... Oh goody, I'm excited, there it is...that shadow... dark, still and yet... so...human-looking...
I say I'm excited, but the truth is I'm terrified...as always when I see that darkness in the corner. That blackness that commands me to look at it eventhough I try my damndest to look away. I find myself holding my breath in an attempt to not let it hear me. Or, in the vain hope that it hasn't seen me.
You see, for a number of months I've been aware of that... anomoly in the corner of my room. At first, I just thought it was your average shadow playing tricks with my eyes, like trees blowing around in the breeze. Then I thought that it might be some pervert watching me from outside. My paranoia reached a point that I even considered ringing the police but felt a bit of an idiot saying a man-shaped shadow appears on my wall every night.
However, gradually, I've realised night after night the shape has never changed, or moved, or even made a sound. I've tried not looking in the corner on the pretence that if I don't notice it, it doesn't exist. In the daytime, I've been looking out of my window to see if I can figure out anything that could be casting THAT shadow...
But tonight...tonight feels different. The air seems to be filled with an urgency. Maybe it's my fear, or the fight or flight response. As I dare to glance into the corner I sense an energy emitting from deep within what appears to be an abyss. Again I hold my breath and try to calm my frazzled nerves. I want to scream at it to go away, what do you want? But my mouth won't move and I'm too afraid of what might happen if I do shout out.
The stillness of my room is just as ominous as what's in front of me, as I try to figure out what to do next. My heart is pounding so hard I'm sure it's going to explode. I'm worried incase that...thing can hear it and smell my fear. Adrenaline gushes round my body as my mind races with suggestions of my next move. What if it's an evil entity? I've always believed there's another world after this one. And now, maybe, I'm faced with the prospect of something from that side. It's funny because I thought I'd feel less afraid than this.
The tension is mounting and I desperately want to make a run for the door, but what if it grabs me or knocks me down? Oh my god, help me out of this. I want to cry as the sheer horror of what might become my final night on this mortal coil flashes through my mind. I want to react, but frustration is overwhelming me.
For god's sake where my mobile?...it's usually under my pillow but I can't remember bringing it upstairs tonight. If I could just speed dial someone's number maybe they'd get the hint that I'm in trouble when they're greeted by the stoney, ice-cold, dead silence that now surrounds me.
I swear I can hear it breathing...Is it human afterall. No way, it can't be. There would be some sort of giveaway. Surely. One part of me hopes it is, then I sort of know what to expect. The other half doesn't want it to be, for the precise reason of knowing what to expect! There it is again, as if it's going to say something...
Then it confirms my suspicions and fears, out of the darkness booms a voice,'' I am the soultaker. I am your eternity.''
For some reason I look around my room thinking I will see something physical. My head spins from one side of the room to the other in a lame bid for answers.The air feels full of electricity. My mouth takes on a life of its own as panic controls me.
''Please don't hurt me.'' I want to beg, but manage to compose myself a little in the hope it'll think I'm in control more than I actually am.
I'm too frightened to look in that direction as it replies; '' I won't hurt you, that is not why I am here.''
I should feel relief, but what am I dealing with now? What did he say? This isn't happening. No, no, I refuse to accept this, it isn't real.
The air buzzes as it answers, ''You do not need to fear me.''
How can it say that. It's frightening the life out of me and I don't know who or what it is. There is no way on this earth I can believe this is happening. I lift up my hands to cover my ears, but it's useless...the voice penetrates right through them.
''My task is to search for the chosen mortal and watch them until I decide the time is right for them to cross over.'' The power of its voice bounces around my room.
''Please... do not be afraid.''
Is this a trick to lull me into a false sense of security...or...could it possibly be genuine? Slowly I allow my eyes to try and focus on the blackness in the corner, at the same time I'm afraid of what I'm going to see.
... I don't see... anything.
This is really disconcerting...Is the voice in my head?
I desperately want to scream at it to leave me alone. My throat is so dry I'm unable to swallow to catch a breath let alone speak. My hand goes up to my mouth in an attempt to calm myself down and the fact that it's closed makes me want to gasp even more. I'm starting to feel a bit dizzy, I have to take control... But how do I know this is real? maybe I'm talking to myself. Oh my god, the fear is too much to bear.
''I know you want to ask me something, my dear girl...''
It makes me jump..and cough...And before I know it words fall out of my mouth, ''Leave me alone! Go away! What do you want?''
Sheer terror grabs me as I snatch the duvet up to my face to hide. I've now questioned its authority and possibly aggravated it. Why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this?
''I have come for you...''
What the heck is it rambling on about. What a weird thing to say to someone you don't even know.
''Ahhh, but I do know you, my dear. I have always known you.''
Oh holy...it even knows what I'm thinking. Fear fights with anger as it dares to mess with my head.
