

35.

She had bought some time, but the room was filling fast with water. Dead fish floated up upon the surface and filled what little air was left in the small room with a ghastly stench of decay.

The water rose above her mouth, then nose, then eyes.

36.

It was hard to see underwater, but she could make out a hazy figure that looked like a small shark.

The long, leathery creature with many rows of teeth swam in figure eights before her eyes and stared back at her with multiple dark beads that pimpled its face.

37.

She emptied her lungs, her scream muffled by the surrounding water. Then, she passed out.

She woke up in front of the toilet bowl and upon the bone-dry porcelain floor tiles with a wicked headache.

38.

She gasped as she awoke and sat upright violently, fighting for air. But there was plenty to go around. She sat alone in the bathroom. She stood up slowly and looked about.

It did not looked like the flood had occurred. She reached for the doorknob and tried it.

39.

It turned with ease.

She pushed against the door and walked out, sniffling as tears rolled down her fair cheeks.

“What’s happening?” she asked herself aloud as she looked at her own hands. She stood there out in the hallway for a moment, then broke down into an ugly sob.

40.

She curled up into a fetal position and cried there for a good while.

After she had cried herself out, she got up and travelled back to the sitting room. There, she found the bottle of pills she had left there and looked at the bottle briefly before ingesting three pills.

41.

She then sat there quietly on the couch. It was silent for just a moment before she could heard thumping in the distance, coming from somewhere in the building. Soft thuds upon  what sounded like a cold, metal box.

42.

It wasn’t forceful thumping. More like soft thuds. Georgina got up, and walked towards it. She followed it into the kitchen. She listened carefully, then heard the noise again. It was coming from the stove.

She reached for the oven door, but froze when he heard a baby’s cry coming from inside.

43.

She shuddered in fear and backed away as the crying got louder and louder. As dark smoke began to emerge from the oven, she screamed and ran for the front door. She flung the door open, only to find Doctor Berkeley standing there on the doorstep.

44.

“Georgina!” he exclaimed. “What’s wrong?”

“A baby… in the oven…!”

He rushed into the building and into the kitchen, and touched the stove. Then, he opened the oven door to find it empty.

“But, I swear,” she sputtered. “I heard it. I… I saw smoke…!”

45.

“It’s alright, Georgina,” he said calmly. “Have you been taking those pills I gave you?”

“Yes, I have,” she said. “I don’t think they work.”

“Then we’ll just have to up the dosage,” he said as he reached into his pant pocket.

46.

“No!” Georgina cried out as she threw the bottle at Dr. Berkeley. “No more pills!”

He looked at her intently.

“This is for your own good,” he said. “You need to stay here, take your medication, and get better.”

A faint memory floated from the depths of her consciousness into her awareness.

47.

She looked about her.

“Stay here?” she asked. “Where is here?”

“This is your house,” Dr. Berkeley replied. “Don’t you remember?”

“This… isn’t my house,” she said as she stared up at the ceiling. “This… this is… a controlled environment.”

48.

Dr. Berkeley remained silent and motionless.

“This is… a protection program,” she continued, looking up at the physician. “Isn’t it, doc?”

He reached for the hat on his head but, this time, Georgina rushed him.

49.

She tackled him only the ground and wrangled the mind-wiper from his hands.

She looked at it.

“What the—?”

Dr. Berkeley landed a hook squarely on her smooth jawline. She fell, dazed from the sharp blow. She looked up at him as he stood there before her. He had retrieved the mind-wiper and the bottle of pills.

50.

“Again,” he said. “This is for your own good.”

He depressed the button as Georgina reached out toward him. She seized up before collapsing onto the ground. She laid there motionless for a minute before stirring.

“What happened?” she asked groggily.

51.

“You fainted,” he lied as he stood over her. “Must be a reaction to the medication. Let me help you up.”

Dr. Berkeley gave her a hand and sat her back upon a chair.

“Let me get you a glass of water,” he said.

52.

“No,” she said as she grabbed her head. “I’m alright.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “I’ll be fine.”

“Alright, I’ll get going then,” he said. “Lots more visits ahead of me.”

“Yes,” Georgina said. “Of course.”

53.

“Remember to take these pills,” he said as he handed her the bottle of pills. “They’ll help you with your visions.”

She nodded her head, still disoriented.

Dr. Berkeley headed for the front door, then left.

54.

Georgina brought the bottle of pills to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water. Then, she took two pills and swallowed them with some water. Then she sat there as her ears began to ring, and her thoughts began to drift, and her mind grew cloudy with white noise.