Story I wrote years ago in response to a writing prompt.
Jenny opened her eyes. The water was no longer warm and she could not recall how long she had been in the bath. I feel fuzzy. She tried to adjust her vision to the fluorescent lighting but it did not work. The surfaces of the white tiles were glistening under the lights, as if each one was a small screen tuned in to white noise. “I shouldn’t have taken those unmarked pills.” She said, her voice twisting in her ears as she spoke.
She swung her head around to take in the rest of her surroundings. Expecting to see nothing more than the colours in her bathroom bleeding together; the dorsal fin of a whale protruding from the bathroom floor was quite a shock. This is new. Jenny watched as the fin became submerged only to be replaced by a tail minutes later.
She turned away. It’s not real, it’s the drugs. She began to play with the bubbles that remained in the bath. Blowing them up into the air and watching them rise. She contemplated their surface, texture and movement. A graceful ascent, she concluded as the last bubble popped and disappeared. The whale was forgotten.
Next her attention turned to her fingertips. They were incredibly wrinkled and the wrinkles appeared to be moving. It was as if she was watching tiny worms dancing just beneath the surface of her skin. The enchantment with her fingers was broken as she experienced a surge of pure determination. I need a change of scenery.
She rose, readying herself to pull the plug when something caught the corner of her eye. She turned to see a spring of water spurting from the blowhole emerged in the center of the bathroom floor. She immediately crouched back down in the tub, as if to hide. “That damn whale.” By this point Jenny was scared, she had never experienced this kind of visual hallucination before, and while elements of her experience seemed recognizable nothing was familiar.
“If it wasn’t for that damned….dddaamneeed……d-a-m-n-e-d……DAAAMNED…..” Jenny enjoyed the sound of the word “damned” though she could not place why. It was something that required contemplation, and repeating the word out loud in as many different ways as she could think up. Before she could reach a conclusion she remembered the part about the whale.
For the next ten minutes she was in hysterics. I am in no fit state to deal with the situation at hand, she thought as the laughing sub-sided and with that in mind pulled the plug and stood up. She grabbed a towel from the rack and wrapped it around her body. It was warm and soft, comforting and Jenny began to feel safe again.
Her eyes began to scan the objects in the bathroom; toilet brush, razor, jeans, soap dish, toothbrush, toilet brush, razor, jeans, soap dish, toothbrush. Her eyes darted from object to object, again and again. Toilet brush, razor, jeans, soap dish, toothbrush, finally they rested on the top of the toilet seat … harpoon?
Her hands reached out to grab it, and to her surprise she felt the wooden handle as she turned it beneath her fingers. It is solid … therefore it is real … but where did it come from? It did not take long when contemplating the origins of the mysterious harpoon for Jenny to start questioning her own existence. I am solid. Or am I solid? Am I real? She stopped herself. There would be plenty of time for idle musings on the nature of reality after she had defeated the whale.
Holding the harpoon in position she waited for the whale to make another appearance. It felt like she was there for hours, though the water had not had time to fully drain from the bath. Every second made it harder to hold her concentration. There is just so much to … there is just so much.
As her thoughts began to trail off to all that was, is and will ever be, the whale’s head burst through the floor. Though her reaction was slower than she would have liked she managed to swing the harpoon and pierce the whale through the left eye. Blood pooled on the tiled floor as the whale’s body descended once more. Minutes after the incident she was still tense. She watched the swirling puddles of blood become indistinguishable from the tiles and dropped the harpoon, the sound of its impact with the floor echoed through her mind.
Holding her breath she finally stepped out of the tub relieved when her feet touched solid ground. She walked over to the door and steadied herself for a change in environment. All of a sudden Jenny was filled with a childlike excitement. She could not wait to see what wondrous new things awaited her in the hallway.