The Anathemiac


It was nothing but a recurring dream.

Lawrence awoke, disoriented, and found himself lying on a flat and hardened bed, his body made perfectly immobile from unseen straps and bindings. The tightness of these bindings gave Lawrence a pained concern that his arms and legs were being deprived of their natural bloodflow, turning them to disgusting and unnatural shades of blue and green; the nature in which his head was strapped down discomforted him such a way that he feared the back of his head was going to morph into the flatness defined by the surface beneath him, forcing the hair and flesh occupying that area to rot away. Nothing would be left but a disgusting slate of flat, discolored skull.

As though the previous discomforts weren't enough, Lawrence was acutely aware that there was a tube shoved unceremoniously down his throat, making his mouth dry and raw at the same time. The tube, he knew, was for water. Although he was completely alone, and had no memories of how he had gotten into such a situation, Lawrence innately knew that he had only one drink of water - he could only have one more drink of water, and then he would waste away and die. It was also known that under the index finger of his left hand was a button what would dictate just when he would receive his last drink of water: the cruelty of that button was unbearable, and Lawrence hated it. He hated the fact that he would die of thirst no matter what, and he hated that in some twisted sense, he was in control of just when that happened.

Logically, it would have been wise to take that last drink as soon as possible. What was the point in delaying death? - but the will to live was too strong. The body could live about seven days without water, or so he seemed to remember. True, Lawrence could not remember the last time he had consumed any liquids, but theoretically, he could live a maximum of fourteen days: up to seven on his current supply, and up to seven from that last drink controlled by his left index finger. Surely, someone would come and save him within those fourteen days.

He waited for a long time. At first, the thirst was bearable. If he concentrated on the pain elsewhere in his body, the thirst was tolerable. But all too soon, the thirst began to become impossible to withstand. His tongue was immobile and dry. His throat was raw and swollen, his saliva viscous and cold. The other aches and pains were no longer a sufficient distraction. In fact, it was because of his grueling thirst that those pains existed. Lawrence was completely convinced that one drink – his last drink – would be the silver-bullet that would soothe all pain. He imagined that all of his internal bodily fluids had turned to a powdery state: his blood was powder, his phlegm was powder, his bile was powder. All he need was that one drink to enter his body to sooth and dissolve all of that unnatural powder and forever ease his pain. But still he waited.

He waited until sleep no longer came to him. He waited until the dreams of him pushing that button and ending his fundamental need for water, making his left index finger twitch threateningly, had ceased. He waited until he could no longer count to ten before he lost interest, being fully consumed by his thirst. Unable to wait any more, Lawrence pushed the button.

The simplicity of the action surprised Lawrence – how was it that such relief and salvation could come by such an impossibly minimal movement? And just as promised, the water came. Also as promised, as soon as he felt that wondrously cool and satisfying liquid enter into his body – filling up his stomach, cleaning out his mouth, awakening his tongue – all other pains seemed to melt away; the powder was dissolving. The satisfaction of the flavor and texture of the water filled Lawrence until his tongue was practically unable to move from the sheer pleasure of the situation.

But the water didn't stop. The cool refreshing nature of the liquid turned frigid and forceful. All desire for water thoroughly eradicated, Lawrence felt panicked with the need for oxygen. Oh – God! The immobile boy tried to frantically move all of his muscle, convulsing violently as if to be free from his bindings and failing miserably at doing so. His finger tapped mercilessly upon the button – but it didn't stop. With a sort of mocking precision, the water continued to flow.

After several minutes, Lawrence was dead. He had drowned.

But it was nothing but a recurring dream.