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  • Writer's pictureVictor Haskins

Drained (creative writing piece)


by Victor Haskins

March 1, 2020

Deep breath in.

Slow breath out.

Eyelids squeeze together. Sealing shut so hard that a negative image of the veins found therein are visible for just a second or two after I open and relax my eyes.

The perpetual beating of my heart becomes more pronounced. Seizing the foreground of my attention as I actively increase my awareness of the power and presence of my own circulation amidst the silence.

The silence is not completely true. As I divert focus from my sense of sight, my hearing offers to register more information…

The whir of the fan cooling the spotlight affixed upon my easel.

Bass frequencies from barely-audible recorded music drifting through my ceiling. Faintly tickling my eardrums.

Doors in the hall outside my studio



opening, and closing once more.

Footsteps appearing,

and disappearing,

and reappearing:

long, heavy strides;

short, choppy shuffling;

ambiguous clomping on the thinly-carpeted, dirty blue floors.

Deep breath in.

Slow breath out.

Here again I find myself.


Although, alone is not completely true, either. To consider oneself alone, one must deny the participation of forces—both discrete and unseen—which surround and envelop.

I am alone with my thoughts. Alone with evidence of past experiments.

Alone with potential.

This is the scariest, heaviest aloneness. That which comprises the solitude which becomes the consequent manifestation of who you are. Or rather, of who you will become. The next level, so to speak.

Or not.

This particular state of aloneness is a coin. Upon one side, you see the vehicle—the vessel—the handmaiden of your growth.

On the reverse: the stale, missed opportunity to obtain a fresh perspective on life.

The denial of a chance to see the world through eyes anew.


The decline of invigoration.

Or perhaps, it is an opportunity which has only just slipped out of your grasp, akin to an eggshell fragment which defies being fished out of the gently curved extremities of a skillet as it is absorbed into the embryonic scramble, destined to return to ruin a fluffy mouthful of nourishment in your near future.

Maybe even to go so far as to cause you to choke—an artifact of time so small that it should, in theory, not be a problem…however, fragments of discarded containers of potential do not heed contingencies and conditionals, do they?

Deep breath in.

Slow breath out.


Whilst I have been communing with the stillness of my quarters by way of introspection, an algid visitor decides to join and accost me.

The cold climate creeps into my quarters and carefully drapes itself about me in the manner of an icy scarf or shawl, languidly spreading about the confines of my space. First alighting upon my bare arms. Then dancing up the short sleeves of my t-shirt, climbing the nape of my neck, slithering over my ears (careful to mind the legs of my eyeglasses), and finding a new home squatting in my nostrils.

The introduction of this harsh air fractures my focus like a fragile figurine.

My lungs extract wintry oxygen. My throat becomes drier with each inspiration.

Every breath progressively causes greater discomfort.

Shallow breath in.

Shallow breath in.

Quick breath out.

My tongue in my mouth feels like a sponge which has not met the acquaintance of dishwater in the better part of a week.

Shallow breath in.

Shallow breath in.

Quick breath out.

In an attempt to protect the sacred near-absence of sound in which I resided, I refrained from employing the space heater which sat in the corner. It displays its cool, unaffected demeanor. Waiting for the inevitable call to action. Patiently eyeing me; ready to receive its cordial invitation to the party.

It knew all too well that it was not a question of “if”, but “when”.

I onned the apparatus.

Shallow breath in.

Quick breath out.

Shallow breath in.

Quick breath out.

Alas, the temperature had dropped too far, too quickly. The heater struggled and sputtered, but no warmth could reach me from its corner of origin and rescue me from our obtuse arctic infiltrator.

The air was filled with frigidity and fraught with the fracas of an ineffective, antiquated machine.

Any space there had been for my thoughts—for me—for my potential—had been utterly and completely consumed.

I was forced to retire. In turn, I retired the heater and the spotlight.

Deep breath in.

Long, slow sigh.

The sound of my door opening. Closing.

The sound of my footsteps unhurriedly fading into the distance.

The sound of true silence taking my stead.

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