I stepped outside for the first time in twenty-two months last year. It was not by choice, though, but by necessity. You see, I had heard a loud thud from upstairs three days earlier and I assumed it was nothing. I assumed incorrectly. After three days without a meal I knew something was wrong. I emerged from the cold basement of my parents’ house. I had not left that room for almost two years now.
My parents fed me and paid for my living expenses. My anxiety rendered me incapable of living. I was frightened of people. And they were frightened of me. Anyway, I opened the door of my basement to see if my parents were still alive. Surprise surprise. They weren’t. I found my mother sprawled out across the floor at the bottom of the staircase, and up said staircase I found my father with his bleeding head in the toilet. I can only assume that he was trying to fix it when he got his head stuck, and then my mother ran down the stairs to call for help when she slipped and fell and broke her neck. That’s the only possible explanation. But this was a problem. How was I to go on without them? They fed me and allowed me to live.
Confused and understandably irritated, I waited around for a few hours before leaving my house. I knew enough to get out before the police arrived, or else I would have to explain things to them. There’s no doubt they would have accused me of the crime. I was an obvious suspect. A dirty recluse who suffers from crippling anxiety is the perfect candidate for a psycho-killer. I had to go, or else I was finished.
I walked through the crowded city streets. My breathing was heavy. I was nervous and tense. I was having a panic attack. I braved through the crowd of people as they bustled and rustled me. I brushed up against a few of them. The mere sight of me seemed to repulse them, and I suppose my smell didn’t help much either. The sea of humans walking briskly through each other overwhelmed me.
I was just about to throw my insides up when a pretty young woman approached me asking if I had accepted Jesus today. I told her no and continued walking when an old man approached me and asked if I would like to buy a watch. I told him no and continued walking when a group of young girls offered me cookies. People talked to me left and right, asking me if I would like this and that. It was frightening. One man asked if I would like a newspaper. Another asked if I would like a “Pick-Me-Up”. I graciously accepted his offer. I didn’t know what a “Pick-Me-Up” was, but if it could help me make it through this then I would gladly eat it up.
As I continued along the city street, more bodies flung themselves in my direction. Every person I met looked more monstrous than the last. Soon, there were no people left. The folk on the street transformed into awful abominations with contorted limbs. Their facial features were spread out across their bodies and their arms and fingers grew absurdly long. I looked at the buildings, and blood began oozing from them. The monsters spouted insults at me and stared. They were judging me with those horrible eyes. “Loser,” they said. “Stupid,” they said. “Asshole,” they said. I ran and fell onto the sidewalk. It was transparent. I could see the center of the Earth, and its core looked like a mini-sun.
A monster placed its hand on my shoulder. I defended myself by hitting it. And then I hit it again. And then I kept hitting the horrible thing. It had to die. The other monsters held me down. They piled up on me. I could feel their horrible, eldritch skin against mine. The monster I had beaten down was not moving. It was completely still. Thank god. But now I was in the grasp of dozens of other monsters. I was ready to surrender. Suddenly, a man appeared to me. I recognized him. He looked familiar. He was from a movie I think. They called him “The Duke”. He was dressed like a sheriff and wore a disturbingly gleeful smile. But he was human. The first time I was actually happy to see another person was now, in this city filled with Things. He knelt down and told me secrets that I would never forget. Like that he was god and that I was the universe and that all of these monsters were my inhabitants. There was no reason for me to fear them. Then everything went dark.
I woke up in a bed where I was restrained by leather straps. I heard nothing now but beeps and boops. I was scared again. But I was at peace. At least, I think I was. I’m not anymore. Because a few minutes later, the walls in this strange room were bleeding, and the blood dripped onto me. Into my eyes and into my mouth. I could taste it. It was awful. And then, a monster snuck its way into the room. It peered over me. Its mouth was its eyes. Its eyes were its mouth. Its limbs stretched to the floor and it had no legs to speak of. Just a weird, unnatural looking extended growth of skin that sagged and wagged like a tail. It was laughing at me too. First, nothing but gurgling escaped the hole that I can only assume was its mouth, but soon I could make out words. “Die,” it said. “Worthless,” it said. “Insane,” it said. I wasn’t insane though. I’m not! I threw up and went back to sleep.
I woke up again in a room. This one was also unfamiliar. I could not move my arms as a jacket of sorts restrained them. I was so scared. I struggled for a bit, but I gave up after a few minutes. I laid back and thought to myself, “I probably shouldn’t have taken those pick-me-ups.”
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