''No you don't! you know nothing about me!'' I feel breathless as the rage takes over. Not only does it scare me half to death by being in my room, it also reckons it knows me. I'm incensed at its audacity..
Rational thinking has to preside now or I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. My hands are holding on so tightly to my duvet that my knuckles hurt and my nails feel like they're bending back. I have to say something...
But what? Keep calm...
What should I say? Breathe slowly and your mind will follow-allow the proccess of thought.
...Steady does it...my mouth is parched...''cough, cough,'' the words are stuck...''How...how...do you...know me?''
It doesn't hesitate, ''You were made for me; you are my creation and now it is time for your destiny to be fulfilled''.
I glare into the nothingness of my room as my conscience tries to comprehend what it has just been told and feel like I'm on a stupid, tacky so-called reality show. Any minute now I'm going to hear an audience rolling about with laughter as one of my long lost friends jumps out of the corner, ''Surprise.''
...so I wait...
and noone does...
Quickly I need to breathe again...and say something...''What...do you mean?''
''You are to come with me and live in my kingdom of eternal darkness''.
My mouth slowly closes and manages a shallow swallow that partially lubricates my arid- dry interior. The sharp succession of air that rushes down my throat scrapes its way down to my lungs. This must be a very clever prank, because now it just seems to be getting out of hand and is too ridiculous to laugh at.
Why do I choose to live alone? What I wouldn't give to have someone walk right through that door.
Desperately I try to sound less feeble. ''I don't understand what you are saying''.
''My dear girl it is simple. Tonight is the time for you to cross into the world you were created for. That is why I am here; to take you with me and ensure your safety''.
This is getting weirder by the minute. It can't possibly think I believe all this.
It interrupts my thoughts...''I realise how insane this must all seem to a mortal, but you will be crossing with me tonight''.
Oh my gosh I wish it would get out of my head. I daren't think anything. Anyway, mortal, why did he say that? Is it dead then? It has to be. Does that mean its going to kill me. And just what does it mean by saying 'crossing?'
Before I even have time to digest that thought...
''I have always been living, just not as you know it in the light world. My life has been for an eternity and so is yours''.
Turmoil scrambles around in my head: thought after thought collide in confusion. I want to ask it so many questions, but where do I begin? All rational reasoning doesn't apply to this situation. Anyway, how can I ask it? This isn't reality; I must be in a lucid dream. On that note, maybe I should just act as though I'm having a convesation with myself, like you do when you're trying to sort out a problem. I do it all the time at the gym.
Right then here goes... ''Erm.. are you a guardian angel or something?..'' The tension in the pit of my stomach starts to subside. Though I do feel rather stupid.
''No not all, they live in the light world of purity. Mine is cold and dark; full of pleasures of the night.''
The terror returns as its voice reverberates around my four walls. The comments are so ominous and cryptic... That nauseous sensation return to haunt my stomach. I think the fact that it can read my thoughts, is more harrowing than the physicality of its presence. At first I thought it would be exciting and humorous to discover what it actually was, but you know the saying you don't know how you'll react to a situation in reality? This is one of those times and I can't bring myself to reply. There's no need to worry though I know its going to do it for me.
It calmly speaks, ''Please, please do not be afraid. I meant what I said that I'm not going to hurt you. And you misunderstand my meaning: The night in my world isn't the same as yours.''
A puzzled expression plants itself on my face. None of this makes sense. The duvet gradually falls in my lap as realisation dawns that it knows my personality traits.
''This world is not for you, your soul needs more than the light world can provide. You see life in a different way to those around you and question your mortality.''
Well he's got that right , but it's mighty frightening that it can tell me how I feel. I need to know what its intentions are from here, but words fail me. A slow steady breath starts to emerge form deep within my lungs in order to power a complete coherent sentence. Trying to maintain dignity and self-assuredness is proving very difficult at this precise time.
''What are you going to do with me?''
''...I am only here to collect you and transport you to the world you are truly meant to reside.''
My jaw drops as his words sink into my brain...What a thing to say. Obviously, I want to laugh, but at the same time it'd be a nervous giggle. I want to say something though I'm so confused I can't think of what to say. Every now and then words pop into my head, but when I try to say them they never seem enough or even relevant!
However, it doesn't appear that the Soultaker has any such issues:
''I know everything about you; when you've cried at night and prayed for someone to hear your silent screams,I am the one that has heard you. So many times I have wanted to take you when you have been sad.''
To say I'm staggered by his revelation is an understatement and don't know if I feel sad or relieved that someone knows, or even cares. But to think that all the time its been standing there, here, in my room, is totally disconcerting...
'' You...you...have been here all this time... and I never suspected?'' My voice is croaky though audible enough to hear.
It isn't at all fazed by my uneasiness, ''You don't want to live this way I can see it in your eyes. There is so much wrong in this life of yours; you are craving the darkness without realising it: when you sleep you dream of me and wake up afraid, because you don't understand I am trying to tell you that you will be coming with me; giving you the eternal love you desire.''
