Today, I woke, not as the person I was before. The flickers of myself rose away and dimmed, leaving ashen remnants. Part of me will remember who I was, and that part is likely to imagine myself before, down to the smallest insecurity, but it knows... I know, it can never be recreated. Today, I am anew; a haunting, broken soul, forged and tempered in the darkest pits of the human imagination.
I see flashes of what I used to be, before this nightmare; desperate, scared, even delusional to a degree. In the flashes. I always see myself running, be it emotionally or physically. From an entity much more consuming than any soul could hope to bear; an entity composed not just of fear, but of despair. I spent days... weeks... maybe months running from it. I don't want to know how long it spent hunting me.
This entity had no name. It had no birth, no motive, no story. The only thing I believed, that I knew, was that it consumed. I looked into religion, cults, the paranormal, the perverse, even the unversed. This… evil, it was its own. I can’t believe it to have a soul. You cannot face something like this; its presence crushes hope, destroys life, overrides any thoughts, ambitions, dreams, facts, memories, beliefs… everything. In its presence, you are fear. You are the loosening grip before the fall, the desperate, pleading breath for air at the bottom of the ocean.
Maybe it was my persistence to maintain my sanity, maybe my hope for relief, or maybe just being toyed with, but I managed to elude the evil at every turn. The darkness wouldn’t take me just yet; it needed me weakened, broken, unable to fight. It followed me for so long, I lost track of where I was going. Places blurred, faces seemed the same everywhere, until I eventually stopped seeing either at all.
One night, it chased me into a forest. I saw the clouds overhead, obscuring the moonlight. As I made my way through, I couldn’t feel the evil following. It seemed to have relented, at long last. For the first time in… days…? Weeks…? Months maybe… I had hope. At this point, I don’t think I need to express just how ironic those blissful moments were.
As I navigated through the darkness, I stumbled upon what appeared to be a mangled tree, void of life. Attached to it, just at eye level, was a note.
DON’T LOOK… OR IT WILL TAKE YOU.
My heart began thudding violently. The forest began pulsating. The air itself had a heartbeat. I’ll never know. I took off, running, sprinting, fighting the panic so dangerously close to overtaking me. As I moved, the trees began meshing together, forming an impenetrable wall, forcing me to run the only direction I could. I kept thinking I saw something just beyond the tree line; I kept trying to convince myself I was wrong.
As I finally made it through the trees into a clearing, I staggered, trying to catch my breath. The pulsating began to feel quieter, until I looked ahead. There was a small building, an old locker room by the looks of things, abandoned and forgotten. After clearing my head, I moved inside, following what appeared to be a maze of decaying tiles and streaks of blackness. I eventually turned a corner and entered a small room, and, just as before, another note was waiting for me.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
I could feel the walls collapse. I could see the blackness enveloping the room. The black streaks changed shape, writing NO NO NO. I couldn’t think, or feel, or breathe. My body took off, leaving some part of me behind. As I was about to run back into the forest, I turned back. There he was. There it was.
It was as if my heart stopped. We saw each other, it advancing towards me. The world around me grew fuzzy, and all I could hear was this scream… it was as if whoever was screaming was having their voice ripped out. I’m terrified to think that it may have been my voice… it had to be his.
Just as I felt myself start to regain control, it appeared right in front of me. I could feel it staring at me, waiting for a move so it could attack. I heard the words, “no, no, no, No, No, No, NO, NO, NO, NO,” coming this time from myself, and just as I started screaming mindlessly, I felt him grab me.
Today, I woke, not as the person I was before. I can no longer speak but I still hear it. I can no longer see, but I still see him. I can no longer think. I can no longer feel. I can only follow. I can only take.