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Sleeping Shadows

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I can't feel.

I can feel the soft sheets beneath me, I can feel the dirt, dead skin, and my dried bodily fluids. I can feel the ringing in my ears. I can feel the sunlight shining through the window hurting my eyes. I can feel the single pillow I have, harshly thrashed from long nights of trying to get comfortable, cradling my head.

But I can't feel.

From the other room a noise arises. "That's odd," I think to myself "nobody is ever here. Nobody even knows I'm in this room. This building has been abandoned for years." I contemplate getting up to check the noise. Instead I raise my head lightly, and open my eyes. In the doorway, for only a split second, I saw a cloaked figure. It closely resembled a shadow, but with oddly recognizable features. I quickly hid back into my pillow, first piecing together whether what I just saw was real, or if i was in a dream of some sort. Upon realizing that no, I was not in a dream, I then tried to figure out what I just saw. It did not take long before I realised it was the spitting image of my grandmother. Only she no longer had the soft smile that I had once seen her with, and she had dark rings around her eyes.

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I look up to the doorway to see if she is there again, but I can only see the empty rooms that are the rest of the house. There is nothing here other than these sheets, this pillow, and my body. I came here nearly two weeks ago to escape. I wait here to die. I passed off the earlier vision of my grandmother as a hallucination. 'Yeah, that's it," I said "My mind is just trying to scare me into leaving, but I can't leave. I can never leave."

I wake up hours later, drenched in sweat, although I can feel the cold floor beneath me. "I must have shifted and moved the sheets." My mind stated, full of confidence. I scrambled for the blankets, but to no avail. After nearly 10 minutes of the constant struggling to find them, I finally decided enough was enough. I began to raise to my feet. I never knew such pain in my life, just from a task I before knew as the simplest thing in the world. Upon reaching the lamp at the opposite corner of the room, I switched it on. Somehow, hanging from the obsolete ceiling fan, were my sheets. I don't know if it was the lack of sleep, or the lack of food, but I thought nothing of it at the time. I pulled the sheets down, only to have my hand grabbed by a black, almost gaseous, hand. I felt the singe of flesh and cringed in pain before it dissapated into thin air.

"Escape from here." a voice whispered.

But it wasn't any voice. It was the voice of my grandmother once more. I wasn't understanding this. Before life had come to this I lived with my grandmother in Toronto, where she put me through school until one day I dropped out of college and moved here to Berlin. Three years later, I came to this apartment building that had been abandoned since before I was even born. I hadn't even spoken to her in that time, much less her know where I live.

"Escape"

That voice again. I hide my face in my pillow to not see the horrifying things that I have already witnessed.

"Escape now"

"Just let me die in peace." I think to myself

Suddenly a hand clasps my shoulder very painfully and rolls me over in my sheets. A very white face gleams at me, mouth unhinged, much like a serpent about to devour it's prey.

"GET OUT OF HERE NOW!" it screams, rattling my ear drums, vibrating my entire body.

I run to the hallway, adrenaline willing me to keep going. I need to do one thing, and one thing only. Figure out why I'm seeing my grandmother in this terrifying way.

I run to the nearest phone booth, thankfully a nice young woman was willing to loan me change to pay the fee. I place a long-distance call to my grandmother's home, and am met by the cheerful voice of my grandfather.

"Hello?" he answers quizically

"Grandfather it's me, (REDACTED), are you and Grandmother alright?" I quickly rush to say

"(REDACTED), it's so good to finally hear from you again! Yes, we are fine here! Where are you calling from? Are you in trouble?" He asks in a flurry of worriness.

"Yes Grandfather I am fine, thank you. I have to go now." I state clearly to him before hanging up the phone. I wanted out of this phone booth. People were gathering around me, seeing this very dirty, skinny man, who is obviously not well. I attempted to open the door, but it would not budge. I shook it, pulled it, pushed it, moved it in every direction I could in our three-dimensional plane. I attempted to break the glass at any side, but I could not muster the strength to do so. People were pointing and laughing, mocking and taunting. This is why I needed to escape in the first place. I then decided it was time to call the emergency services. I picked up the phone, put it next to my ear and waited for the dial tone to begin dialing. I was not met with a dial tone. I waited a very long time, only to hear that same, familiar voice again.

"You need to Escape"

That's when I woke up

I can't feel.

I can feel the soft sheets beneath me, I can feel the dirt, dead skin, and my dried bodily fluids. I can feel the ringing in my ears. I can feel the sunlight shining through the window hurting my eyes. I can feel the single pillow I have, harshly thrashed from long nights of trying to get comfortable, cradling my head.

But I can't feel.

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