Alone In The Dark
I lie here awake everyday, surrounded by four blank walls, the room illuminated by artificial light. I am aware of my surroundings but only just. I sense the grey shapes that come to administer to my needs, to shine bright lights into what they think are unseeing eyes, to bathe and change me, to pull and prod. I’m sure they mean well.
Where am I? And how did I get here? I can no longer remember, sometimes I think I have memories but I confuse them with my dreams. I do sleep you see. I’m aware of the lights going on and off periodically. Although I cannot make out their features or make sense of their words I know the shapes discuss me. I try to communicate truly I do, but it’s useless. It’s hard to explain, imagine living in a dark rabbit hole with barely enough room for your body, you can see the light at the entrance but it is covered by thick glass, all you can hear are mumbled sounds and see blurred images.
Everyday the entrance to the rabbit hole gets further away. At first I fought it with everything I had, I willed myself towards the opening, pleading with the grey shapes to hear my cry and pull me free, to rescue me from the darkness, to liberate me from this black prison. At first I wanted to be free, unchained from this living hell.
Time became meaningless to me, days blended into night and became weeks, maybe months or years, but then again maybe not, it has become irrelevant, I neither know nor care. I no longer call out to the shapes, or scream, as I once did when the lights were turned out, not to leave me alone to face the terrors that came to visit. Nightmares conjured from my own imagination. Demons and monsters that taunted and tormented me. Trapped, I was easy prey to them, they fed off my fear and loneliness.
Dark winged creatures with red gaping maws and fangs glistening with poisonous secretions, bone white man-shaped hideous beings with claws and grotesque bulbous heads. Fat, scaly, bloated shapes with dagger like teeth, bulging eyes and flickering forked tongues. Every horror my imagination could conceive, every night time terror I ever had come to life, made real by my confinement.
How I screamed, how I struggled, night after night, trapped inside my own head with my nightmares. The lights go down, I struggle to break free, invisible bonds hold me tight as they approach. I can hear the rustling of leathery wings, the click of talons on the floor, the terrifying sound of their growls. I imagine their claws ripping my flesh, their sharp fangs sinking into my exposed throat.
Where can I go? What can I do? Nothing, nothing but retreat. Retreat? I flee, get the hell away, deeper and deeper into the cavernous expanse of my uncharted mind. How can I run from my own imagination? Can I escape from my own thoughts, my own dreams? With the horrors of my own creation feeding off me.
I can hide from them, there are places inside my mind that only I can go, but it takes me further away from the light. I imagine a vast ocean, a huge expanse with warm, welcoming water, protecting and sheltering me. It’s there now, waiting for me, a calm friendly place where I can go, where the demons cannot follow. The temptation to walk into the water is huge, to keep walking until I am submerged beneath the rippling waves.
I step closer, I can sense the terrors tensing. I can hear the voices of the grey shapes beyond the light becoming animated and excited, I still cannot make out the words.
Another step, the water swirls around my feet, lapping at my ankles. The monsters writhe and scream as if I am causing them agonising pain. They need me, they need to feed off my fear.
Up to my waist and I can hear a very loud, high pitched noise. I need to cover my ears. The grotesque creatures are all writhing on the ground in agony. The noise is coming from behind them, from beyond the opening of the rabbit hole. A hand reaches out from the light, I hear a voice calling to me, urging me back, calling for me not to give in. I start to walk back, but the creatures stir, gaining strength as I come back out of the water.
I’m afraid. They snarl and roar, their hunger driving them wild.
“We’re losing him, Doctor.” The first words I can make out, I can see a face peering through the hole. One of the creatures opens black leathery wings and starts to rise.
I can’t go back. I can’t face them. I walk back into the water, I wont stop.
The light goes out. Forever.