I don't know how many of you bother to keep up on getting to know me, but I'll clear the air by admitting that I often have trouble sleeping. In addition to this, if you follow me, you might already know that I am epileptic. If I don't take six pills a day, two in the morning, four at night, I'm liable to experience neurological malfunction. Starting with a dampening, foggy sensation that clouds my ability to think fluently, or even dream. After a certain point, I can't even hear my own thoughts and my head becomes a vacant space. Further malfunction without medication can put me at risk to momentary blackouts, lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
Point is, I'm used to living with predicting unpredictability, and I know what missing time is like. However, despite this, despite ALL of this...
Nothing could have prepared me for what happened that night. Not last night, but two nights before.
The time was approximately 4 in the afternoon. I had been up for about 3 hours. I was scarcely dressed in my sweatpants, slippers and morning robe as I ate my brunch of cereal and scrambled eggs when a headache that I had not woken up with suddenly kicked in. I took an Advil, which seemed to do a fat lot of good. By the time I was done, eating, I was too distracted by my headache to watch TV or go online. It was pretty god damn irritating, I tell you. And by that point, I was beginning to sniffle a bit and had to breathe through my mouth - my sinuses were beginning to get clogged up. I didn't know why at the time, I haven't been sick for about a month. But in addition to the headache, I was really, really starting to feel light-headed. So I went into the bathroom, and let some water begin to run and heat up for a shower. I live in the armpit of Washington state, it can take a while for a shower to be ready. So with a minute or two to spare, I tried recalling if I had taken my morning meds. I didn't know whether it was the headache or what, but I couldn't remember. Which is never a good sign. So, as the water gradually heated, I made way into the kitchen and took two of my pills. They usually take a minute or two to kick in, but they always work. Now with my headache at an all-time high, my dog starts barking. Now, my dog barks at EVERYTHING. I have one of those tiny, yapping-breed dogs. But this wasn't a passing bark, either. Oh, how I wish it was. Anyways, not wanting my annoying-ass dog to annoy the shit out of whoever was at the door, I picked her up and put her out in the backyard and shut her out there. God DAMN that high-pitched bark on top of my headache fucking hurt like shit. But before I could even turn towards the front of the house to see what the commotion was about, I heard two knocks at the front door.
That's the last thing I remember.
There is no recollection of time passing. No darkness to experience in missing time. The transition is instantaneous. The next thing I remember feeling was... coldness. Then, slowly. My senses returned one at a time. I remember hearing my dog barking again, though in a less-alarmed, more distressed tone. She was right next to me. I was face-down in the overgrowth of my back lawn. My headache was gone, but the sun was down and it was pitch-black out. Very late. Very cold out. And though I didn't know why... I was... Naked.
Cold, confused, covered in grass and dirt, I cautiously made my way inside. Thinking to take the shower I never got to. But when I opened the door, I found the shower was still running. The water was absolutely freezing before I turned it off. Stupidly, the first thing on my mind was; 'Well shit, that's definitely gonna show on the rent.' In the end, I spend the next half hour dabbing myself down with a cold, wet washcloth. When I noticed what time it was, it was 12:56.
Almost one in the morning.
From 4:00 to 12:56 pm.
I had lost 8, almost 9 entire hours. The entire day was gone.
Upon discovering this fact, I pondered, and realized the dangerous plausibility of what might have just occurred.
Rushing into the bathroom again, I franticly inspected my reflection from several angles. Noticing my headache was gone, and my sinuses were bone dry, I looked inside of my nostril. Dried evidence of a recent nosebleed from my right nostril. Padding down my skin in excessive detail, I felt something else. Four hard, sharp lumps. Harder and denser than scabs, 2 on my upper neck, just below where my spine met my skull - and another 2 on my lower back. Those two were much harder to see, but they felt exactly the same.
I couldn't sleep the next night - but eventually passed out for nearly an entire day after that. In my... 'dream', I was able to see things differently. I don't think my last slumber brought dreams, at all. I only wish something as benign as a nightmare came. What came instead, was painfully vivid. I remember those who knocked. The black-eyed children.
The sterile, seamless hallways.
The paralysis, the table.
The pitch-black stares. The dispassionate procedure.
The gargled static of a thousand voices when they looked me in the eye.
It all came back to me.
It's never just once, though. I've known about this phenomenon long enough to know that they tag us. Use the chemical gateways in our nervous system as ways of following our minds and cells. This is just the beginning.
I know they're coming back.