Excerpt for Comorbid Part 3 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Comorbid Chapter 3: Soul State

Natasha Weber

June waited in the parking lot at the time specified by Mercury. She sat down on the sidewalk surrounding the parking lot with a grateful sigh for the breeze in otherwise warm weather. June watched many friends pass by in front of her, wondering like many times before how she had ever made good friends before.

She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling tired.

When she opened them, she was staring at Mercury’s boots. She stood up and dusted her clothes off. She just looked at him silently for a moment. His mismatched eyes were still covered by those silly red shades.

Mercury was frowning silently. June assumed he was gauging what to say to such a pathetic, obsessive woman. June smiled a little. “Why cover your eyes?”

Mercury shrugged. “I don’t like them…”

“I like them.” June was disappointed.

Mercury didn’t understand her. He shook his head with a grin. “I know.”

“So… Do you have the gene?” June asked.

Mercury scratched his face a little awkwardly. “That’s right. Ninety percent.”

“But you’re fine right now…” As far as she could tell, he was normal and healthy.

He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “I’m fine, most of the time. I can’t spend much time with people, though. They make me angry.”

June tapped her foot with a frown, wondering how to convince him to go out with her. It was one of her only desires left. “I want to be your girlfriend.”

“I know you do.” Mercury was perturbed.

“I mean… You seem to be able to control it…” June looked at her feet awkwardly and let her arms dangle at her sides.

Mercury looked at her wrists and saw old wounds there. He sighed. June hid her wrists again quickly.

“Can I show you something, June? There’s a reason why I have control of this gene. I have complete control of my mind, even if I don’t have control of my body.” Mercury told her—his voice piercing her mind.

“What?” June was becoming frightened. He seemed to be muttering like a mad man.

“Don’t you think… Your mind is separate from reality?” Mercury grabbed June’s wrist. “Don’t you think your wrist is only real when you or I touch it?”

“Wha…?” June watched Mercury take off his red shades and she looked into his eyes. What he was saying started to make sense and she didn’t know why.

“Don’t you think my eyes are something out of this world? Don’t you think my eyes can perceive something beyond reality?” His eyes blazed into her soul, and her surroundings melted away around her.

June screamed and clung to Mercury as everything around her turned to black and the ground beneath her began to crumble. Mercury wasn’t scared at all. He looked around and watched as, instead of the parking lot, he was lingering in space, among stars and planets.

“I don’t understand! Tell me what’s happening!” June cried with tears in her eyes. “There’s nothing to stand on…”

“Yes there is. You just can’t see it—don’t let go just yet. You’ll die.” Mercury warned her as he felt her grip loosening.

June snapped angrily, “you brought me up here with a possibility of my dying?”

“I’m not going to let you die.” Mercury soothed her while stroking her hair comfortingly. “Don’t you think there’s more to humans than just genes and brains? Your mind, June… It’s free from the confines of your body. You can see the world however you like, once you figure out your mind is something different from reality. Something untouched by the ravages of reality.”

June screwed her eyes shut. She couldn’t seem to let go of reality. It seemed an impossibility in her mind to conjure something to sit on in thin air—but then she realized that she could just imagine she could sit on thin air.

With frightened tears in her eyes, she let go of Mercury and stepped on ground that was conjured by her own mind. She smiled a little and wiped her tear away. She sat down—resting for a moment—and took a deep breath. The planets were breathtaking, but they were something conjured by Mercury’s mind, and not her own.

Mercury sat down next to her.

“There’s more to us than genes?” June repeated thoughtfully.

“Your genes don’t affect you once you realize your mind is separate from them and you go to a place that only your mind con perceive.” Mercury told her.

“Is reality real at all, then? Are our minds the only real thing?” June thought the prospect was terrifying. Sometimes, she hated reality; sometimes she just wanted it to disappear so she could live at peace by herself with no one to disappoint. But, the prospect of her mind being the only real thing, and being completely isolated, was all the more terrifying.

“It’s real… It’s something all minds can perceive, so it has to be…” Mercury sat cross-legged and leaned forwards on his elbows.

What he was saying

“Why go back at all? It’s pretty up here.” June queried, leaning on Mercury’s shoulder.

