Therapy. Short Story.

I’m pretty wrecked. Blargh.

Went to the doctors on Monday, that was ok, was only an hour in the place, which was pretty cool. Everything is normal, apparently my blood is awesome, so that’s something. I should get that framed somewhere. When I’m old and grey and people talk about my accomplishments, I can always smile and say how my doctor told me I had perfect blood once. Ya know, just to really freak everyone out.

I’m actually pretty relieved about the doctors appointment, last time I went he talked about scheduling a minor procedure, which is classed as minor, but last time I went in for it, I ended up in hospital for three or four days. That was not fun. And the trip in was kinda terrifying. I had really severe cramps, as in so painful I was vomiting and dry heaving. I thought something had been fucked up and I had internal bleeding or something. Nope, just my first major flare up with Crohn’s.

Still baby sitting the puppy. Got a strange bite/scratch from him. Basically he wrapped his mouth around my hand and kinda rested his head on it, I pulled my hand away and as I did one of his teeth scratched/cut along the back of my hand, pretty long too. That wasn’t too fun. Then, later on, stand on some glass. That was less fun. I thought I stood on a push pin or something. Before Crohn’s I would have been feeling faint, I didn’t like the sight of my own blood at all, but now I was just like “Eh. It’s fine.”

And finally, one last thing. I have this strange thing about resteraunts and bars and similar places. Basically if they recognise me, I’m going there far too much and I usually say something along the lines of “I can never go back.” In preparation for my doctors appointment I had to get blood tests done as usual, went in and the guy remembered who I was and was chatting away. So of course, now I can never go back.

On with the show!



Frank looked at the tall, dark shadow, then waved. No point in ignoring them. It never helped before, why would it help now? He popped a pill into his mouth and dry swallowed, before reaching for the bottle of water. It felt as though the pill had caught in his throat. He took a sip of water, then a gulp. The feeling started to fade. Good. A white shadow walked by the dark one, glancing at it. Frank could tell by its body movements that it was disdainful of the dark one. The dark one seemed to share this disdain. Personally, he thought of them as angels and demons, and he had done so since he was a child. They never gave him real reason to believe this, after all they never spoke to him or interacted with him. Sometimes he wondered if they could even see him, but he knew that they could. Why else would they follow him through his life?

His weren’t the only ones, it seemed most people had a couple hanging around them, usually there were two, but the composition of the couple didn’t seem to matter, sometimes it was two dark or two white or a mix. Sometimes there were more, sometimes there were none, but if there were any present, they were always in multiples of two. He had believed that perhaps the composition of this couple, or lack of, indicated something about the person they followed, the ones with all white were particularly good, the ones with all black were particularly evil and the ones with both were neither horribly good or terribly bad. As he progressed through life he revised this theory often until it was discarded entirely. He had met some lovely people with two black beings and a serial killer with four white beings. Frank had tried to be spiritual about it all when he was younger, wondering if it was some sort of predestination thing with the identical couples and neutral, free will with the mixed ones. However this became quite tedious to think about as there would never be an answer for him.

They had never really caused him any problems, he had mentioned them a few times as a child, off hand, believing that everyone could see them. His parents thought they were just strange, imaginary friends. He stopped mentioning them soon after. Why should they be of concern to him? They didn’t talk to him, didn’t goad him, didn’t whisper secrets or tell him to do bad things. He didn’t believe he was some sort of messiah, he didn’t think they represented something important or great, he didn’t even believe their presence predicted anything. They were just there.

As a teen, he had thought that perhaps they were just animals, creatures of some sort living symbiotically with humans, trading some kind of service back and forth, but he had yet to observe any direct interference. He had studied his own pair, watching to see if they followed, or predicted, patterns or events in his own life, but unless he stood around staring all day, they were currently failing miserably at prediction.

He was never concerned about them, so he didn’t mind talking about them. He didn’t make a big deal out of it, or even really bring it up that often, but occasionally it slipped out. He didn’t like to broach the subject itself, but once that was done, he could sit and discuss them for hours, theorizing over intent and purpose. It was all academic to him, he was aware he would probably never know. Perhaps there would be some afterlife where it would be revealed, for all he knew they could be like Santa’s elves, observing and reporting any sins people may commit. It was this willingness to talk about them that lead to here and now.

