Her breathing was shallow, each inhale short and quick. It barely allowed her a real breath of air as she continued gasping as if she were about to suffocate. The attacks had gotten worse. Whenever it had occurred, dying was the only comparison that didn't feel so far from the truth.

Her parents tried to help. They were always so worried about her. Their sympathy was more of an unwelcome pity. She never asked to suffer this way, but the worse it became, the more she realized how she missed the past help. Her vulnerability was another side effect to it and she hated every second of it. Why? Because feeling trapped when you can fight is easier than being held by the throat.

Oh, the worry on their faces. She felt defenseless. She felt weak. She felt small. All these feelings and more did nothing but make it worse for her.

She remembered when she'd tried to fight back. It was once and only once, as trying again would only result in the same ending. That was all she really knew. She'd tried running, hiding, avoiding, and even fighting against It, but to no avail.

It was always there, the same as before. It had always been. Watching, waiting, and whispering. The ever constant whispering. It never actually got her until she lost it and could bear no more, screaming and hiding. Then It took her breath and held her by the throat, not hesitating so much as once nor making a sound. It controlled her.

She could hardly leave her home with it breathing down the back of her neck, a resting weight on her shoulders that threatened to pull her down should she let it. It followed her everywhere and waited patiently in the back of her mind. Always with Its whispering. It made the world a horror and her nothing more than a child crying in the night because of a dream…and that's all she really was. A child. Mentally, it had reduced her to a small, crying mess that could do nothing and was aware of its own vulnerability.

Not a phobia. Not a being. Not insanity.

Not her, but her. The darkest part of her that would never leave.

The comfort didn't help her. The meds didn't cure her. Their words didn't fix her. The promises didn't fill a void. The lies said to make her calm down were nothing more than that. Lies. They made it worse. Fighting always made it worse.

She couldn't even see it. It had no appearance: no face, no limbs, no body. Nothing. It was within her. It scratched at the corners of her mind, dwelling in the dark and showing itself in her darkest hours when she was alone. When night came, when she hid, when she cried, whenever It saw its chance to cause another attack. Then her lungs felt like fire, her throat tightened, and her mouth went dry. It enjoyed the pain in those eyes. Soft, round eyes that always held that underlying fear for It.

It fed off of that. Her fear, her anxiety…it fed off of itself. As long as it remained, It would never leave her. It would stay until death inevitably came for her.

Would it be gone?

Never. It still hides in the depths of the minds of few, torturing and chasing them in an endless cycle of calm, anxiousness, and horror.

For now, it haunts her. A phantom in her own mind. She can't control It with the stranglehold it keeps, making her fear nearly all that surrounds her. Constantly creeping just behind her, just out of sight but never out of mind.

It wouldn't kill her, but both knew very well that it could…she could. That's what angers it more. While it remains in control, her remaining is the only bit of defiance she has. She won't leave until death parts them.

Fine. She wants to play the game this way. Yes, within the fear in those big, teary eyes is defiance. Its hold can only get stronger for her. It only will get stronger. She lets it control her, but not take her. Let the suffering continue on, even with the constants that it throws her way. She still doesn't want to go. 

Her breathing began to get shallow and her chest tightened.

So be it.