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Withdrawal...Possibly...

Deranged and stumbling, the young man drags himself through the dank city streets. Bloodshot eyes and shaking hands prove to the civilians around him that he either has drained one too many shot glasses or hasn’t had enough. The hidden scanner clicks and whirs, checking for any stolen items as he trips through the sliding glass doors and into a supermarket. Mothers with small children give wide berth to this strange man and teenagers give him sidelong glances; filing this for idle conversation on Monday. Now he’s holding his stomach, his face contorted in excruciating pain. Gasping he turns lazily right down aisle thirteen, knocking a few bottles of soda off their shelves and spinning onto the floor. A battle of time ensues between whether the bottles will explode or be restocked for some unsuspecting party thrower to buy. The latter option is obliterated as the caps pop off and hit cases of beer and bags of chips; longing to stop their flight. Soda rains up, splattering the ceiling with dark liquid. The man is now audibly gasping now, his hand clenching his stomach as if to tear it from his torso.

He gasps once more then collapses in the river of soda slowly making its way to the freezer section. The silence grows more deafening then before some college students buying Sam Adams for their tailgate party scream and point directly at the man as if their screaming wasn’t enough. His body, lifeless or not no one is sure, dragged and heaved onto a hospital bed his ratty shirt still dripping with lukewarm Big K and Sierra Mist. Rolled away, all stare at this grisly display, the lessons from health ring true about the horror of drugs and alcohol. Through the parking lot and across sidewalks until he reaches the ambulance; its black gaping mouth waiting its next victim. The block of ice is still frozen over the aisle until some high school student with his gauged ears dangling lazily brings a mop in and soaks up the audience.

Weeks later he awakes staring at a water stained ceiling and the overwhelming scent of disinfectant. He believes he’s in a hospital, but no hospital would let you walk around freely without and IV deep in your vein after an incident like that. Vision still muddled from his supermarket show, he stands. He groans as thick needled of pain pierce his skull and almost lays back down until he looks to his left. Not five feet away from him is a mahogany bookshelf filled with old leather spins. Giggling erratically he runs after the bookshelf that appears to withdraw from the psychotic man. Tearing books from their beds he read each title and throws them back behind him, his hope diminishing with each title. In a matter of mere minutes the bookshelf is naked and he is weeping. Two big men unlock the door and hoist him up by the arms, mumbling something about how all they needed was one more. They drag him through the halls. He looks up once more and spots another bookshelf, which he scowls at until he reads the dusty spin right smack in the middle. With impossible strength, he tears away from the men and lunges toward the bookshelf, grabbing the one he’s been ruthlessly searching years for. He presses it to his chest, not letting any of the title show. He snarls and snaps viciously at them whenever they get closer then arms length to him. He opens the book, briefly spans the context, and starts screaming, “Yes! I’ve found it, I’ve found it1” Right after he falls forward and blood slowly trickles from the corners of his mouth.

Death by heart attack. Heart attack by God knows what. The funeral is held a few weeks later and only the institution’s staff attends. One of the men was able to scan through the books first pages before it was recovered for evidence. It read “1 in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and so on until God rested on the seventh day. His brain starts churning until he comes to the preposterous, but inexpiable, conclusion the man was suffering from withdrawal from God. The thought is quickly shredded and his cheeks turn red. Come on, one side says, he was an alcohol of course. But, the other side argues, they didn’t find any level of drugs or alcohol in his system, not even any organ damage to prove he was a past addict. The man bits his lip, not believing the truth. Withdrawal from God. No, the first voice says strictly, that is impossible. There is no God. He was simply a crazy man, simply a…





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