Chapter 3:

I can't hear you. [Do-Over]

Light of my darkest eve

I dry swallow the tablets without so much as opening my eyes. The noise in my skull is deafening, so much so that I can’t even think straight. At first they were saying things I could understand. Insults and taunts, any cruel thing you could think of. But before long it was so loud they became completely incoherent. It feels like something is trying to drill it’s way through my head and get out, and the noise is only doing work to damage the integrity of my skull.

My heart beats a million miles per minute, and I curl up in the foetal position as I clamp my ears and desperately try to drown out the noise hammering my skull.

“I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.”

I continue muttering those words to myself for god knows how long, but eventually the medication starts to take effect and the sound slowly starts to lower in volume, until eventually my mind regains the relative quiet of being filled with only my own voice. I lay flat out on my bed and look at the clock. 6:27am. Far earlier than I was hoping to wake up, but considering the pounding in my chest I doubt I’ll get back to sleep now.

For a while I simply lay there, not an ounce of volition to do anything at all. It takes almost half an hour for me to convince myself to actually move, at which point I sluggishly drag myself out of bed and take my second set of medication, dry swallowing again. Not because of urgency, but simply because I would have to walk across the hall to the communal kitchen to get water, and that simply sounds like too much for me right now.

Capitalising on the opportunity presented by not being laid down, I throw open the suitcase in corner of the room and change into the first set of clothes I see. A shabby black tracksuit. Classy.

The floor is covered in boxes filled with my belongings, but those can be unpacked another day. For now I simply don’t have the energy.

I flop back down onto the bed and stare at the clock. First lecture is at 9am, and it’s the next building over, so I have no need to leave until 8:45 at the earliest. So I simply watch the minutes tick by.




My throat feels dry, but I still don’t have the energy to get up and get a drink


I wish I had gone back to sleep


Maybe I still ca-


…who in god’s name is slamming on my dear at 8 o’clock in the damn morning


“Yo, Taro bro, get up man.”

Is that… that Hanji girl from yesterday? The hell does she want?


Deciding that enduring the irritation of the slams on my door is a worse fate than having to get up, I drag myself out of bed for a second time and open the door, my lack of patience likely etched upon my face.

“There you are, man, jeez. Takes you a while to open the door, dunnit?”

“Why are you here?”

She looks far too chipper for 8AM. Can’t stand morning people.

“You don’t know how to get around the lecture building ‘n shit, right?”

“, I suppose not.”

“Sick, then I’m taking you on a tour.”

She doesn’t exactly leave room for argument as she says this, simply asserting it as fact. Not that I have the energy to argue right now anyway.

“...right. Okay. Thanks.”

“No problem, now c’mon, get your shoes on and let’s get going.”

She’s far too excited about this. Who gets this happy about showing a new kid around their school? Especially a college student. It makes no sense. But I suppose some help finding my new lecture rooms would be nice, so I shouldn’t complain.

Still as sluggish as… a slug, I guess, I throw on my ratty old pair of trainers and join Hanji in the hallway. Our moods could not be more contrasted from one another. I barely have the energy to walk, and despite the large dose of antidepressants it’s hard to say I feel anything at all. Hanji, however, has a face like a child on christmas eve.

Considering the sort of place this is, she must have some… abnormality. God, there’s no good way to say that, is there? But whatever it is, it seems like it makes her about as socially aware as a man who shows up to an AA meeting with a fifth of vodka. Of course, I’m not going to ask what it is. I may have little filter when I’m tired, but even I have the sensitivity not to interrogate someone I just met about their mental health.

“Paroxetine and ke… kwe… quetiapine? So antidepressants and antipsychotics?”

Upon hearing Hanji’s voice, I realise she’s dropped a couple steps back, and that my pocket feels significantly lighter. In her hands are two small boxes, which I recognise as the ones I keep my medication in.

“What are yo-”

“So that makes you, what, schizophrenic, I guess?” She asks, handing the boxes back to me

…I guess those sensitivities don’t exist for everyone. Just what is up with this girl.

“...technically I was diagnosed with schizophreniform. The doctors thought my ‘delusions’ went away after a few months.”

“Did they?”

“No, I faked it. What they consider ‘delusions’ are still there now.”

I don’t consider them delusions though. They’re shadows of my past, as real to me as a memory.

“Hmm… so if they think you’re all better, why you still on meds?”

“PTSD. Same medication.”

Why am I answering this girl’s questions? I had wanted to keep all of this under wraps. People don't react well to that "schizo-" prefix, even in environments like this. But for some reason the way she looks at me when she asks is disarming, and it makes me slip up. Like I can trust her. Even though she just pickpocketed my medication from me.

“Ahhh, lucky. Means you don’t have to get used to new meds and shit.”

“I… guess so, yeah.”

Lucky? How can she consider anyone who’s taking antipsychotics to be ‘lucky?’ Does she have a screw loose? Or, wait, is that an offensive question to ask in a place like this? I mean, I suppose it’s always an offensive question to ask, but particularly here.

“Aintcha gonna ask me back?”


“About my disorder, stupid. I know yours, only fair, innit?”

“Ah- right, I suppose.”

I mean, this is a transaction I’ve been forced into. She didn’t exactly give me a choice.

“Well, my friend, I am pleased to announce that I have recently received my brand new diagnosis. I have officially been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.”

She seems… oddly excited to talk about this? Even disregarding the “pleased to announce,” her tone is one so cavalier and upbeat you’d think she’s declaring herself the winner of a tournament or something.

“Antisocial per- does that me-”

“I’m what you’d probably call a sociopath. Makes me sound a little ruthless but it’s got a nice ring to it.”

Suddenly things click into place. The carefree attitude, the invasion of privacy, the disarming charm… I’m surprised I didn’t piece it together sooner.

Guess I need to keep my guard up with this girl. I don’t want to assume she’s dangerous, but I certainly can’t assume she’s trustworthy. She’s already manipulated me into spilling my guts about my condition, who knows what she’ll try next?

“I got in a bunch of fights back in secondary school, so they called me crazy and dumped my ass in here. Been here since I was 14.”

“They take students that young?”

“Sixth form, innit? Secondary school and college age. Don’t piss off any of the little shits in the secondary school part though, those tiny first hurt more. Pressure ‘n shit.”

She continues marching on without a care in the world, as if that whole conversation didn’t just happen. It’s impossible to keep up with both her physical pace and the pace of her conversations. I get the feeling this girl is gonna be a real pain in the arse.

“Dropped in with the psycho? How fitting.”

“Sounds like she’s just as violent as you, Taro boy.”

“I hope she hurts him.”

“I hope she hurts me.”

Great. Just what I needed. You cunts are back. And horny, apparently. Never thought I’d miss the constant demands to kill myself.

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