Hiding Behind the Masks

Naomi robbed two large breaths from her sister and then robbed a third out of desperation; desperation was the stability that she sometimes needed in order to remain standing on both feet. Her hands began to judder. The paint brush slipped through her palm and decked onto the floor; red colour splattering across parts of the yellow wall that still remained in her bedroom. Claustrophobia refuged her four senses and she shut her eyes to the fifth; her present became dark.

Wave after wave of terror began to drown her sanity one droplet at a time, and she let her body drown with it; enough to satisfy its needs in another game of tug of war. Her chest tightened, and pain drifted down her legs, thighs pulsating to the rhythm of the sirens that were soaring through the night. She bent her hips and launched her body towards her bottle of anti-anxiety pills resting at the far end of her table, managing to grasp only the thin air around it. The floor slipped under her feet and her hands clenched the chair in front, stopping herself from dropping dead onto her knees.

Fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty.

Her counting interspersed with the rise and fall of her chest and she forced her eyes to open, trying to align herself with the world outside. A world full of sad clowns. Sad clowns on autopilot. Heat mounted the sides of her head and the needles on the coniferous trees outside her bedroom window turned into blotches of green.
Need more distractions. Just keep breathing. It will end soon.

Above the trees was a plane that seemed too close to the ground and going a bit too fast for anyone’s comfort. Her pupils trailed the blurry edges of the aircraft; its wings obeyed the uneven rhythm of the wind that brushed up against her face, further cooling her iced blood. The plane angled right, then left and continued this pattern four times. Nausea rose through Naomi’s body.

Two minutes passed.

Then three.

The ticking of her bedroom clock mirage her thoughts and resonated through her room like a time bomb; each consecutive sound tearing apart the fragments of her life into even smaller pieces. Rain weighed down the body of the plane, and the water cleansed the rough edges of her own scab, gasping with pain. Flames erupted from the outer lining of the engine and her insides drowned with the fire.

Five minutes.

Cries continued to fall from the sky and sirens erupted underneath; flashes of blue and red reflected throughout her street. The ticking became louder and her heartbeat followed in its footsteps. She couldn’t see them but almost sense the cries emanating from above, like rats on a sinking ship.

The crash jerked away the black holes of her mind, and awoke the entire city. Flames of emotion erupted through the air; scraps of life ripping through her eyes. Guilt transcended out from each of her limbs. She reached out once again, and succeeded in grabbing a hold of her pills. Her internal panic was replaced by the horror outside. She took a deep breath in and paused, hoping the passengers could still breathe.

6 thoughts on “Hiding Behind the Masks

  1. daniellehass says:

    Maaaan! This is so awesome! The voice is clear and distinct and the end left me wanting more! The only thing, and this is something super nit-picky and my preference, is that there are a lot of semicolons and whenever I read semicolons, it pulls me out a little bit, so maybe removing one or two of them would make the others more effective. Other than that, this is super great and I really want to read the rest of this! Great job!

  2. Tuva says:

    I like the writing style, each paraghaph is intense and makes me want to keep reading! The parallell story of the panic attack and the plane crash is really well done, and the feel of panic gets across. I found the first line confusing, but that is my only critique!

  3. Noelia says:

    My critique is that in the first sentence right after the semi colon you tell that desperation was the thing she needed to stay standing. I think you should take that part out because your writing already shows it based on her reaction so good job! I recommend double checking for telling instead of showing in this story just in case there’s more.
    The second thing I would say is to start the story at a more stable point, even if it’s just a sentence. I guess I’m confused as to why she is having a panic attack. Is it because she hears a plane overhead plummeting to the ground? Why did she have a paint brush in her hand? Who is her sister and how is she stealing her breath? Where is she?
    However, despite my confusion I felt drawn in to the story. I was interested because of how the protagonists surroundings were described such as “sad clowns on autopilot.” The other reason I was drawn in was the event of a panic attack and a plane crash at the same time (very exciting).
    I would definetly want to keep reading to find some answers to my questions, to see how the scenario plays out, and to read more of the slight defamiliarization style description.
    Keep writing! You have a real talent and lots of potential!

    By the way, your story reminded me of a short story called “The Yellow Wallpaper” you should check it out.

    • Prerna B. says:

      Thanks SO much for your critique! Your comments really helped me improve it. You’re right, the beginning should be a bit more stable and the beginning is a bit confusing. I do answer the questions you mentioned but later in the story. I’m really glad you liked it!!
      And I will definitely check out the Yellow Wallpaper.
      Thanks again!

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