Alan sat on the blue plush sofa, his hands shaking slightly as he waited. The smell of lilacs filtered through the slightly open window that led to the yard outside. The fluorescent light overhead pulsed in the usual pattern of the lights, distorting the room for him as always.
You don’t need to be here, Alan.
Credence’s voice was so clear that he couldn’t help but turn his head in the direction of the chair to his left where the faint image of a woman sat looking sternly in his direction.
I know you can hear me. You can’t deny it anymore.
Alan shook his head slightly as the pine-paneled door across the room opened quietly, and the receptionist walked through.
You could have her, you know. You could bend her right over her desk. I’ve seen the way she looks at you.
“Dr. Fletcher will see you now,” she said with a bright smile.
Alan nearly tripped over an end table as he rushed through the door. He was nearing a sprint when he reached the smoked glass door with the etched name of the doctor in it. He entered quickly and shut the door behind him panting.
“Are you okay, Alan?” Dr. Fletcher asked from behind his desk.
“A bit of a rough day,” Alan said as he scanned the room for her. When he failed to find her hiding behind the coat rack, he felt himself relax a little.
“Sit down, please,” Dr. Fletcher said, motioning to the couch.
Alan sat quickly, hoping that the door was enough to keep her out.
“How have things been the past week?”
“Where do I begin?” Alan asked, his eyes darting to the door. He ran his hands down his face, pulling hard at the skin. “There’s so much. It’s overwhelming.”
“One word at a time,” Dr. Fletcher said, his voice smooth and calming. “There’s no need to rush these things. Take your time.”
A few minutes of silence passed in the office for the doctor, but Alan could hear Credence walking down the hall yelling for him. His head turned toward the door as he saw a faint shadow pass behind the glass.
We need to get out of this place, Alan. It’s not safe. They want to hurt us.
“I feel scared,” Alan said, his head snapping back to the doctor as he tried to hold his gaze. His hand twitched, and his head tilted to the right as he saw a flash of movement. “She’s always there now. The meds aren’t working anymore, and it’s getting harder to keep her out.”
“You mean Credence?” Dr. Fletcher asked, not even looking down to the notes in front of him.
Even he knows me. I want him, Alan. Let me have him.
Alan nodded vigorously, “I can’t make her leave anymore. She won’t leave. She torments me and won’t let me sleep.”
“Have you been taking the sleeping meds I prescribed?”
“I tried them Monday,” Alan said as Credence’s form passed through the door. His body began rocking back and forth violently as he shook his head. “I woke up in a different part of the city. Credence said that she liked it. She wants more.”
Always more, Alan. Give me more.
“What about the Zyprexa I prescribed?”
“Alan,” Dr. Fletcher said, leaning forward.
“Clozapine, ziprasidone. They’re all the same, doc. None of them work. How many different ones have I been on now? I’ve hit the big seven, are we going to try the less common? More powerful? Higher doses?” Alan said, ignoring the doctor.
“Alan, we need to work together to help you get better. I can’t do this alone,” Dr. Fletcher said.
“Never alone,” Alan said as he rose from the couch and began pacing. “Always together. Never apart. Always together. Never apart.”
Credence’s voice harmonized with his, repeating the same statements. Her face set in cruel amusement as her eyes followed him.
“Is she here now?” Dr. Fletcher asked.
“There,” Alan nodded and absentmindedly motioned with a few flips of his hand toward a chair in the far corner.
“What’s she doing now?” Dr. Fletcher asked.
Alan paused in his pacing and looked directly at her. She stood from the chair and walked toward the doctor, pulling a letter opener from her jeans. Alan watched in horror as she wrapped an arm around him and began thrusting it into his back. The doctor’s mouth opened in a silent scream as he struggled against her.
Alan turned away, burying his head in his arms as he sank to the floor.
Always together. Never apart. Look, Alan. Look what I’ve done for us.
Alan lifted his head to find his hands covered in blood. The world became muddy in his view. His ears muffled all the sound around him except Credence’s voice. Even the receptionists scream from behind him seemed muffled, until it was cut short suddenly. Alan knew what had happened.
He waited there for a few minutes until he felt her warm breath on the back of his neck stirring him back to movement. He would figure out how to get rid of her. How to stop this from happening again.
I’ll take care of this, Alan. Like I always do for you. I’ll keep you safe, both of us safe, forever. We’re safe now. Like we should be. Always together. Never apart…