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I was always a rather rational person, even as a child. I usually understood the "hard facts" of life quite easily, even if I didn't like them, but, most often, I wouldn't care about such things. To a child, the somber world of adults is a distant, uninteresting and almost incomprehensible thing.
I was like that: I wasn't shocked easily unless the matter directly affected me. How selfish...
11 years ago, my paternal grandmother began to show signs of Alzheimer's. She started to forget things, just minor details; where she had left the keys, some names, nothing too worrisome. But slowly, it got worse.
I asked my parents what was happening and they told me about the disease. They said that she would eventually forget everything. Who we were, who she was, what her own life had been like. Everything.
As always, I didn't show any signs of being shocked or scared. How could that be true? It only happened in cartoons and movies, not in real life, or so I thought. I began to think that they had told me a lie. It hadn't been the first time that they lied. Once, they had told me that a cooked asparagus was potato, just so I'd eat it. I had never forgiven them for that, even though it had been sort of funny (something which I never admitted).
However, it turned out, as the months and years passed, that they were, after all right. My grandmother, who had let me stay at her house so many times, during holidays or in days in which the school wouldn't open, had forgotten me. She had forgotten my father, my uncle and everyone else. I was sad.
But I was scared as well. I didn't understand why, no one did, but once the disease really got to her, she began to say only one sentence:
I didn't understand why almost no one would comfort her when she whimpered those words. My father wouldn't, nor would my uncle. At least the kind maid, who took care of her, did his best. But I didn't. I didn't comfort her because I didn't know what to do, I was just her grandson... I didn't know what was scaring her.
Eventually she was moved to a nursing home in another town, very far from ours, against the will of my parents. Only rarely were we able to visit her, but, when we did, it would be strange, scary. It hurt that she didn't know me any longer, but had taken care of me for years. It hurt that she could barely walk, but she had always enjoyed strolling in her garden with me. The only thing she knew was that little phrase:
She passed away when I was 14, with no one that loved her by her side. I wasn't allowed to go to her funeral. At first it didn't hit me, but some months later, I was devastated. But my parents had no idea. I only cried silently, whilst in my bed.
I'm 22 now, I'm pretty much a man. I enjoy the finer activities, like reading, and studying ancient cultures, mythologies and languages. Perhaps it is my passion for these things that sometimes make me wonder about the more strange side of existence.
If you do a quick search on Wikipedia for Alzheimer's disease, it will tell you that the major symptom of the illness is long-term memory loss, along with confusion and mood-swings. Yet, the exact causes are unknown. The experts state that the cause is certainly neurological - somewhat similar to Parkinson's - and probably genetic. But it can't be just that, it can't!
What if the source isn't in the brain, but somewhere else? What if those who suffer from Alzheimer's can see what we cannot? What if they, by being deprived of greater neurological activity, began to perceive other things? After all, many ancient cultures believed that afflictions were caused by malevolent entities.
My grandmother used to say that she was scared, she said it time and time again. But it was a whisper, a feeble whimper, which grew just a bit louder when people were around her.
I think she was asking for help. I think she knew that something was happening to her, but she couldn't tell us, because they made sure that she had no capability of doing it.
I think - no! - I know that they select some few and force them to bow down to their power, eroding their victims' bodies and minds. And no matter how much they attempt to call for help, to be noticed, to tell us - relatives and friends - what's being done to them... we'll just think that they're going crazy. And then, they give up fighting. They allow them to take their souls. They do it escape to those horrors that only they can see.
And then, they wait. They wait for the next ones in the family line to grow old, and ever more frail. That is when they can show their incomprehensible visages and latch on, draining the mental strength of their victims, until one more soul can be taken somewhere...
My 57 year-old father is showing early signs of Parkinson's. I think they have found him, and if they have, he... he should die now. I don't want him to go with them, to that place where they come from.
Promise me that if you ever see them, that you'll end your life, because I don't think there is another to escape. They're always watching, but we can't see them until it's too late.