Her voice held a brittle edge as she spoke hurriedly into the phone. A shrill, staccato laugh erupted, unnervingly close to mania. Her fingers drummed on the desk, a rapid tattoo that matched the bullet-fire speed with which she issued her statements.

Brian frowned. It was almost becoming concerning, he thought, how random her behaviour had become of late. He'd asked her how her day was and she had answered that the day was fine, but she was "Xanax-ed to the max!".

It was starting to show as well; almost every day there was a new drama, and more than once she had come into the office on the brink of tears. Nobody liked to ask her what was wrong any more, ever since Johnsson had been screamed at and then subjected to a storm of tear-filled sobs about how sorry she was.

She was off the phone now, and staring blindly at the pile of work in front of her. Brian felt a pang of sympathy, and was about to see if he could help when she turned slightly and saw him standing there, shooting him a look of pure embarrassed hatred. The sympathy fled in a moment, and he thought to himself, Fuck her. She can live with that rod up her ass for all I care.

The end of the day came and she left the office, becoming another indifferent, inconsequential, inadequate individual; hunched behind the wheel of her car like some statue dedicated to listlessness and apathy. She was stuck in traffic for half an hour when a car crashed somewhere further along the road, and the only reason she noticed was the passing of minutes on her dashboard clock. Everything was happening to someone else, somewhere else.

It was the violent honking of the car behind hers to break her from the stasis that had overtaken her, the overweight man hanging out his window with one finger raised. The angry flush of his face and the strain evident on his face from the unaccustomed shifting of his weight marked him as a future candidate for open heart surgery as the indolence of years past shortened the prospect of years future. She raised an arm in apology as she pressed foot to the accelerator, even the energy required for that simple motion seeming to drain the power from all other areas of her existence; as though this one small action was the only thing that her entire being could focus on at one time.

She found herself in tears, and didn't know why.

Home was a blur; family, pets, husband, children, T.V., shower, sleep.

She lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling. The weight of her eyes was the same weight that pulled at her emotions; impossible to imagine this existence ever ending. It wasn't that she didn't care, she realised. It wasn't that she didn't love, or laugh, or want to be happy. It was that this blanket covered everything that she did, every attempt at kinesis lulled into inertia by some void inside of herself. It was like trying to jump in the air whilst ball and chain weighted your ankles.

Her husband rolled over in his sleep and began to snore gently. She didn't even notice; the air around her seemed to reflect noises, cursing her to hear nothing but her thoughts that wrapped around themselves like the most sinuous of snakes, feeding off each other like a giant ourobouros.

She lay there, unable to sleep as the thoughts surged to a scream in her head.

She lay there, unable to move as her mind wrapped chains of grey around her limbs.

She lay there, unable to resist as everything she was became meaningless and surreal.

She lay there.

The next day's evening news would say that she had thrown herself in front of a car; that she was manic-depressive, that it was due to the medication, that it could have been prevented.

The truth was far simpler.

She had seen the car, loaded with people with lives that she would never live.

And her limbs had not allowed her to move.

And now, she lay there.