He sees the spottled flecks of sun when he closes his eyes, sometimes. Not that he’s seen it in a long time, but Kiran has memories.
They used to play together as children, he and Freddie, teasing each other mercilessly with grubby hands and grubbier knees. The rest came later, a kind of collective of spirit, bottled and ready to blow.
It did. July 7, 2009.
Kiran creates murals on the walls with his breath and one little finger. Sometimes, in the night, when he pushes his pills under the mattress they talk to him. Whisper. Tell him truths he daren’t hear himself speak.
You’re a murderer. A villain. You’re the bad guy. The wolf in the woods, the troll beneath the bridge, the witch in the sea.
He can feel his teeth growing, piercing through bloody gums until his whole body quakes with sobs. They blame him, and even from the confines of a locked, white cell, he hears them scream.
Some say nightmares can be found only in the darkest of places; the recesses of your mind designed to torture and torment. Kiran says they’re there, standing before you; heads lolling, eyes rolling, mouths open and empty. The memories are fuzzy ‘round the edges, like an old CRT monitor - they crackle, and burst, and pop behind his eyes - and Kiran wonders if the next time he shuts them it might be the last.
He shudders and breaths against the cool tile in the corner.
His fingernail draws a happy face, and Kiran smiles.