Welcome to Trauma Fiction Tuesdays.
I’ve selected several real-life trauma prompts – from my own life or those around me – and have written fiction for each.
This Week’s Prompt:
C-PTSD: A Sinister Smile in the Dark
The following story discusses child abuse, psychosis, night terrors, and C-PTSD Flashbacks.
What should I do?
After months of trying to unlock forgotten memories with my therapist, they’re finally back, and I couldn’t regret it more…
It’s gotten worse in recent weeks.
I wake up in a panic, covered in sweat, tears rolling down my cheeks, and panting as if I’ve been running.
The memories started small. The first I remembered was when I had my quilt ripped from me in the middle of the night or how I was dragged out of bed by my feet.
My therapist wasn’t initially concerned about these memories; they were mild. But then I remembered the water… Having water poured over me while I slept, followed by my waking up gasping for air.
Worried, but we pushed on.
And now, I’m plagued with the same nightmare…
At first, it was just small fragments of the memory. But after several weeks of work, it finally came back in full.
I’m drowsy. It’s peaceful, and I’m curled up under my quilt. Light slowly begins seeping into my bedroom as the door opens and ever so slowly shuts.
I’m wide awake now, as my quilt is slowly lifted, and a body gets in behind me.
“Please don’t,” I whisper as a hand lifts my nighty and pulls down my pants.
“What are you talking about?” The voice snickers. “You’ll like this… You always do,” he growls happily, pushing me onto my stomach and climbing on top.
“Don’t put it in. Please!” I cry, receiving a punch in response.
“Shut up or they’ll hear us,” he moans as the abuse begins.
It’s the same dream – the same nightmare – on a loop. As if I’ve changed the batteries in an old Walkman, and now it won’t stop playing the cassette that’s stuck inside.
I can’t even sleep with my back to my bedroom door without someone with me – someone to protect me, someone to tell me that the smiling face in the shadows isn’t real – isn’t there.
Because when the memory replays and I wake up in a puddle of my own sweat – shaking in terror – he’s always there.
Staring at me, smiling. Sometimes, I still hear him whispering, “they’ll hear us.”
And now, as I sit in front of my therapist, listening to him reel off coping mechanisms and potential therapy treatments, I can’t help but think about the screaming…
The screams in my head – my child-self, my former-self, my current-self – all screaming so loud that my head feels like an echo chamber with flashbacks among the cries for help.
And all I can ask is: What should I do?
Where do I put this pain?
How do I hold it?
Or do I send it into the world?
What should I do?
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