Everlasting Night

October 1, 2008
By Cassandra Swaser, Coon Rapids, MN

Something happened to me last night but I can’t seem to remember. I lay still reflecting back but have no luck in recalling the event or events. Was it even real? Was it a dream? I glance at my alarm clock. 9:15AM. I should be refreshed from sleeping in but I’m as tired as ever.
Sitting up in bed, I stretch and yawn. Squinting I shut my curtains tight. The sun seems to be extremely bright today and I note that I slept on my neck wrong because of how stiff it is to move. Figuring that some good old aspirin will help I get up and head off to the bathroom medicine cabinet.
The forgotten memory of last night plagues my mind and when I close the cabinet I jump at the sight of myself. I’m as pale as a ghost and the supposed lack of sleep shows in my eyes. Great I’m getting sick. Taking a Dixie cup from the sink I fill it up with water and pop the aspirin in my mouth. I swallow but immediately want to throw it all up. The water had the taste of metal. Sticking out my tongue I make a childish face; the one that shows pure dislike.
Walking out of the bathroom and back into my room I pout to myself. Just my luck to get sick on the weekend. I can never get sick on a school day. I think to myself as I go to my dresser and pull out some comfortable sweats. Changing, I evaluate myself further and find that I’m not warm with a fever just sore all over, especially in the neck. Even better… the flu. This time I do let out a groan and sit on my bed.
No one appears to be home since the house is silent. My parents probably took off and ran some errands not bothering to wake me up, which didn’t really bug me in the least. I’d rather sleep then go shopping for groceries or whatever they needed. Yet it’d only bother me when they come back from having breakfast. I mean they could have at least called me then to see if I was up and wanted food too. Yes, I was lazy and had the ability to cook but took the easy way out and complained.
Getting up again I head downstairs this time to see if there’s a note letting me know where they went off to and when they’d be back but there was nothing on the table or refrigerator. I sigh and grab a cup from the cupboard and fill it with milk. Thinking about what I was going eat for breakfast I took a swig and doubled over to the sink and spit it out all in the same moment it seemed. The milk tasted like metal too. Frowning I grab the jug of milk and smell it. It smelt just fine and the expiration date wasn’t until next week. This is so weird…maybe it’s not the milk or water, maybe it’s me. I come to the conclusion that it’s just me, bad breath or that horrible morning taste you sometimes wake up with. With this in mind I leave my cup of milk on the counter and head back up to my bathroom to brush my teeth and rinse with some good mouthwash.
I squeezed out some Colgate toothpaste and went to work on scrubbing my teeth. As I brushed I stared at my pale reflection and darkened circles around my eyes. I looked worse than I felt because I felt fine other then the nasty taste I had in my mouth. I washed off my toothbrush and put it back in it’s holder then grabbed the mouthwash. Figuring I just needed some fresh air and caffeine to brighten up I doubled over dropping the mouthwash to grab my stomach. A sharp shooting pain just struck me but left just as quickly as it had came. Picking up the bottle of mouthwash that had, to luck, just fell in the sink I heard something gurgle inside me. It was the hungry stomach telling me to go eat or so I thought at that moment. I quickly rinsed my mouth out and went back downstairs to the kitchen jumping the last two stairs.
I wanted pancakes but like I said before, I’m lazy, so I settled for cereal instead. You can never go wrong with Captain Crunch. Getting a bowl and spoon then the box of cereal and milk jug I heard that gurgle from inside my gut again. It was weird since when you usually have that sound of hunger you feel hungry too but I didn’t really feel all that hungry. Dismissing the thought of hunger I took a spoonful but just before it got to my mouth I yelped from the stabbing pain in my stomach again. The spoonful of cereal dropped and went everywhere but my mouth. What’s with m-- The pain was shearing now and I fell off of the chair I was sitting in onto the floor. The pain had moved from my stomach to my chest. I would say it felt like heartburn but I’ve never had heartburn before. Maybe I’m having a heart attack… no, no I’m too young to have a heart attack-- I let out a shriek of pain this time as the pain soared into my head.
As soon as the pain stopped I scrambled to my feet and balanced myself against the kitchen counter. The pain had literally blinded me for a minute. Deciding this was too much I took my bowl of cereal and headed to the sink to dump it out. Yet I had taken two steps and the pain was back in my stomach. I groaned in pain and the bowl slipped from my hands and crashed onto the floor.
Leaving the mess I stumbled to the stairs and had to almost crawl up them as the pain was climbing to my chest again. I got to the top step and then let out another scream of pain. This time Jack, our German Sheppard, heard me and started barking frantically outside. I wanted to yell at Jack and tell him to shut up but the only sounds coming from my mouth were moans and gasps of pain. It was then that I felt it…whatever “it” was.