Mercury looked a little lovesick as he let her lean on his shoulder for a moment. He kept his hands to himself, and refused to touch her. He nevertheless couldn’t stop his hands from trembling when he thought about touching her. “We have to go back eventually. This place is hard for my mind to conceive, and it can’t imagine it forever.”

“I thought this was real as well?”

“It is when I can imagine it...” Mercury looked down sadly. “I can’t keep that gene at bay forever. I have to come back to the reality everyone acknowledges eventually. And that reality includes that gene.” Mercury bit down on his emotions as he scrunched his eyes closed.

June’s hopes were dashed. The ray of hope presented to her by him was snatched away in an instant. She covered her eyes miserably and tried not to cry. “I thought you could save me... I thought you could teach me how to keep this disorder at bay.”

“I’m sorry… Maybe, if we keep coming back to these states inside our souls we can keep ourselves safe from those genes.” Mercury murmured with a shrug.

“How long can we stay here?” June asked.

“A few more minutes…” Mercury pulled his knees up to his chest and let his arms dangle at his sides.

June realized this was her chance to make him love her.

She suddenly couldn’t remember how to make a man love her—but then she realized she only knew how to make a man make love to her. She had confused them in her mind. Maybe one could lead to the other.

She sat in front of him and put her hands on his shoulders. He avoided her longing gaze. June gently pushed him down and kissed him.

Mercury’s hands lingered near her hips, trembling. He pushed her off of him and backed away from her a little. She looked offended. She reached out for him, and he grabbed her wrist and examined it. “I told you to value your body… I don’t know you and you’re throwing yourself at me. You don’t have to give into those parts of yourself here.”

She didn’t know how he could resist her. She became very angry when she realized he probably thought very little of her. He probably thought she had slept with dozens of men, and he was disgusted by it.

June stood up angrily. “You think I’m a cheap slut? What makes you think I do this with every man? What makes you think I don’t like giving into those parts of myself now and again? I’m a human—I have human desires like anyone else! What are you? Some kind of puritan who has no desire to be touched or made love to? Some kind of---kind of piece of stone who has no need for such pleasure?”

Mercury made a face. “You think it’s easy for me to keep my hands off of women? I could go crazy just thinking about them. But I don’t want to get close to someone—to make love to them—if I end up hurting them. You’re the only girl I ever kissed.”

The fact that he had only kissed her made her feel special. It made her all the more obsessed with him. “I’m the only girl…? Why do you worry about hurting me?”

“Because I think about hurting others all the time. There are times when I feel nothing at all, and I just… I just want to hurt someone so I can feel something.”

June was losing him. She knew he was going to suggest they never see one another ever again. She was scared of him, but she wanted him at the same time. She couldn’t lose him again.

She sat down in front of him and put a hand on his cheek. “Don’t tell me to go. I’ve been hurt by men before. I’m sure you can’t hurt me anymore than any of them…”

“June…” Mercury let her kiss his neck for a moment and let his imagination run wild for a moment if he dared allow her to continue. “June, you’re fucked in the head. You think it’s okay for any man to just have his way with you and then let him leave you broken and alone? You would honestly be okay if I did that? I shouldn’t care about your body more than you do!”

June’s eyes were red, but she didn’t cry. She had been crying too much lately. “I know I’m fucked in the head! I know no one will ever find any value in me other than brief pleasure! But… I saw something when I looked into your eyes. You knew who I was, didn’t you? You knew I was a spoiled rich girl who would end up broken and alone! You knew, didn’t you? You knew I would end up like this! I see my salvation in your eyes! You can help me, can’t you?”

June threw herself to the ground and bit back tears, begging him for help. “I can’t live one more day with these thoughts. You have to show me how you changed my soul to allow me to see this!”

Mercury hauled her up. Her green eyes were looking into his searchingly. Her cheeks were stained with dirt; her mind had conjured it. There was no dirt in this place Mercury’s mind had imagined.

Mercury breathed harshly as she stared at him unblinkingly. He dragged his thumbs across her dirty cheeks. He thought she was very pretty. He always had. He loved her curly hair, he loved her dark skin tone, and he loved how tiny she was. He thought she was dirty all this time. Looks, he had thought beofre, were the only thing he liked about her.

