It’s been a long time since I had my freedom. My body is weak and my soul broken. I haven’t had a thought that I can call my own for so long. So many years have passed and I still think about the day that destroyed my life like it was happening every hour, perhaps just another of the many tortures I have to deal with. The faces of my family, my friends, all those I had once called dear constantly reappear in my addled mind, taunting me with the idea of having my life back. But I’ll never be given that opportunity, not as long as it watches over me. I’ve lost all concept of time, funnily enough, making it seem like I’ve been here for an eternity. I think yesterday (last week? Last month maybe?) I found myself a small piece of charcoal and a small brown notebook, the pages yellowed with age. I drew myself up against the wall and decided that the only way I was going to be able to hold onto any scrap of my sanity was to write. When I look back through the small book, most of what I’ve written has just been fruitless prayers to a god I know has abandoned me and regrets for the decisions I’ve made in life, so I’ve decided to change it up. If I am ever found (unlikely), this book will contain the last few moments of my life, the real one that is, not the hell I live in now, and how to stray away from the path that I followed. But let me warn you, this is not some guide on how NOT to make my mistakes, but how to succeed in what I failed at. Firstly you need to know that I am not just James Wridley anymore. I have two names now, James an-

Hello there. My name is Παράνοια. I know it’s a little hard to say, so you can just call me Peter. I’ve just made the discovery of our little friend's ‘diary’. It makes me smile when I know that he is never going to recall what he’s just written. He’ll spend hours wracking his mind to find the words he so desperately wants to write down but he’ll never remember. Sometimes I let him recall everything that has happened, just to see him scream with anguish, sometimes I let him think everything is fine, only to remember it all again. He’ll never escape me, for I am with him always, and he is forever trapped. Now why am I writing here? Maybe I’m bored. Maybe I’m just so full of emotion I need to write it all down. Hahaha, funny joke I know. Or maybe I want you to truly know what I am, so that you’ll spend the rest of your years worrying I might show up and visit YOU next. Now let’s have a look and see what our friend has to say next.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been happy. I keep feeling like my mind is just blocking out all ability to feel happiness. A lover's embrace, a raucous night out with adored company, a beautiful home, a 6 figure salary, none of these would bring me even an ounce of joy. So many years have passed since I smiled, I feel like I’ve forgotten how. I found this book in my cupboard the other day, covered in soot and graffiti. It’s a really old book that appears to be a journal of some sort. All that was in it was just pages and pages of indecipherable blocks of text that appear to have been drawn with handfuls of ash. I found this odd attachment to the journal, I just want to write what I feel in it, maybe it’ll help me control my emotions and understand what ails me finally. My wife told me last night, through tears of joy that she was pregnant. Of course I smiled and told her how happy I was and how exciting the concept of raising a child was. In truth I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t upset and I wasn’t scared. I was empty. I just want to look my wife in the eye and tell her I love her, but I don’t. I want to tell my friends how much I enjoy their company, but I don’t. I just want a way out of this life, I just want to be free-

Hello again. As we can see our friend here seems to be struggling slightly with his life. He just can’t seem to be happy can he? I’m afraid our friend won’t live much longer; he’ll die in a hospital bed wishing he knew the answer to what ails him. His family will mourn for him and wish that they could’ve helped him. What was that? You thought he was trapped somewhere with no way of escape? You thought he was living the dream life, haunted by the mundane qualities of life with everything? Well things aren’t always as they seem are they? Our mind has a funny way of explaining things that cannot be explained, things that which there are no answers to, things our brain pushes back, forcing us to forget. Psychologists spend their lives finding a way to decipher the things our brain does without our consent, yet never coming close to a definitive answer. Well I am the answer. Our brains do not make these decisions, I do. I am the one that has man grasping the sides of their heads and screaming to the heavens for answers. I am within everyone; no one can escape my grasp. All I need is a reason to come out and play. Till next time friend, till next time…