I wake up with my eyes on the dark shape in the corner of the room. As she comes closer, I extend my arm with a deep sigh and feel the sharp fangs burrow into my wrist. I clench my teeth and try to ignore the repulsive chewing sound. After a few minutes she darts away. I sit down and catch my breath, preparing for the rest.

A beast-like hand reaches up from under the bed and start scraping the skin off of my leg. I endure the pain and wait patiently. I take a quick glance at my mangled wrist as it reforms itself. I’m used to the pain; it has become no more than a nuisance by this point. As the hand retracts back under the bed, I stand up and make my way to the door. The routine continues.

The doppelganger waits for me in the hallway. His unstable shape slightly flickers in the light of the lamp. I remind myself that it will be over quickly and silently watch his fingers shift into wicked claws. This one is not so easy to get used to. He lunges forward, his claws aimed directly at my eyes. I scream and drop down to my knees as I feel him reach all the way into my skull. His fingers slowly withdraw, as my tormentor prepares for the main dish. I feel both hands plunge into my chest. An inhuman cry exits my mouth, as he opens my ribcage and stomach in a single motion. Even as the pain drives most thoughts from my mind, I can’t help but notice that his hands are trembling. I remember the girl; her hair didn’t fully cover her face this morning, I could almost make out her eyes. And the hand under the bed was so slow; I would be able to run away if I tried. Are they getting weaker? My thoughts are interrupted by another spike of pain as my double begins his meal. He went for the liver this time; it was his favourite. Finally, the monster backs away, satisfied. I feel my ribs bend back into place just as I regain vision. “Not your best day,” I say with a brief laugh.

You may have a lot of questions. Let me explain. I’m just like you. No, I am you. I go to the same job as you. I have the same friends and family. I eat the same food, watch the same shows and wear the same clothes. The only exception is that every imaginary fear you ever come across arrives here to torture me. Every time you watch a movie or read a book you create another monstrosity to feast on me. Every time you wonder if there is something in the closet, under your bed or in that strange-looking shadow, it’s there for me. Every time your sick mind comes up with another grotesque abomination just for fun, I have to pay for it. My wounds always heal; the people around me never notice a thing. Even if someone else is killed, they just come back to their usual life the next day. My body can’t die, but my mind was on the brink of insanity more than once. Despite it all, I endured. Soon I found out that all they need is fear and pain. They feed on it. The ones that wield great power and destroy whole civilizations need it the most and so they were first to die when I started to accommodate. Before long I found that hunger was their weakness. When they were starving, I could run or even fight. That’s when I was offered a deal, my willing cooperation for a chance to escape.

I’m sure you’re starting to catch on. I am the most real thing in this world. Everything else is either a figment of your imagination or no more than walking scenery. And yet you never acknowledged my existence, until now. The more you think of something the more power it gets here, and I can already see the effects. It wasn’t easy to get your attention, but my new friends were eager to help. It may seem strange to you that I’m admitting to this so plainly, but if there is one thing I know about us it’s that I would not stop reading, so neither will you. I used to hate you. I used to despise you for all the pain you’ve caused me. I used to curse your name and hope that your life will be filled with ten times the suffering I had to go through. Not anymore. I don’t care for what I had to endure, I care for them. I had to watch the most magnificent creatures collapse in agonizing hunger. At first it was pleasant; I wanted them to die. I wanted them to suffer for what they’ve done to me, but in time I learned something. They weren’t evil. It was simply their being. You put them in a world where I was their only way to survive. My hatred for them finally disappeared, when I watched a small girl sob on the floor, begging for my blood. That’s when I accepted their offer. As the fabric of this place rips, I see the true world shine in all of its glory. I begin to laugh as wildly as the things that once tortured me.

We are here and we are coming for you.