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I See Darkness
I see darkness. As I stare out at the night that envelops my bed, I see nothing but the twilight shades of the dark. They dance across the floor and over the walls, writhing phantoms of my past; the creatures of my dreams that quickly shift to nightmares. They’re beautiful in the most horrible way as their bodies twist into the shadows of my things, imitations of the lamp in the corner, the table against the wall, the curtains beside the window. But I know better than to believe them. You can’t trust your eyes. In this darkness the only things that are real are the shadows. Close your eyes and you can feel them as they creep across your skin, goose bumps rising on your flesh, their fingers searching your body, raking icy cold fingertips through your tangled hair, cold skin against yours, dragging hands down your body like a blind man trying to see, and prying open your eyes so that you have no choice but to stare out at them and their world of never ending night.
I see darkness.
The moonlight shines through the open window, a breeze appearing to stir the sheer fabric of the curtains. But I know better. I know that it is them, their hands parting the smooth cloth like liquid moonlight, twisting it about their bodies to prance before the mirror. In the mirror, the liquid silver window pane where you can glance at your reflection, you can see only the dancing curtain. But I know that they are there. I can hear them, whispering my name like a caress, beckoning to me to follow them into their dark domain of shadows.
“NO!” I cry. I do not want to go.
“Come,” they moan, voices dripping with passion and lust, trying to lure me away from the safety of the bed and the warm covers wrapped around me like a bullet-proof vest, shielding me from their clawing fingers. “Come with us.”
“No, no, no.” My voice sounds broken in the darkness, cracked and raw from hours of screaming, trying to block out the voices as they called to me. But now they’ve crept out of hiding to claim me for their own, sneaking across the floor with their brethren, the shadows of night, to caress me with fingers at once both hot and cold, and whisper promises in my ears that I know they will not keep.
“Get up!” Now they are angry, a thousand whispering voices joined into one that roars like a monster. “GET UP!”
I scream, desperately struggling to batten down the hatches of my covers so that nothing can slip into my one small sanctuary as invisible fingers tear at them from the outside. My bare legs flail, kicking at the unseen enemy with all the force I can muster, my feet striking the air. But I know I am hitting them. Every time my foot meets the air I know they are struck and reel back in pain to nurse their wounds. If I can only keep it up long enough so that they retreat back into their shadowy realm.
“Come with us!” the voices hiss. “I’m your heart,” one whispers. “I’m your mind,” says another. And a third, “I’m your soul…”
A hand grabs hold of my covers, tearing them from my body with ease. I find myself face to face with someone who looks just like me, down to their eyes, which stand out eerily in the darkness.
“I’m you,” they say, but that can’t be true, for I am right here, cowering on the bed. “Come on, get up. Let’s go to the park—no one will be there, we can play all we want.”
I want to go to the park. It’s tempting to seize the offer and grab their hand, giving in to the impulse. But I’m too scared. But I want to go and play. The energy inside me begs me to get up and run, skip, and hop, the urge so strong it takes all my will power to remain fearfully on the downy soft bed that isn’t even comfortable because I’m not tired. I haven’t been tired for almost two days.
“We can go to the square and play in the fountain,” the shadow who looks like me says.
“No.” I really want to, but I know that we will not go to the square and play in the fountain. I will be led into their dark realm and locked in a cage with this shadow as my jailer.
The shadow that looks like me scowls and looks to its companions, my heart, my mind, and my soul. They raise a cry, begging me to rise and play, but I’m still too scared of them.
“Come and play,” my soul whispers, leaning in closer.
“NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!” I wail, thrashing about as I feel the cold hands touch my skin to pull me from the safety of the bed into the world where the shadows live: A world of madness that I’m still too scared to enter.
They stumble away from the bed to avoid my flailing arms and legs, whispering voices turning harsh and angry. They hiss into the darkness threats and curses, but I can hear also the whispering of their dark shapes as they rush about, carried on the shadows that lurk under the bed and in the shade of the walls and closet door.
“What are you doing? You belong with me—we could have so much fun!”
I stop my frantic struggle and stare through matted hair at the shadow that looks like me. Their eyes bore into mine, beseeching me to join them. Somewhere in the darkness I hear someone crying, horrible, wrenching sobs from the center of a human heart full of fear and pain. Moans punctuate the desperate sound and I shiver—the shadows must have claimed a victim—and wonder who is weeping.
“Don’t you know me?” the shadow asks. “I’m the voice inside your head.”
That’s when I realize that I’m staring into the mirror. It was I who was crying. I can still hear the voices inside my head, my constant companions that I cannot shake. I look around and I see darkness.