Mercury knew very little about borderlines—he just knew they were promiscuous and had few lasting relationships, and he found that to be repulsive—but right now, listening to her talk and looking into her eyes, he understood her better. This was a hurt and broken woman, just like he was a hurt and broken man. He had been foolish and stupid; of course he should have known there was more to her than genes. His eyes narrowed and he looked at her passionately. “We have to go back now…”

“Do you want to go on a date with me?” June asked again like she had as a teenager.

Mercury chuckled like he did years ago. “God I want to…”

In a moment, the space in which they stood together melted away beneath their feet. June had the sensation of falling, and then she landed back on earth, in the parking lot. Up in space she felt light and free—she felt like there were infinite opportunities for whatever she desired. Now, back on earth, she felt confined—she felt uneasy—like there was no escape from her suffocating issues.

Mercury appeared by her side.

June stared ahead at a tree planted near the parking lot. “You really don’t want to see me again?”

Mercury looked away from her. “I’m not capable of loving you.”

June grinned at him pleadingly. “Please don’t go…”

Mercury put his shades back on with a smile of his own. He tilted her chin up and said, “take care of that body this time.”

Mercury walked off into the parking lot, and she watched him recede into the distance.

June was left alone again. She was happy and sad at the same time. So happy to see him again, but immeasurably sad to see him go. He was the only one who could make her feel loved—make her feel awake.


June did okay in her math class. She slid by with Cs, and for the most part kept to herself. She wondered how she had ever done well in high school.

June’s life was very simple; school, home, and model every now and again. She did little else. She worked hard not to take any substances—she avoided any parties on campus like the plague—and kept away from anyone who might be taking substances. It wasn’t hard.

June wanted to make friends still, but was too afraid to. She truly didn’t know how to make friends without having some kind of drug in her system.

At home, she did little other than draw. She drew the same thing over and over again: Mercury.

Whenever June left the house, she was always treated to her mother on the couch—looking despondent and depressed—eventually, June finally said to father, “we need to get her some help, Dad…”

Father glanced at mother. He looked very relieved that his daughter was now well enough to come to his aid considering mother. “I know… She doesn’t want to see a therapist though. She doesn’t want to acknowledge anything is wrong at all.”

“She’s just wasting away; she won’t eat at all…” June said worriedly. “Let’s try to convince her together.”

June and father approached mother on the couch. “Mom, I want you to get help… I really… I really miss when we used to go out together. I miss when you doted on me. I miss shopping together and seeing movies and studying together. I want that mother back.”

Father was biting back tears. “I’m sorry I said those things to you… We both want you back. You do plenty. You did more for this family than I ever did.”

Mother wasn’t looking at them. She was looking at the TV with a flat expression. Once she let what they said sink in, tears slowly sprang to her eyes. She looked at her child and her husband and for the first time in a long time. But, she focused on her daughter especially and she reached out and pulled June close. “June…”

June closed her eyes and felt warm in her mother’s embrace. She had lost her mother at fifteen, and June’s life had been a disaster since then. Now, in her mother’s arms, she felt loved again. No one had loved June, other than her busy father, since high school. There were only boys who pretended to love her.

It took her so long to be able to approach her mother about getting help, and she had only felt brave enough because of her encounter with Mercury.

Take care of that body. His voice seemed to constantly echo in her mind.


Her mother was seeing a therapist in a week, and she was put on a medication that would help her depression. With her mother doing better, June was also doing better.

For awhile, after she had seen Mercury again, her life seemed blessed. Her mother was getting better in therapy, and June felt well enough to get a part time job stocking shelves at the marketplace. But, June still couldn’t make any real friends.

None of the girls liked her at work. Somehow, like all other women, they could somehow smell how dirty she was.

“June, you’re spending all your time in your room. You should go out with your friends.” Her mother, now well enough to look after her daughter’s well-being said worriedly.

June was sitting on her bed, ruminating. She glanced at mother but said nothing. She was too embarrassed to tell mother that she had no friends. “Okay, Mom…”


June was allowed some amount of freedom again now that she wasn’t making such poor decisions—that included freedom to drive wherever she wanted during the day. June drove to school and got some studying done in the café. She rubbed her eyes as she looked at her laptop screen. She was completely exhausted.

