March Madness Top Ten: Which Way is Out?/Annette Rey

Unfriendly voices crowd my head and I hear words in whispers and from hollow wells. Oddly, some seem scholarly. Mozart died in 1921. Van Gogh’s ear. Suicide. Sterilized strangers pull me from this familiarity and probe me and tie my straining arms across my chest, suffocating me. I spit as I struggle to breathe and they tie a mask to my face. They say I’m marching to madness and spitting is not allowed. I’m only spitting to breathe.


Who are these pale vectors? I don’t recognize them. Exposed, chipped pipes stand up and across gray, pitted walls. This thing they call a bed is made of bars, like the ones on the dark-glassed window where flies have died on the sill. They are the lucky ones, I think. They can’t spit and be bound. They are drying up. But, they are free. They can’t move, but neither can I. Not much.


I kick – and cry – and spit in my mask. My face gets stiff with dried spittle cracking my lips. Do flies have lips? In a wave, I see students sitting in desks before me. I hear my voice orating to them. Their faces begin to melt. The voices start.


The pitted walls again are before me. The dead flies begin to speak. Bzzz. Bzzz-bzzzz. Bzz. I agree with them.


Scraping sounds approach. The sterile devils force me onto a cart. Deafening screeches from the cart’s wheels assault the surrounding atoms as the cart pierces another doorway. Something metal presses on my temples beside my bulging, darting eyes as I scan emotionless faces. A mood has descended. Their arms move.


I hear a scream beyond the wall, a spine-rattling crescendo that abruptly drops into a chasm. My spine just settles in when my brain is hit with lightning that explodes my eyes in their sockets and clamps my jaws shut. My teeth crack. My entire body tenses and lifts from the cart, and slams against it – again, again, again. A shriek like the one I heard minutes before escapes my cracked lips as I collapse one last time, sweating, sick, spent. I can’t object.


Clouds float. Misty waves pass by. I wake slowly. I’m numb, drained. My arms are free. The mask is gone.


The cadaver creators say I’m better.


I’m only beaten – dried up – like the flies.

The Editors Top Ten

Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

A Moment of Dying/Kindra Austin

The Magic Quilt/Zelda Reville

Marching in Madness & March Madness/1Wise-Woman

Conflagration/Nathan McCool

My Own Ghost House and Dog & All/S Francis

I have been president of a writer’s group, and published in various anthologies and online. My passion is to create writing that intrigues, entertains, and educates the inquiring reader. I especially want to assist other writers to see the English language as a virtual living entity they can use to enhance the lives of others. I blog at Life Nuggets and Writer’s Block No More


Author: Sudden Denouement

A Global Literary Collective

7 thoughts on “March Madness Top Ten: Which Way is Out?/Annette Rey”

  1. Wow. I am still stuck in this piece, it has raised my pulse and the hair on the back of my neck. The imagery is gorgeous, and absolutely terrifying, it took me there and then it left me in there. This one will stick with me for a very long time, excellent write.


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