Drew was frustrated. He felt like the entirety of his head was condensing into a rain cloud that was going to pour over the dining table. “Hey, remember Silent Hill 4?” he said through gritted teeth.


“What was with that game? The guy just wakes up, crawls into a hole in his wall, then wakes up again, and so on and so forth.”

They lifted the spoon. A translucent thread of something-or-other clung to it. “I guess I can see what you’re getting at.” They ran their hand through their bangs. “Wasn’t it odd that they called it Silent Hill 4? It implies the presence of a 1, 2, and 3. But they started with 4.”

“That’s exactly what I mean! It’s not a full story. Nothing in the world feels like a full story. Nothing sees itself to completion, it’s just… permanently suspended.”

“I suppose.”

“Is all of this too meta?” he asked.


“Self-referential. Is all of this just too, what’s the word…”

“Does it matter, if it gets you to actually progress?” He watched their hand as they tucked a strand of hair behind their ear.

The roar of the dinner crowd was suddenly deafening. He could see all of the pores on the back of his hand; all the holes he had torn and chewed into his cuticles; all the crumbs he had pulled off of his food.

“The word I was looking for was masturbatory,” he said, though he could no longer hear his own voice.

Was he having a panic attack now? Did it even matter? And why was he constantly asking himself questions?

They reached out and stroked the back of his hand reassuringly. His skin exploded in pain and agony. Any kind of comfort this gesture was meant to bring him was canceled out by his body’s aversion to any kind of physical contact. He felt like retching.