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A light flickers on and off. On and off. Oooonnn...and off. On. Off. Blinking chaotically, randomly, a shaft of light swings, sending things into darkness and bathing others in harsh light. Shadows part reluctantly when it’s on, but they cling to its edges like black smoke, ready to smother everything in its thick ink when it continuously falters.
Black, rocky walls close in on me. The light catches them sometimes, and they shimmer as if they are covered in cool, quenching water. But it’s an illusion, a lie. This place is dry. Bone-dry. Desert dry. H*ll.
Burning air scorches my lungs, parches my throat, and dries out my tongue. It’s smoldering in here. I can’t get enough air. It’s too warm, too hot. I can’t breathe enough in. It feels as if I’ve run miles. My breathing is laborious as I suck in air frantically. More and more burning breaths. Still it’s not enough. OHMYGOD! I’m not breathing!
Panic sets in. It shakes my body. On. Off. The light keeps going. Breaths are shallower. The air grows hotter. It’s spinning. Everything’s spinning. What is this place? How do I get out? What if—Oooonnn....Oooffff...On—? There’s no way out! Big black walls. Four of them. Rocky, rough, and jagged. No door. No escape. The light doesn’t show—Off. On. Off, on...off. ON—a way out. A ceiling high above me and a floor beneath where I am, where I sit. A floor that’s slippery, sticky, but with what? It’s dry. It’s hot This can’t be water. That’s not water.
Stop. Deep breaths. More air. More smoldering air.
Everything stops spinning. Only the chaos of the swinging, strobing light continues. Then I hear it.
Wails, moans, screams. They all slide like snakes to my ears. I push myself further into the corner I’ve buried myself in, my feet getting cut up on the sharp knife-like rocks that makes up the floor. I know what that liquid is now.
The walls. It’s coming from those shadow incarnates that make up the edges of this prison, this H*ll-hole. The screaming. The moaning. The wailing...The hopelessness. It echoes, calling to me. They’re loud. They’re soft. They silence the others. They overpower the others. They come all at once.
My knees are clutched to my chest. I can feel my breath condensing on my bloody, bruised, and scarred skin. I want to close my eyes and shut this place out. My eyelids won’t respond, though. And when they do, it isn’t for very long.
I’m forced to watch. Forced to hear the cries of those that were here before me. Forced to smell the sickness, the rot, the burnt flesh. Forced to taste the bile in my throat that’s cooked by the heat before it even escapes my mouth. I’m forced to continue to live.
I am forced to see IT.
A wolfish grin accented and brought to life—to H*ll—with its white daggeresque teeth. Eyes. The eyes are two silver moons locked in a void of black space, black skin. Little vertical, black slits in the giant moon-eyes mark the pupils. The lips peel back more as the mouth open’s hungrily, revealing there are two devilish rows of serrated teeth. IT’s skin ripples and tears as IT stalks towards me. The long limbs bang against the walls of my tiny coffin. Claws sharper than swords and more deadly than all of them combined slap against the rocks. Click. Clack. Click. Clack.
Off. On. Off...On, off. On. With every flicker, IT is closer to me. The skin is clear, pure blackness. IT is a formless being. A formless entity. A monster, fiend. DEMON. IT is terror. IT brings me terror.
I am frozen. I feel IT’s breath on my face. Smell death as it clings to IT like a cloak you wear. I have IT’s eyes boring into my own. My breath is torn away from me. The panic is evaporating. I taste nothing. Smell is gone. I hear not a sound.
IT’s eyes. All I see are IT’s eyes. Everything else is gone. I am no longer left. IT is the only thing left.
Then my sight it gone. Now there is truly nothing. Not even IT. I can finally close my eyes.
I open my eyes. And. Then. I truly. See. Or...do I?
Too much light! Everything’s bathed in it. It’s reflected back to my eyes, bouncing off the tall white walls and blinding me. Tears. They slips from my eyes at the intensity.
I hear nothing. I smell nothing. I feel nothing. This place is completely void of anything. Any character. White. White is all it is. White is all I see. It is the only thing in this room. The only thing that my eyes can focus on. The only thing that I don’t want to see.
A door. There is a door. OHMYGOD a door. It opens. The seamless white wall parts to reveal my terror. Creaking. Fingers appear. Then a head.
More white. Always white. A lab coat with pens in the pockets. It’s layered over tan khakis. Fingers make hands that clutch a clipboard. Pale skin pulled to tight around the stubby, fat limbs. Hideous, kind grin plastered on, perfectly straight teeth show. They are stained yellow. Eyes. Oh god the eyes. All black, no iris. How can that be? Where is the color?
Words are said. They’re muffled. Sounding as though they are said through water. I can’t hear you. But still...Still I hear the screams. Smile fades. But the light. The light stays on. Continues to pound on me. Turn off! Go away! More words. More kind words are directed at me. Hushed, caring, they glide through my ears my brain—SHUT UP! I want my eyes to close! I want to shut this place out!
A scream. Louder than the rest. Silences all the rest. My terror hears it. He backs away like he fears it. I want it to shatter the walls. To turn of the harsh light. To make everything...STOP.
But I can’t stop. It’s my scream. He won’t go away. So I let it come. I let it split the silent and fake peacefulness of the air. I let it show what kind of place this is. I. RELEASE. Everything.
The terror is gone. IT is gone. It’s just me and the light and the white.
Me and my padded cell...
Me and my padded coffin...
Me and my white padded H*ll with my arms strapped to my sides...
“Close your eyes,” I whisper to myself, wolfish grin ripping across my face. Maniacal laughter is heard. It is, like the scream, my own.
Back to the dark. Back to the flickering light. Back to the DEMON form of IT. That’s where I want to be. My eyes won’t burn. My eyes won’t water. My eyes will see the truth.
IT is one and the same.
Is one and the same.
One and the same.
And the same.
Am I sane?