It's 2 am and the house is quiet. Youtube is playing in the background and I've pu the kettle on for tea. Every light in the house is on and I sit with my back to the wall: laptop open, fingers busy. I just got a new work assignment yesterday and I've only got a couple weeks to pull it all together. Ah, the joys of freelancing.
I reach back to rub my sore neck. Tensions hae been high lately with the holiday season looming on the horizon. I should be asleep. I know being up at night is no good. I know I should keep more normal hours, but I can't. Night time means darkness, and darkness...means a visitor. I've kept her away for three days now, staying up all night and sleeping all day, but I know it won't be long until she shows up.
She's been with me since I was a child. My earliest memories are of us, alone in my room. I've never liked her. She's tall, and dark, with long teeth and even longer claws. Her arms are too long, her face too ugly, and her hair writing like something living. I'm never sure if the black shrouding her is clothing...or more of that horrible, twisting hair. She reeks of rot and old books and her every movement is rustling. The worst thing is her shadow, looming large over the wall, melding with other innocent shadows to form a mural of writhing nightmares on my wall. It's hellish.
The only thing good about her is her voice. Well, it would be if she used it for anything worthwhile. It's so quiet, so smooth, it could honestly decieve a less aware person. It is the voice of the mother crooning to her fussing babe; of the lover, whispering the sweet promises of passion; of the priest, intoning the rites of salvation to the huddled masses on a Sunday. I wish I could block it out. I wish I didn't have to listen to her. I don't want to hear her but I can't stop. No matter how tightly I stop my ears, no matter how loudly I hum or how fervently I pray, I still hear her.
She is mean sort of thing. Her sole reason to be seems tied to my misfortune. Everything from the antics of a poltergeist, to the calculated destruction wrought by a demon is in her per view. On good days she might whisper cruel taunts as I bathe or wrap her hand around my throat and choke off my words in front of a client. When this gets boring, she likes to make shadows leap at me from the corners of my eyes while I drive or sit on my chest while I struggle to breathe.
The worst days are a carnival of madness and pain. She will lie on top of me, pummeling me relentlessly as she screams her hatred in my face. If I manage to push her off she will chase me through the house, shadows leaping toward me as she grabs my legs to weigh me down. Stoves will seem to burn hotter and the smell of burning will fill the air. Cracks form in the cielings and strange gurgling squeals come from the pipes. Doors rattle as though someone is frantically demanding entry and the windows will momentarily flash leering faces. All the while, she talks to me. She recounts my failures and sings my fears in a chorus of agnoy.
I've tried doctors. I've tried religion. I've turned to drugs, alchohol, sex and mutilation. Everything just makes her bolder. As soon as I escape one game, she comes up with something new. She is smarter than me, or at least more determined. She will not forgive me for avoiding her all this time. As I type this I can hear her growling and I feel the heavy cold rising up from beneath my feet.
I want nothing more than to grab her writhing hair and drag her up to face me. I want to stare into her eyes as I beat her senseless. I want to watch her face shift and change as I wrap my hands around her throat and crush her in my bare hands. I want to see every drop of the pain she's inflicted leak from between my hands...but I can't. As soon as I grab her, she disintegrates. If I chase her, she laughs. If I strangle her, she calls out to me in the voices of those I hate the most or surrounds me with images from my nightmares.
The cold is getting worse. I run to my bathroom and fumble in the medicine cabinent for my only weapon. A handful of pills, all shapes and sizes, seem to glow in my hand as I hear her infuriated hiss. I swallow quickly, choking them down, and a faint smile crosses my lips. She can't follow me into my dreams like this. No matter how she slaps me or how cold she makes it, she can't drag me from this medicinal embrace. Even as she mocks me in the voice of an enemy, I know that the night is mine. Tomorrow we will meet again. Tomorrow we will fight again. This is a game to her, and one she never intends to stop playing.
Anxiety is Hell.