Few things are better than a cup of coffee and a good book. It’s one of my favorite things to do on gloomy weather, or at night when it seems the whole world is asleep. To wrap myself In my secret worlds and stay there for a while. And forget. For the most part forget. I’d gladly fall away from my own dreary life into the romantic ones of Lord’s and Lady’s.
And that’s what I was doing October 5th, reading by a small light beside my bed, completely oblivious to the time (3:07), and the stillness of my bedroom. It was so still, like the calm before the storm. Eventually, I laid my book aside, it’s title glittering on its side, and turned my lamp off, allowing my brain to begin the process of shut down. The quite had become a song in my ears, a gentle lull and murmur that softly took me to a deep, lucid dreaming state. And then…
It was as if I was a kid again, when my dad would walk in and make sure I was asleep. I felt the cool, tingling sensation of eyes luring into my forehead. Soft wind blew stray pieces of hair away from my face. That should have done it, should have woken me up, the breaking of utter stillness in my bedroom. But I didn’t, and that’s why there’s a story.
Hours passed with the soft wind and the eyes on my sheet covered body. It was only when I had a sudden urge to urinate that I groggily pulled myself out of sleep and slowly back to the world of the living. I sat up in bed and pulled my matted hair behind my ears and allowing my eyes only a slit to find my way. And Then I saw something strange.
He was very tall. His head reached all the way up to the ceilinhg, its form like a shadow on a shadow, a patch of pure darkness in the grey absence of light. I stared as my eyes became more adjusted to the dark. Lucid dreams. I whispered to myself repeatedly, trying to slow down my rapid heart rate. A car drove by my window, casting light across the room, as if a searchlight of my own creation. It briefly scanned everything, showing me what was real. Exept when the light flew over the Shadow man, it cast no shadow and light did not escape it.
My brain was now in full awareness. MY first instinct was to scream, exept I couldn’t open my mouth. I was sweating from the effort. The thing hadn’t moved, remaining a solid structure of darkness, and I no longer doubted it’s presence. The next thing I thought of was laying back down and trying to sleep again. My muscles wouldn’t obey me. I sat there all night, eventually falling asleep with my eyes open and my body rigid.
I woke up sore and thirsty. My tongue was glued to the roof of my mouth and my eyes couldn’t close. I slowly got to my feet, and instantly collapsed in a mound of aching muscles. I groaned. It was well past ten and I was already late for work. I forced myself back up, using the bedside table as support, and allowing another wave of pain to rack my body. I took my hand off the table to find the source of the pain and found my fingernails were broken up and my hands had hundreds of deep cuts, now opening and spitting blood. I must have scratched my hands to a near pulp. That usually only happens when I’m under an immense amount of stress, which I was almost certain I wasn’t. I ran to the bathroom (with plenty of pain from my protesting legs).
The mirror flashed me with the hideous image of a sweaty girl with blood stains on her arms. I cringed. It even hurt to look at myself. I grabbed a towel off of the rack and held it to my pouring hand. Then I got a good look at my eyes. They were flaming red. It looked like I had been in the back of a black Sabbath tour bus for a week, with enough weed to kill a horse. That’s when I decided not to go to work.
I walked to the kitchen to get some water, transferring my pain from foot to foot, while keeping pressure to my gory hand. I heard the sink on in the kitchen and sweat broke out on my forehead. I walked as fast as I could with the undeserved pain I had in my legs, and when I came to the kitchen I flinched back and my jaw hung open.
It looked as if it had been ransacked. The drawers were pulled out, my plates were broken, the fridge was wide open. The sink was on full blast with steam spilling into the air, and there was about two inches of it on my floor. I assumed the only reason it hadn’t broken in yet was because I lived in the basement of my grandmother’s old house, and she was with a cousin. And the worst part was the smell. All of my food had been thrown into the soupy mess of a floor I had now. Milk and orange juice and rotten meat and eggs floated about my bare feet. I’d never had a strong stomach.
