We all know the “corner of the eye” feeling right? Everyone says it's caused by your lack of sleep or losing your mind or whatever, although I disagree with both of those. Who knows maybe they are right and this is all some messed up dream—no its a nightmare, no I’d say its more like your own personal Hell coming to life. Somewhere along those lines anyway, but surely just because we all have experienced it doesn't mean we all necessary have an idea about what it is? I for one know exactly what it is. Then again you’d have to think like me to understand.
Since I was little I've been told I have a vivid imagination. Almost everyone around me knew it too, they thought it was a good thing and at first I thought it was too. As I got older my friends "grew up" I guess you could say, their imagination grew thinner and thinner while mine only expanded significantly. By the age of thirteen, all of my friends grew out of the “monster in the closet” act. Yet I never really got past that stage, maybe it was just because I was a wimp, who knows? All I know is that ever since I was able to see the outside world, there would always be that one shadow lurking right out of my vision, but close enough that I could see its uncharacteristically huge grin that exposed almost shark-like teeth.
That was the figure I’d always see in my closet, and that my friends, is why I am an insomniac. That figure is the very bane of my existence, it mocks me whenever I so much as blink anymore. Of course nobody ever believed a five-year-old, but as I grew my parents suggested therapy for it, but I’d turn the recommendation down—knowing they would only fill my soul with empty lies about the figure.
At age thirteen, was when the shadow creature really started to get involved, and not just with my sleeping habits anymore. I would hear my name outside; inside my room, in the bathroom, just anywhere I was alone. Having enough common sense and knowledge about horror movies, I ignored it and moved on in my life. It work well for a long period of time...it worked almost too well, In fact, I didn't see it as much as I use to at night. I started to feel hopeful, I even stopped checking my closet every night.
As time went on my imagination was still as big as ever. I was in high school, senior year my life wasn't too bad. I could get enough sleep without worrying and come to class ready to take the day, head on. Turns out, I am pretty good at math when I’m not asleep in class! It was a huge relief to finally let go of the whole “monster in the closet” stage. I felt like a normal student for once, and I thought it would never come back.
I couldn't have been more wrong about my situation. I was studying for my upcoming science exam in my room upstairs. I was too busy furiously writing my notes, that I barely gave a second thought to the burning sensation that washed over me just then. I was in the middle of writing a paragraph when I got this overheating wave of who knows what, at the time I thought it was stress from all the homework I had to finish up after this science essay.
After finishing the essay I realized that I was sweating like it was the middle Summer, almost like it was one of those days where its one hundred degrees but it feels like you’re a baked potato in the shade. That kind of heat, it was the middle of Winter and I was sweating so much I felt like I could fill a swimming pool with all this sweat. I eagerly made my way to the window and didn't give a second thought of the outside world as I did. It was about sunset so it didn't seem like a bad idea, I only thought well, worse case a bunch of bugs fly in. Although it wasn't just bugs that happened to find a way in.
Wrong again. See, my desk was at the wall near my door, it was positioned so that my back was to the open window. I was so oblivious that I didn't mind at all what happened behind me. I continued to do my work in silence, but I ended up falling asleep when I was reading my assigned chapters for my book club discussion.
While I was snoring away the sun went down and a shadow made its way through my window, like ink soaking into the empty parchment papers, the shadow spread across my walls and they covered my carpeted floor. The only thing keeping the tainted shadows from my desk was the faint glow of my yellow feather lamp, it sat faithfully to the right side of my head, guarding me from the shadow’s torment.
I awoke with the sound of my phone ringing. The familiar tone seemed to be my wake up call from my dreamless sleep. I answered trying not to sound like I just awoke.
“Hello?” I managed to croak aloud.
