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The Hooded Figure

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It’s dark, a slight window glow to glaze over the room but you don’t need eyes to feel the cold and damp environment. Looked completely abandoned and in inhabitable conditions, however in the corner was someone. I can’t see a face, I’m stuck in third person’s view like watching through a camera I stare anxiously wondering what’s going on. The walls are nothing but concrete and the floor is cracked pavement, a prison what seemed fit for the evil. Light foot steps approach behind the door leading a deep nervous pain in my chest, the door rattles then with a loud slow groan it opens as if it pains it to move. Holding my breath I watch this figure walk slowly to the person crouched down in the corner, soft whimpers escape her and I see her looking up, my eyes widen and I lose my breath in confusion… It was me.

The figure watching me cry in the corner takes a deep, loud, relieving breath as if to say, “I've been waiting for this.” I want to scream but I’m choking, what the hell is going on here? A maniacal laugh echoes through the room sending chills through my spine and as much as I want to look away I couldn't help but be an undivided audience to this twisted scene. The unknown figure raises a gun slowly pointed to me in the corner, a scream pierces the thick silence and boom. One shot… I’m dead. My chest caves in wanting to know what’s going on wanting to know why this is happening and wanting to know why the hell I’m able to see it all… Why a second me has been victim to what seemed to be a merciless murderer. Or am I the second me…

The figure leaves the room quickly not bothering to shut the door, I feel stuck in place and I close my eyes to breathe in deep and pray it’s a nightmare. I open my eyes in hopes to be in my bed back home with a drowsy look about, half excited it’s a dream and other half wanting to wake up so I can’t continue it. I wasn't as lucky…

Suddenly I’m hung in the sky, another third view show? It’s as if I have no body and just floating eyes, however the agony was real when I looked to see a long wooden bridge overlooking a river and guess who’s walking along edged? Me… I clench my jaw nervous to death, what is going to happen this time? I feel uneasy and brushed with fear, I want to vomit and wake up from all this nonsense. On the bridge I finally sit down with my legs dangling over, couple 100 feet from the river chaotically rushing through. Again I want to look away, but something is weighing on my neck keeping me still in place. Was it an unseen entity or my deranged curiosity holding me there?

Footsteps approach walking slowly on the bridge, the wood thumping and creaking with every step. The me on the bridge seems to be unaware of this hooded presence however I was all too familiar with it. The same figure with the gun and with the cold, deep, bellowing laugh, please not again… I go to scream but what feels like a long frail hand cups around my throat and applies enough pressure to allow me to gasp for breath however keeping me silent, I try to whisper please stop but all that comes out is “don’t stop,” however not from me in the third view but from me on the bridge… The me on the bridge is just sitting there like open prey, a wounded animal lying in an open field for any predator to come take its kill. You foolish girl look behind you, it’s standing right there!

The figure crouches down behind me on the bridge, its face hidden by a hood but apparent it’s whispering something in my ear, I sit still looking down at the water swinging my legs away completely unaware of its existence. Either unaware or unbothered, or maybe in a dreadful reality, welcoming to it… My legs stop swinging as the figure crawls to the other side whispering into my other ear, wish I could hear what it’s saying or at least hear its voice. Its frigid laugh rings through the empty land around the bridge however softened by the sound of rushing water. What feels like a finger nail in the back of my head scratching relentlessly, I know this laugh…

Me on the bridge shifts her weight from side to side, what are you doing? She stands up and the figure mimics her moves in perfect structure as if they became one, at this point I take better observation of it. No feet? Now realizing their limbs fade into nothing like a tethered ghost out of any other paranormal movie. A cliché but once I think about it this is no movie, no Hollywood effects or graphic overlay this felt as lucid as it could get… The me on the bridge wraps a hand over her stomach, the figure opens its arms wide and so do I as if connected through strings, I’m nothing but a puppet now. Dread filled my eyes and I want to scream, but the hand still tight around my throat wasn't loosening grip anytime soon. I jump… And the figure behind me jumps too. But as I fall it floats there in air watching me with contorted movement skipping and twitching in place. I helplessly watch me fall into the water hearing the crackling of bones, my disfigured body laying on rocks, my whole body feels the impact but still alive to witness the ruthless pain. I’m finally released from the constraint but all I can do is sob to the point of losing my breath. Why the hell is this happening? Why the hell is it happening to ME, and who is this figure killing me off? My heart hurts, I feel as if a part of me goes with them every time… Help me.

The figure abruptly looks up to me, freezing me in place and holding my breath I’m consumed by terror. Has it been cognizant of me the whole time? Shaken and alarmed I stop crying and stare into the abyssal hood dying for a glance of its face, it raises its arm and a hand barely noticeable through the fade it points behind me… Do I dare look?

I close my eyes and breathe deep, I've gone this far and can’t get out and I’ll be damned to stick around. I open my eyes and the figure is gone, I count to three and turn around. What the-?

I’m standing in the middle of a road, nothing but deserted wasteland around me and wind picking up sand and dust at every chance, I cover my face as best I can while still being able to see. Hardly possible but no longer in third view, I am now finally conscious in my own body… Off in the distance down the road I see a silhouette, first gut feeling after sensing a theme I assumed the figure that’s been tormenting me. However, on this silhouette are wings wide and bold like a storybook angel. A small feeling of hope passes through me like the spray of water on a hot day, a glimpse of rescue… Despite what was first a perception of faith quickly turned into disaster. It was still the hooded figure, its wings torn and noticeably worn. I dropped to my knees feeling defeated and drained then slowly look up in hope I see its face however, I’m welcomed with pitch black nothing. “God help me,” I say out loud in a trembled voice.

What felt like an eternity passes, its wings slowly folds behind its back then grabs my shoulder aggressively pulling me to my feet in apparent anger. What have I done to deserve its hatred? My shoulder burns and I smell singed skin thick and heavy fill the air, distracted by horror I didn't notice the wind stopped but was still encircled around us. The eye of the storm I thought… I put on a brave face, It was nothing new to deal with confrontation for me I am a brick wall in all aspects of my dull struggled life, was easy to be callous to my surroundings, I’d be lying if I said I wasn't petrified though.

Impatiently waiting for its next move I recognize a feeling I've felt before although years ago. The feeling of rock bottom, desperate to be erased from existence, a feeling I felt the day I got a call of my mom passing... I take another chance to stare deep into the figures hood ignoring the mind numbing pain on my shoulder, would it ever let go? Please just let me see your face before you take me… A lengthy, deep, mundane, growl is released from the dark hood filling me with discomfort. What was it going to do next? And where will I end up afterwards… I raise my head a bit hiding the agonizing pain in my shoulder I finally speak, “Why are you here?” A single question vaguely answered by a single answer… “I am born from you”.

Before I knew it the figure’s hand grabs the top of my head, one after another memory rushes into my mind in a blazed speed. Memories of me being envious, doing nothing with my days, pushing anything good for me away, ignoring my family, avoiding social interaction, setting a path for self destruction and living an empty tedious life that I've created and would undoubtedly end up at the bottom of a bottle and a handful of pills. A copious amount of memories flashing within seconds, then let’s go laughing with a malevolent force as if satisfied with my onset guilt and disgust for myself. Paralyzed with disgrace I clench my chest being overwhelmed with the realization I don’t deserve to breathe or live. I don’t deserve a life I was never grateful for and took for granted, devoured in my own self pity, I am unworthy… But how was this figure born from me and why? What is its purpose to feed off my degrading existence?

Once again in a trembled shameful voice I asked, “But why are you here?”

Its cold hand shoves into my chest too quick for me to flinch, the feeling of a frozen soul as if being frost bitten from the inside out. I gaze into the dark hood completely stunned, it leans in close while its other hand comes from behind its head and gradually pulls the hood down. Now I've come face to face with it… With me…

I let a pitiful tear run down my cheek, somehow colder than my body. This figure the whole time, killing me off and tormenting my mind was just me all along… I've become my own worst nightmare, and if this wasn't enough it grumbles in amusement by my forfeit, my obvious acceptance of being conquered. It raises me in the air, an expression of pride and pleasure on its face however an expression I myself have never declared, like looking through a mirror but with a mocking reflection… Just end me…

It opens its mouth to an impossible extension, as if unhinging like a snake a boisterous yell is released and a blinding light following its action. I feel it release my chest and arms wrap around me from behind with the feeling of pulling me away and aura of sanctity. When the light clears I’m all alone on a road, no wind, no dust, no sight of the paradoxical me. Somewhat relieved I look around breathing heavy but clear. Like a weight on my shoulders has been lifted, as if I’m reborn with a new sense of perseverance to thrive. I felt alive for the first time in my life…

A rush of warm gusts hit my back in the gentlest manner and I fainted falling forward but somehow unafraid. I open my eyes and I’m standing in the middle of what would be a busy road on a meridian, however it’s apparent it’s early in the morning without a vehicle around. For the first time in my pathetic existence I was walking the streets taking in the cool Alaskan air, I throw my hands in my pockets and look up to the barely dark night where the sunglow is constant during our summers and let out a sigh of relief. Feeling a piece of paper in my left hand I curiously take it out and read it.

“I’ll always be around.” The paper is caught by a subtle breeze and flows away, as I watch it I notice the figure in the distance as the paper passes it clearly acting as a signal. I smile lightly and put my hands back in my pockets mouthing the words “Thank you” to it, and walk away with a newfound sense of appreciation. A second chance at life…

I’ll never understand the extraordinary events, but I’ll be forever thankful. A shot to redeem deplorable life, and myself but a shot I wont waste, not this time at least. I don’t think I’ll even disrespect the chance with the question “why?” I’ll just take it and use it the best I can. Motivated to live life right this time…

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