June closed her laptop for a moment and breathed a deep sigh. She was doing very well lately, and she was unbelievably happy now that her mother was well again, but… Her life felt very empty when Mercury wasn’t in it. June still had those irrational longings for trouble. She still wanted to stick a needle in her veins, she wanted to drink alcohol until she blacked out, and she constantly thought about boys. It was all because no matter what, June just felt empty. She found the world to be horribly depressing.

Even though Mercury said he would never see her again, that didn’t stop June from following him around whenever she happened to see him at school. She wanted to make sure he wasn’t dating anyone else.

Her behavior was creepy and unacceptable, she knew, but he haunted her thoughts every moment of every day.

June had tried many times before to tap into her soul state—to separate her mind from her body—but it was no good.

June looked around at everyone sitting near her, but never across from her. She felt very alone again.

“June? Is that you?” June’s old highschool friend, Trisha had a plastic cup of coffee in hand and she sat across from June without her permission.

June stared at her old friend in terror. Old thoughts penetrated June’s mind. She was sweating and her hands were trembling. June forced a trembling smile, “i-it’s me…”

“Is something wrong?” Trisha asked. “You don’t look so good.”

June shook her head. She wouldn’t look her old friend in the eye. She was too scared to.

Trisha took a sip of her coffee. “What’s your major?”

June felt an old rage at her friend overcoming the fear. She nonetheless answered her friend amiably enough, “I don’t know yet.”

There was silence, and then, “June… I hope you can forgive me for before. It’s just that, if I sided with you, I would have been taken down with you…”

Tears fell from June’s eyes, and she sniffled miserably. “You abandoned me. I had to listen to you call me a slut to other girls behind my back. I had to watch you pretend like we were never friends. I had to feel the scorn in your eyes when you would walk down the hall with some other girl and you’d both look down your noses at me. You threw away our friendship like it was nothing.”

“I know—and I’m sorry—it’s just, June… You were sleeping around like crazy. You were—”

June took her laptop with tears stinging her eyes and she stood up, getting ready to leave.

She couldn’t see through her own tears for a moment and she bumped into someone on her way out. Her glasses were knocked off.

The man she bumped into crouched and picked up her glasses. He placed them back on her nose kindly. “Are you alright?”

“I’m okay, don’t worry about me…” June said nervously, she tried to brush past him, but was stopped by an invitation.

“Hang on,” the man said. “Can I get you something to eat?”

June thought about it very intently. He was easy on the eyes like most of her dates were. June knew she wasn’t ready to be in a relationship with anyone. But she found him to be comforting like she did most men. “That’d be nice.”

June knuckled her tears away.

The man, whose name she found out was Kyle, bought them both glazed donuts from the café. Trisha had left the café, much to June’s relief, and she ate her donut with a shy smile at Kyle.

He asked, “why were you crying?”

June laughed ashamedly. “I’m just kind of stressed, I guess…”

Kyle shook his head. “Those weren’t stressed tears. Those were much worse tears. Those were ‘my boyfriend broke up with me’, tears.”

June giggled a little, and then she frowned. “I don’t know… It’s lonely here. I don’t have any friends. I haven’t had any friends for a long time.”

Kyle was shocked at how open she was being. “I’m sorry. I’ll be your friend.”

“Really…?” June said happily, wiping away tears of joy.

“Sure. I’d love to be your friend.”

June was very grateful, and she sniffled audibly.


Kyle quickly became her best friend. And, June didn’t know why, but Trisha was pretty much begging to be her friend again whenever June happened to bump into her.

“June, I really am sorry… Let me make it up to you.” Trisha would say.

June would walk away without a word to her former friend.

But Kyle, who noticed June actively ignoring an old friend, and knew she had no others, suggested to June, “I don’t know what she’s done to you June, but having a good friend might do you good.”

June, who was at a good point in her life, listened to his advice warily. She knew the dangers of having a friend like Trisha, but she felt like it was her salvation.

She let Trisha be her friend again.

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