Coming of Age Teens & Young Adult

This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

Vibrating sounds of static filled the air like angry loud bees. Distorted laughing and giggling went in and out with the static. The angry buzzing wouldn’t stop. The soft distant giggles grew louder then went quiet. Loud then quiet, as if someone was turning the volume on a radio up and down. I could smell pungent chocolate vomit underneath my face. I could feel it sticking to the corners of my mouth. The sour and rancid odor mixed with the smell of stale, vacuum burnt lint filled my nose. I could feel the itchy carpet squirming around my face like worms trying to dig holes. 

The static, buzzing, and laughing electrified my bones making them rumble and shake. Now there’s fanfare music dancing in my head. That same laughter blended in with the music and static.  Then I heard a distorted woman counting down, “ten, nine, eight, seven…” The happy countdown sent panic to my brain. My body felt like it was on fire, shaking uncontrollably from the burning. Is this the countdown to hell? Are those demons laughing? These are worms I’m laying on! Worms!

“Happy New Year!” 

I could hear fireworks or bombs, but the explosions erupted in my body and more vomit poured out of my mouth. Cheers, instruments, and more laughing circled around me.  My bones still electrified, I lost all control and shook on the worms holding me down, it felt like an earthquake of dread erupting inside of me. 

Far away, I could faintly hear a woman’s giggling voice, “Hey! Look at Sue! She's shaking!” 

“She’s fine! She just took too much.” A man’s voice said.  

“Nah bruh, look at her! She’s shaking like a leaf! What did she take?” Someone else said. 

“I told her not to eat that shroom bar after taking those shots.” A demon’s voice.

“She already smoked like four blunts…” Their voices went in and out with the cheery music.

“Careful! She puked…”

“Ewww! Come on!!! I’m trying to dance with…”

Voices and music mashed together, I didn’t know if it was real or if it was in my head. My muscles felt like they were going to burst from the uncontrollable shaking. My teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. The wormy gray carpet slithered in my hands as I tried to grip it, slipping through my fingers. My heart sounded like a drum about to explode. 

Fear and doom filled my veins, the air swirling around me was suffocating me. I felt hot then cold, then hot again. I slowly lifted my heavy head, all my eyes could see were dizzy people spinning around in circles. Their eyes looked like black holes. They weren’t people, they were demons watching me fray like a fish in a puke puddle. 

Then, out of nowhere, a loud child-like voice screamed, “STOP!” 

The demand settled down my bones. I stopped shaking, but my heart kept pounding and the fear kept growing. My eyelids started fluttering, everything around me was moving like a carousel with lights flickering and blurring together. A TV screen was blaring white light, casting a shadow of two people dancing. 

“GET UP!” The voice shouted. Where is she?  She sounded like an angry little girl. Are there children here? Or is it all in my brain?

God, I’m so sorry, I don’t want to die, I pleaded in my head, I promise I’ll stop doing this shit…please make this end…I want this to end…

“GET UP!” The child-like voice screamed again. This time my bones obeyed, first getting myself in a push-up, then on all fours like a dog. My head hung low, I felt like throwing up again. My eyes stared down at the brown face imprint of puke smothered in the carpet. Pieces of the carpet were ripped up. Carpet. Not worms. Carpet. Not worms.  

“GO! GO! GO!” The voice screamed. To my astonishment I started standing up. I was on my feet but my body swayed in the spinning world around me. I reached my arms out and felt the prickly white wall. I leaned against it and used the wall to guide me to the kitchen. I made it and lunged myself to the sink. I puked up more chunks of chocolate and dark liquid. I turned on the faucet and watched the vomit drain down in the sink.  I put my head under the faucet, the ice cold water soaked my hair, face, and ran down my neck, washing away the vomit glued to me. 

“I promise…” I muttered, “I promise…”  Whispering to myself over and over again until my legs gave out and I sank to the floor. All the sounds and spinning disappeared as I passed out.

I woke up hours later laying on the kitchen floor. Sunlight lit up the room.  My face was laying in a small puddle of water and my hair was wet. I sat up, my head was pounding, but the world was staying still. I got up on my feet just as Mitch walked in. 

“Sue-Sue you were fucked up last night,” he laughed. There was a blunt burning in his hand, the smell of weed filled the air.

For the first time ever, the smell caused panic instead of excitement. Mitch tried passing me the blunt, I shook my head. 

“Where were you last night? I thought I was dying,” I said 

Mitch rolled his eyes, “You were fine, I told you not to eat that shroom bar after those shots. Plus we smoked those blunts, you had too much,” 

“Did I overdose?”

Mitch started laughing, “You can’t overdose on this shit. It's shrooms and weed. Not fucking heroin. You had a bad trip, that’s all, Sue.” He tried passing the blunt to me again. I took it and breathed in the smoke flying off the blunt, fear filled my lungs. Even if Mitch was right…I never felt more close to death than I did last night. 

“Put it down,” A child-like voice in the back of my head said. It was the voice from last night. It sounded like me, but younger. A voice I have been ignoring for over a decade. 

I handed the blunt back to Mitch.

“I want to go home,” I told him. I started walking towards my shoes. They were laying under the dining table, next to a broken bottle of Jack Daniels. I grabbed my coat that hung on the back of a chair. 

“Not until you clean up the mess you made in the living room. I’m not cleaning that shit up.” He replied back. 

“I am cleaning up my mess,” I quietly muttered to myself while putting my shoes and coat on. Then I walked out the kitchen, passed the living room, and went towards the front door, “You can clean up the vomit, it’s the least you can do!” I yelled back at him. 


I ignored him, opened the front door and walked out into the cold January air. 

October 07, 2023 01:56

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Dev Solovey
04:26 Oct 12, 2023

I loved this submission so much! I'll admit I was directed here by Reedsy to give critique as a writer, so I'm going to do some constructive critique where I'll summarize what works and then tell you some opportunities for improvement. Strengths: The amount of discomfort and pathos for Sue is strong from the beginning. The description of her experience is visceral and gross and uncomfortable, which is exactly what it needs to be for this subject matter. You do a great job of engaging the senses in a way that evokes the right amount of terr...


Carlie Beth
05:10 Oct 12, 2023

Thank you so much for your feedback! Thank you for pointing out the areas I need to improve on. It’s very helpful. I went back and reread my story and 100% agree with you. It’s nice having another set of eyes point out something I didn’t realize/think about. I really appreciate the time you spent reading and editing some areas, it does mean a lot. Thank you for your kind words, you are truly awesome. I can’t thank you enough ❤️


Dev Solovey
16:15 Oct 12, 2023

Of course, I'm happy to help!


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