He uttered a curse under his breath, as he had realized he left it at his friend’s house. It was his phone, an iPhone 3G to be more specific and it was a device he used almost every hour. His friend’s house was maybe three blocks away, and he had an important call he was expecting later that night. He would have to go get it, but there was one severe impediment preventing him from doing this. He had horrid achluophobia, fear of the darkness. It was about ten o’ clock now, and it was almost pitch-black outside. The only thing making the streets even partially visible were the dim, flickering street lamps.
He would have to go out there now, before he missed the call. It wasn’t worth being fired just because of his fear. He took his first step out his front door with trepidation, and a shaky foot. He began walking slowly down the sidewalk in the direction of his friend’s house. He lived in a quiet, suburban neighborhood, where shady characters were few. It was only his achluophobia that transformed the peaceful night town into a dangerous and malevolent place for him to be. He continued walking slowly down the dark sidewalk, the cold air weighing down on his neck. He began to make out something in the dark, several houses down across the street. The shape was vaguely human, though it was too dark to really make out a definite form. This caught his attention, and he felt his phobia intensify. The air felt colder, and heavier.
He began to walk, out of curiosity, towards the figure. He felt the malicious vibe from the eerie shape hit him like a shockwave as he walked across the street towards it. These shockwaves came in intervals, and the third one, combined with the weight of the freezing air, managed to knock him off his feet. As he began to regain his footing, he noticed the figure was gone. He attempted to brush it off and continued on, he was about half-way to his destination now. He took a glance at his watch; the glass was quickly fogged up by his breath. He cleaned the glass with his sleeve, to find the the time was about 10:02 pm. The bizarre thing, as he noted, is that he left at ten o’ clock, give or take a minute or so, and yet only two minutes had passed according to the watch.
He knew that this couldn’t be correct, as he had to have been walking at least seven minutes now, and that it usually took him fifteen or so minutes to walk there normally. Once again, he brushed it off as merely a fault with the watch. He continued his trek, oblivious to the oddity that not a single car had passed him on the road. He began to feel a cool wind go down the back of his shirt. The wind breezed down his shirt in short bursts, as if somebody was breathing right down his neck.
He felt his body begin to shiver, as he slowly turned around. The feeling of dread only escalated, until he saw that there seemed to be nobody there, and began to calm down once again. He turned back on his way, now almost to his journey’s end, only to feel a sharp jolt in the side of his thigh, not dissimilar to the feeling of begin violently stabbed in the side with a kitchen knife. He collapsed and let out a screech of agony, as the feeling quickly overtook his body and he began to witness blood pouring out from his ears, and cockroaches emerging from his skin.
He shot himself up in his bed in a frenzy of angst, quickly realizing the ordeal must have been a mere nightmare. He shoddily placed his hand on the spot on his nightstand where his phone usually was, hoping the familiar feeling of his phone would help to calm him down. Instead, it only served to worsen his state, as all he felt was the smooth wood of his nightstand. At first, he thought he had merely misplaced it, so he decided to perform a quick inspection of his room to see if he could find it. It was still dark out, so it must have been around four or five o’ clock. He promptly walked over to the lightswitch to lighten up his dark and gloomy room. As he flicked the switch up, the room still remained dark. He flicked the switch down, thinking it hadn’t registered for whatever reason, and flicked it back up again. Again, the room was still dark.
Perhaps the switch was broken? His phobia once again began to take effect, and he slowly began to panic yet again. He put his hands against the wall, to help guide him towards where he was headed. He walked slowly and shakily over to his nightstand, and grappled for his flashlight. When he grabbed hold of his flashlight, he hastily slammed a finger down on the ‘ON’ button. Nothing. Nothing at all. He began to look around the room, none of the blinking lights on his computer were present, nor were the lights on any other electrical devices in his room. He made his way over to the window and looked outside. All of the street lamps were off; the only light he could see was the dim light of the moon outside.
He grabbed a clock off of his desk and held it up to the window, hoping to get a glance of the time. What he saw on the clock was the time 00:00. Unable to grasp what was happening to him, he decided to head to his friend’s house again, in a desperate move to contact another human. He stepped outside, and once again began slowly walking down the sidewalk. All he could hear now was a faint buzzing, like the distorted static on a television set. He couldn’t even hear the sound of his own footsteps. The air was very, very cold, and was extremely heavy now. