was coming down from a week-long alcohol binge at a cabin I was living in down at the beach. I’d gone through this before, and after three days of not using I thought I was pretty much over the hump; no more vomiting, shaking, cold spells, flop sweats or hot flashes. My equilibrium seemed to be restored and I could make it to the refrigerator and back without falling over. I’d taken a handful of Valerian root tablets to help me sleep, and was lying under a quilt listening to a winter storm carry on outside.I don’t know how long I lay there, or what time it was when I became aware that there were hillbillies in my bathroom. I heard their voices first; a man and a woman talking in thick hick accents.The bathroom door was door was parallel to the bed on my right side; it was open wide and light was coming out. I was flat on my back, and turned my head slightly so I could see into the bathroom. I saw a woman in baggy clothes sitting on the toilet. She had stringy brown hair and was talking to a big man with long hair and a beard. This man had a roll of duct tape, and was doing something with it to a kid who I couldn’t get a good look at. He was partially hidden in a sort of alcove that was to the left of the doorway.My heart sped up. I was terrified and hoped they thought I was asleep. That they’d leave me alone. I kept my eyes closed, afraid I’d catch their eye. I don’t know how long I lay like this, but it seemed like forever.At one point I realized that the man had a gun, I heard him say, “Lets kill ‘em both”, and knew he meant me. In an instant I was out of bed, and out the front door. It was dark and the wind was blasting in off the bay. My feet were bare and I was wearing pajamas. The driveway was thick with ice and crusted snow. It was so slippery I couldn’t stay upright, and started crawling towards my nearest neighbor. His cabin was only about fifty feet away, but it seemed to take forever, the whole time I thought the guy was right behind me. I’d never met my neighbor; I knew that he was a maritime academy student. He was a regular guy. I doubted that he’d ever been confronted with the kind of freakshow I was presenting him with, but he handled it well. I was sprawled out on his porch, banging on the bottom of his door, my voice was almost gone but I managed to get across that someone was being killed, and please call 911. He ran inside grabbed a coat and let me into his truck. He wouldn’t let me in his cabin cause he didn’t know me.I sat in the truck shaking from fear and cold. Repeating pleasepleaseplease over and over to myself. I was sure the hillbilly would appear any minute. Three cop cars pulled into the driveway, lights flashing. In the instant they appeared I knew that no one was in my house, I had imagined the whole thing, and that had to mean I was insane, and that was far worse. A couple of the cops ran into the cabin, my landlord had come out of the main house and he and my neighbor were talking to the others. A lady cop came over and and helped me into the back of one of the cruisers. I was still shaking and she turned the heat up.The cops came back from the cabin and told me it was empty. I only wanted to go back and lie down, but they were adamant that I go to the hospital. Cause I was bleeding they said. I hadn’t realized that my hands and feet were cut up from the ice, and covered with blood.These cops were nice, and they hung out at the hospital as long as they could, when they left, they told me to call for a ride home. I was glad for that, not really up for explaining any of this to friends or family.At the hospital they took some blood, and I talked to a psychiatrist for about twenty minutes. She told me that I wasn’t crazy, I was detoxing, complicated by lack of sleep, and the Valerian root, that apparently can bring on psychotic episodes.I can’t say this knowledge made me happy, but I felt some relief that I didn’t have to continue life with the extra baggage of being nuts.
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