I fell to my bloody hands and aching knees and vomited what felt like all of my insides. My own puke created a sort of pool around me as I belched louder. My blood mingled with bad milk and made beautiful flower shapes. Once I was done, I realized just how weak I’d become over the night, and tried to get to my feet. I collapsed into the filthy bloody mess cried out as I felt a sudden pressure. It felt as if the whole world was placed on my shoulders, and getting heavier. I screamed as my arms buckled beneath me. Oh God. Oh no God this can’t be the end. Not this way.
I tried sitting up, but only managed to lift my empty stomach off the pool. It made a sloshing sound that made my sight blur. I needed to call someone now. Before I pass out and drown in my own sick. I reached up to the counter, and with great, immense effort, pulled myself to my shaky legs. The home phone. I reached for it and slowly (dryheave) dialed 911. I waited for it to ring. Waited and waited. The line had been severed. My grandmother, the only women alive who couldn’t have a decent phone system like the rest of the world.
I limped over to the window, and tried to release some of the stench that covered the room. It was much too hard to move, with my suddenly frail body. But my phone was on the windowsill where I left it the night before. I greedily gripped the cheap little flip phone I had bought in a hurry, and opened it.
I stared at the phone as it dawned on me; I had been unconsciously aware of anything for two days. Twelve missed calls from work, not a single personal friend. If I suddenly died, no one would know for weeks. No one would even come looking for me. That’s when the real fear set in. I was alone with whatever had done this ….and no one would find me. I started hyperventilating. I had to go to them then, go out that door, out into the world. I’d have to go to the world because the world would never come to me. I started dialing 911, and that’s when my phone died. I screamed in anger, and fear. Mostly fear. I started walking back through my kitchen to the hallway and eventually to my front door. Except my legs decided to buckle and I crashed into the pool of stench. I screamed as vomit-blood-soiled milk flew into my mouth. The smell was absolutely unbearable. I crawled (well more of army-crawled as my legs had become like lead) to the hallway, every inch of slosh like a dagger in me. I was halfway across the kitchen when my mouth was filled with the irony taste of blood. I choked on it. It was unbearable.
I coughed and wheezed as blood flew from my nose and then I stared in wonder at what had fallen out of my mouth. A molar. My back molar. Tears of fear filled my eyes as more blood flowed in and I coughed up another. And another. And another. I focused on breathing in between the numbing pain and the blood, breathing IN, out, IN, out. My vision was now reduced to a red swirl of tile. I wished I could stop crying, so I could see my destination better, but they flowed like waterfalls. More teeth fell out. I could see them float above the browned lettuce and around my blistering arms. Teeth floated everywhere. I spat more out. The bitter taste of blood ripped open my tongue as all twenty eight of my teeth swam around me. I could feel the smooth texture of my empty gums. More tears.
I could see the door ahead of me and was filled with an overwhelming sense of joy. It brought more tears to my eyes. I crawled faster and faster until I saw the shadow in front of it. The cool, dark shadow. I felt the pressure on my shoulders again, and collapsed because of the weight. My face was inches from the watery waste. But I couldn’t move. Not my mouth to scream, not my legs to kick. Nothing. All I could do was lay in it. I vomited again. Something chunky came out, but I tried my best to ignore it.
The creature was staring at my filth covered body, I could feel it. Its empty eyes like a thousand men. I used the rest of my remaining energy and looked up and this creature. A black shadow in a cool afternoon. “What………….are………”
“…you…..?” A vessel in my eye popped with trying to look up at the thing. I watched it as it, in one quick, jerky motion, turned its head towards me. And smiled. The eeriest smile I had ever seen. With my own teeth lining its deep mouth. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t move.
It walked towards me—more like moved. It moved like wind, soft and barely there, though much scarier. It was so close to me, I could smell my stench bouncing off of him. He bent down, so that my scary toothy grin was at my ear. “I am You.”
And I watched him morph into the me who had gone to bed reading Lord of the flies and who had been perfectly safe. I knew what he was going to do now, and my heart sank. He grabbed a handful of my hair and pushed my face into the tiles hard, my nose broke. I didn’t fight back.
© Copyright 2016 A Dead Poet. All rights reserved.