I'm frantically trying to sift through memories of recurring nightmares to see if I can see the Soultaker...focusing on my fiddling fingers a picture materialises in my mind's eye...
''Are you the one that makes me cold in my dreams.. I'm surrounded by darkness...someone rescues me ...I can't see their face...but I can feel their touch..''
It quickly answers, ''The darkness is your life and the hopelessness you feel you live in. You are frustrated at your lack of progress towards your dreams and goals. The meaning to your life escapes you and seems unreachable.''
''Oh my god.. it is you!'' half screaming, half mumbling not really able to believe this is all happening in front of me.
''My intention isn't to scare you. I stand here, beside you each day, watching the sunrise; wishing you were returning to the darkness with me.''
I mutter to myself 'how did I not know you were there?' Never, for one moment did I think the shadow would be a tangible entity.
''You did, you were too afraid to admit it, because you didn't believe I was real.''
I'm still finding difficult to believe it's real! It begs the question though, Why tonight?
''The answer is simple, the time is now right. You will never be hurt again hiding yourself behind this wall of lies and the ridiculous masquerade of a life you have created. There is no need for you to suffer in silence anymore.''
A nervous giggle escapes while I shake my head. ''I refuse to believe this happening, it's too insane.''
The voice in my head shouts questions, but I remain calm.Staring into the corner I try to focus to see if it has a face. Gradually, I see these spectacular, absolutely hypnotic eyes...intimidating even. I want to turn away; it's like my head is being held in place by unseen hands .Its temperament starts to change.
''You will not walk away from me; I am the end to all your problems and will not live without you anymore. Let yourself be free, isn't that what you want? We will be together forever.''
That was definitely true, I've always done my own thing. Never followed the crowd. Never felt the need for a huge social circle. Anyway in my experience most so-called friends stab you in the back as soon as you're not looking. So I've been quite happy being self-reliant. I'm not lonely though, nor a loner.
He answers my thoughts, ''That is why you will come with me and be your true self. Break the chains of your mortality; fulfil your dreams. You are not one of them and do not belong here.''
Unlikely as it may seem he was making a lot of sense, evenso, I cannot allow myself to be sucked into this nightmare. Neither do I like being told what to do by something that I don't know exists. Anyway how can something be living for an eternity? All life starts somewhere.
''You are not in a nightmare, let your conscience be free.''
Those extraordinary eyes glare at me...fear rises within my soul while at the same time an epiphany overtakes my mouth...and is very defensive.
''Pah, you can't be serious. How do you know about my destiny and things like that? You are not real at all''
This is getting absurd. I don't know whether to laugh, frown, or throw myself back under the warm duvet and try to get to sleep. This must be how sleep deprevation affects you. Maybe I'm in a dream within a dream? Lying back down, I cover myself up and close my eyes. Hopefully, I won't hear it anymore confirming the fact he is a figment of my over-active imagination.
But, I feel it near me...coming closer...
''What are you doing? We have to hurry.''
The urgency in its voice makes my eyes snap open. I don't know whether I'm scared or surprised to hear it and throw the duvet over in its direction. I think I'm delusional.
''Do not worry you are not losing your mind.''
I sit up again afraid to focus on the sight in front of me. The feeling of vulnerability washes over me.
''That's better, now you have a decision to make and it must be tonight, before sunrise.''
A sharp intake of breath grabs hold of my attention. Decision?
Its tone is very persuasive and oppresive. I want to tell it to stop telling me what I will do, but I'm so afraid of the consequences if I do. Evenso, words have to be said and somehow, I have to assert myself...
''What if I don't like your world, I know nothing about it, or you! You say it's my destiny so will I not be able to come back?'' That prospect alone terrifies me.
Of course I can, how can he stop me? We can't actually be going to another world. But I'll play its game for a while. I can't believe that I am even contemplating this. I've had boyfriends say the same destiny yarn before. YAWN.
The Soultaker tries the reassurance trick, ''You will have my protection and you will not want to come back. I give you my word.''
Sarcasm overtakes my mouth, ''Hah, I'm supposed to trust you because you've given me your word!''
''My dear mortal it is all you need.''
''Mortal. Why did you call me mortal? You have a strange way with words, Mr. Soultaker.''
It sounds really self-assured, I like that in a man (if that is what the Soultaker is). Then again, I suppose it already knows what I like in a man. Which leads me to wonder if this is all mind games. Should I just throw caution to the wind and go for it...What am I even thinking!
However, I am now unbearably intrigued and what's the worst that can happen? If don't like it I can always come back (despite what he says, because this can't possibly be real).
... Or... just wake up.
And, if it is one of those lucid dreams, can't you pick you're own ending?
... But... isn't that before you go to sleep...
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