The gurgle was more like a roar now inside my gut and the pain was focused there. It was like something was stretching and tearing me from the inside out. I screamed again making an effort to try and crawl to my room now since I was in the hall on the top step. I made it about two inches when I heard something crack. I stopped and lay still hoping that the sound was just my imagination or coming from somewhere else. CRACK. It was louder this time and confirmed my fear. The sounds where coming from inside me and it sounded like my - CRACK- ribs. It was after that third crack that the pain I should be feeling kicked in. My chest was exploding with fire with every breathe I took. I screamed louder and Jack returned my calls of pain with frantic barking. I was sure the neighbors would suspect something soon enough, granting that the neighbors were home.
It was here that the adrenaline pulsed through me and I managed to finish crawling to my room. Gritting my teeth together I stood up next to my bed and went to grab the phone on the nightstand. Only the phone wasn’t there… damn myself for never putting it where it belonged. Gritting my teeth seemed to ease the pain away from my mind so I kept my jaw clenched as I scanned the room for the phone. The sun seemed to pulse through my curtains and getting brighter with every passing second.
Finally! I nearly shouted aloud as I spotted the phone on my computer desk. I started toward it and dropped to my knees as another round of shearing pain started in my chest and working it’s way to my head. I can’t make it…I just can’t get to it. I thought and let out a scream of not only pain but frustration that was building up inside me. I fell the rest of the way to the floor as the pain got to my head and started blinding me again. I managed to roll onto my back and was about to try to sit up again before I noticed I couldn’t. There seemed to be an invisible force holding me down. I struggled to move but couldn’t move at all, not even my toes. My eyes were shut tight as the pain shot through my head. It felt like something was constricting my whole head; squeezing it as if hoping to pop it like a grape when it’s squeezed.
I was paralyzed head to toe and didn’t even have the power to open my eyes. The pain pulsed through every inch of my body now and I was stuck inside screaming for help or some miracle that would lead someone to find me here. I was thinking that this was the worse it could get when all of sudden the pain turned to fire.
Blazing I tried to open my mouth to let out the blood curdling scream I felt like giving but couldn’t. I was almost positive that I was on fire but the smell of burning flesh didn’t fill my nose. This only meant to me that I was burning from the inside out if such thing was possible this is what it was. I screamed in my head until the screaming seemed to overpower the fire burning me.
Flashbacks filled my mind and the forgotten memory of last night was coming back to me in pieces. It had been Gary and I last night doing the double dare of spending the night in the old graveyard in the middle of the woods that filled my back yard. Everything was fine and silent as we had sat there with our flashlights. Then all of a sudden we were running and something was chasing us…but what!? I couldn’t remember or see all I know is that we ran for our lives until everything went blank. I drew a blank from running to when I woke up…something HAD happened.
My silent screams had stopped just as I noticed the pain and fire had too. I opened my eyes and looked up at my ceiling for a moment before I sat up. Looking over myself I find no burns or bruises, in fact I feel better then before. I feel great and awake almost like I could run the mile in a minute. I decide to take a better look at myself and take my temperature with my thermometer in the bathroom.
Walking in I flip on the light switch and reach to grab the thermometer from the medicine cabinet when I stop dead in my tracks. Looking at the mirror on the cabinet I notice something is missing…I’m missing. My reflection is gone and non-existent. I let out a little utter of horror and touch my face. Everything feels normal but the fact still remains that I’ve got no reflection. Surely it can’t be true, I must have passed out and am just dreaming. Yet I cautiously run my tongue over my teeth and gasp in horror. I have fangs. The rest of my memory fades back in and I see the flashbacks I missed before.
Gary and I sitting by a large tombstone when we see a flock of bats. We think nothing of it until we see a group of people walking toward us in long black cloaks. We had laughed thinking the guys had set us up to scare us. Our thoughts changed when we saw the people smiling at us with cold black eyes and sets of pearly white fangs. We ran and had tried to get to my house but they caught us just outside my fenced backyard. That’s when I remember feeling the sharp pain and slight burning sensation on my neck.
I’m still in shock when I hear a door open downstairs.
“Hey we’re home! We brought you back some pancakes.”
I’m immediately hit with a delicious smell, something to die for as I head out of my room. Only I’m positive that it’s not the pancakes that smell so delicious and as far as dying for it…I’m positive I already did.

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