He picked up the pill bottle and scanned the label, making sure he had taken them correctly. He was supposed to eat before taking them, so he had a sandwich. He was careful to follow the instructions. He didn’t want to end up with stomach cramps or nausea, both of which were listed as side effects. He didn’t know if eating before would make a difference there, but he hoped it would. He put the bottle down again. Frank knew that if he looked for it, he could find the leaflet he had been given. He didn’t want to do that. It had listed side effects for the drugs. That was not a fun read. Sterility, baldness, diarrhoea. The list went on and on. Of course the more severe side effects were rare, but that didn’t make Frank feel any better, someone had to be the unlucky bastard to hit the jackpot. Still. It was what he agreed to do. He would finish the course of medication, then he would continue his life. Abby, his as of now ex-girlfriend, had insisted he go to a therapist. He had agreed, mostly to placate her. It wasn’t a big deal. He’d go, tell the truth and once the therapist saw it wasn’t causing him any psychological stress and he wasn’t under any influence, they’d send him on his merry way. Perhaps with some sort of advice to stay calm and go directly to them if the beings ever spoke to him.

The therapists office was nothing like he had expected. He thought of long, dark couches, warm wooden shelves, stacks of books, thick carpet, a large desk in one corner and a medium sized window to give plenty of light. The office was almost the complete opposite. Decorated in the new, modern style. There was plenty of white, the floors were some kind of linoleum, there was a short, white desk with two chairs, one either side and a small window. There were no books or shelves, no degrees on the walls. They were all outside, in the waiting room. Frank would have kept them in the office if it was his choice, they would have been safer than in the waiting room. He had sat in this shocking whiteness for ten minutes before the therapist arrived, young and slightly dishevelled. She shook his hand lightly and sat down across from him, then the fun started. He told her why he was there, holding back nothing. Explaining his fight with Abby and the spark of it. The therapist listened and nodded and at the end of it all, told him not to worry, she was here to help. Her idea of help was to write him a prescription for something that would make the “demons go away.” He tried to point out he never said they were demons, but she ploughed on regardless. She gave him a month’s prescription, and an appointment for three weeks away. Telling him, in what he suspected she thought was a reassuring tone, that they wouldn’t bother him by then.

He had been warned that sometimes, in situations like his, the demons might fight back, goad him, convince him not to take the medication, but he must not listen. Nothing like that had happened. They never reacted to his pill popping, they were as aloof as always. He had already decided to tell the therapist it worked, hopefully he’d be able to sever ties with her cleanly so she wouldn’t get him committed. That was his main concern at the moment. If she reacted this way, how might other mental health professionals react? He had thought she was jumping the gun and that she wasn’t a proper fit, but he decided against shopping around for a therapist. He wanted to get this dealt with. If it was a mental problem, well, it would be eradicated and if not, well, he’d just have to be more careful about telling anyone. He suspected he wouldn’t say anything to anyone for a good while.

At the meeting, he told her a partial version of the truth. They didn’t clamour, they didn’t cajole, they stayed silent as always and they seemed to fade away. She looked triumphant when he said this. As he left, he shook her hand and walked out with a repeat prescription. He had torn it up and threw it into the bin before he reached his car.

He agreed to do this for Abby’s sake, but now it seemed ridiculous. She had insisted on a break until his treatment started working. As they had spent time apart from one another his feelings began to fade, replaced instead by a kind of anger. She obviously thought he was dangerous and while he could logically understand her viewpoint, he felt extremely hurt. Nothing had changed, she just knew something new about him. As he sat into his car, he decided that Abby would stay and ex. It would be better for both of them. Even if they got back together he’d probably start to resent her role in this soon. Sure he went along with it, but she was the instigator and she had been so insistent. He checked his mirror, ignoring the beings sitting in the backseat, and indicated, once there was space, he reversed out of the spot and started the drive home.



About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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