The office cubicle made her heart hurt. The closed in walls, the empty white paint, shadowed in cheap and fluorescent hues. Nine to five never seemed as pitiful as it did today, sitting, staring, dying.
The doctors had said she had a few months left. She rarely put stock into what they said. Her whole life the doctors had been saying she’d inevitably die; it’s the curse of a genetic anomaly. And, year after year, she survived. She didn’t worry, she didn’t pray, she just was, and she continued to exist.
Even as a young child, her parents had agreed to medical testing to understand her condition. It would help the next child diagnosed similarly, they said. Sleep deprivation and bodily scarring couldn’t even prove them right (or wrong as the case might be) since the end result was inconclusive.
They were the worried ones, they were the ones praying, and they were the ones losing sleep over her unavoidable demise. Her case was one for the books, one for the medical journals and science conventions.
Usually, none of this bothered her, but today she turned 30, and she’d had enough of all this shit. The confining walls, the unnatural light, and all the stupid people telling her she had some stupid disease that would confine and control her yet further. After all, what was life if not the very act of living, and she couldn’t very well do that here.
She left everything on her desk. She didn’t take her purse, she didn’t even take her car keys. She just left. She’d had enough of this inane and controlled society where everyone pretended they knew what was best, but where no one really had a clue any more than the next person.
When questioned by the police later that day, no one could remember seeing her in the office. “She sort of just comes and goes,” someone said. Another, “she does her work and goes home; doesn’t bother anyone much.”
Statements were taken, her computer was shut down, and the office doors were locked for the night. Of course there were whispers, “She was crazy,” and, “Well, didn’t you know she was sick?”
During the following weeks, heads would pop up whenever a courier arrived or an unfamiliar woman walked down the hallway. Just in case. But, of course it wouldn’t be her. She was long gone-never coming back. But people don’t like mystery. Not really. The unease of it. Not being able to make the pieces fit tastes too metallic in the mouth-like blood, like a wound that won’t heal.
If she could lose control like that, what was stopping them from unraveling, too? That’s the root of the fear, the root of the mystery. The feel of teeth on flesh, biting, until the slow trickle starts. Because, at that point, isn’t it already too late?