‘Have to what?’
‘I have to lock the door three times, then flick the light off and on three times, then turn the tap on three times before I wash the dishes, I have to do three of everything.’
‘And who says?’
‘Miss Owen, these so-called voices are just your disorder. You were diagnosed with OCD over two years ago, could you try something for me tonight?’
‘Try locking the door once, leaving the light on, go to the sink, turn on the tap and wash the dishes, try doing everything once. Then try and rest.’
‘But something bad will happen to me.’
‘It won’t, trust me, Miss Owen. Come back next week and tell me how it went.’
These things surrounded my head. It was dark outside now, nothing. No noise apart from in my head, the setting was silent.
Try and lock the door once. Sounded simple enough, but not for me. I wanted to follow my gut, and what is two extra locks anyways? Why is it such a bad thing?
I approached the door, my head wild. ‘Once.’ I said under my breath. I locked the door once and stepped back.
That wouldn’t cut it.
It had to be three. Three was the only number I could follow, otherwise I could feel it, something was going to happen.
My head spun, as whispers in my ear got louder and louder. Louder. Louder. Louder. My heartbeat faster as I stood there, the whispers becoming too much to bear.
My hand quickly attached itself back onto the lock, unlocking it, then locking it. Unlocking it, then locking it. Unlocking it, then locking it for the final time.
I looked at the light. I could ignore this. Walk past it. Just walk past it. I buried my head in my hands as I stood there, my mind working.
I wanted to follow my gut, not what a therapist had told me. I glanced at the light, before running past it. I stopped at the sink, looking back at the light.
I took a knife from the side and held it steadily in front of me, waiting for something to happen.
I kept my eyes in front of me, waiting for something to happen. Surely something would happen. Had I been doing three of everything all my life for nothing?
I put the knife down, sighing. ‘Stupid. This is stupid.’ I said, turning to the sink and turning on the tap. Without another thought I started washing the dishes.
But the voice still surrounded my head. Three. Three. Three times. ‘Shut up. Shut up. Shut up!’ I shouted, angry at the voices. It had been proven nothing happens, so why should I continue listening to them?
In the covers.
I sat up, rubbing my eyes. I looked to the side of my bed, grabbing a book. I lay down, looking at the book. I enjoyed reading, apart from the part where I had to read every word more than once. I looked at the book, closing it.
I couldn’t do this. As I lay the book on my chest, I noticed something. I sat up again, letting the book drop into my lap.
There was someone standing at the end of my bed.
‘Hello?’ I said, wrapping the covers around me as I stared at it, fear glistening in my eyes.
‘Disobey.’ it said.
I looked at it, startled. I sat there in silence, waiting for it to say something. ‘The rule of three.’
My heart sunk.
I turned quickly and turned on my light. As I turned around, the person was no longer there, merely as if it was a hallucination. I'd rather take it as a hallucination than something coming out to kill me because I didn’t obey its rules, but what if it wasn’t?..
I turned off the light again, and there it was. Staring at me, but this time eerily closer to me. ‘One.’ it said.
I switched on the light again, then off. Again, it was closer. ‘Two’ it said, its smile widening in a bizarre way, as if it wasn’t human. The edges of its mouth curling around the edges of its head into an abnormally wide smile.
I switched on the light, before turning it off once more without hesitation, in the hope it would be gone because I had obeyed its rules.
I was wrong.