There was only silence, no heavy breathing or any background noises. After a few awkward seconds I hung up confused at why there was a breeze in my room, then my memory returned soon after about me sweating and opening the window for some fresh air. I glanced behind me, the coast was clear of any strange appearances so I walked over casually and closed the window. As I made my way back to the desk I could have sworn I saw a cat with radiating crimson eyes and a shark-tooth grin. I jerked my head to where I saw it, seeing if it would still be there but it vanished...almost like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonder-Land. I gave out a chuckle at the thought of the Cheshire Cat stilling on my dresser staring at me. It seemed ridiculous, it seemed like something a child would dream of.
I stepped over to my desk, closing the book and shut off the light. I still regret turning it off to this day, I keep thinking: what if I kept it on? What if I never opened the window? What if I never answered the phone call? What if...? I got into bed, not bothering to worry about it anymore. I wait patiently for any sign of a tired feeling in my eyelids but nothing came. I was wide awake, and my eyelids felt weightless. I stared straight forward not daring to look at the window or at the dresser. Even though I was determined to just relax and sleep I found myself catching movement up on the ceiling.
I slowly looked up to my ceiling, I was greeted rudely with those red eyes. I swear they were looking past my pupils and was staring straight down into my soul. I was lost for words, I couldn't make myself say anything. My incapability only seemed to please it. Its grin seemed to grow wider, I’m sure it's not even possible for a shadow to smile. I lost it at that point, the second I got my legs to move I jumped out of bed and sprinted—like I was racing the world’s fastest fan-girl to get the last limited edition t-shirt on sale for half-off. For those of you who don’t know how fast that is...well let’s just say I was basically running for my life.
I swung my parent’s doors open and hid under the covers, like I was five years old again. My dad woke and in a sleepy rage he started to whisper yell at me to go back to my room but I refused and clung onto mom’s pillow. Luckily mom explained to my dad that if I was spooked this bad, then something was up. After all since I was what back then? 15, 16 maybe? That if I got scared that bad then it was serious, after that he rolled over onto his spot and started to snore.
That following morning my parents asked me non-stop about last night. I just shook my head and refused to say anything about that night. That’s when mom forced me to go to therapy. So she dragged me to a therapist that would, “Understand what I’m going through.” Even after I clearly stated no one will understand this, this is my nightmare born into reality.
So there I sat, in one of those recliner chairs staring into the eyes of the therapist. She tried asking me simple questions about school and my friends but I only stared at her, trying not to pay attention to her shadow behind her toss and turn around like a worm in the dirt.
After a few minutes I got up and explained that I need to use the restroom, and without waiting for a response I walked out the door only to wander the halls until I saw the sign for the bathroom. I dragged my fingers on the wall, as if to navigate where this labyrinth of a place would lead me. I entered the bathroom and finished doing my business quickly as I could.
I was drying my hands when my cell phone rang. Now who could that be? I thought to myself confused. No one really calls me, mainly because I never tell anyone my number but I answered anyway. It was the same silence just like the night before. I dropped my phone as soon as I heard the screams. Screams of an older lady....my therapist. I rushed through the halls to the room I had been in.
There was the lady, or at least what was left of her corpse. On the walls it was written clear and bold. You have no power here, you are mine. I watched as the lady’s shadow seemed to leak into mine like a snake slithering through a puddle. The minute they touched I started to feel warm again, the same sensation as that night. I passed out on the spot. Only to find myself wandering through a dark fog, clueless to where I was. The time seemed different here, it felt like I've been wandering for years even though I figured it's only been an hour since I passed out.
While I was in the foggy haze I felt the warm feeling fade, it faded until it left me shivering and helpless. I could almost picture myself walking around in reality again. In fact I seemed to be looking down at me, or at least my empty body, laying in a hospital bed grinning at the doctor. I saw myself watch the doctor leave the room and then I looked up.
I made eye contact with myself—no I made eye contact with it. It was gloating over its victory. I’d been furious at first but then I realized what I could do in here. Did you know how easy it is to travel through a shadow down to the living? Well let’s just say, I’ll be needing a vassal...I’m getting tired up here and I long to have a life again. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be my new vassal....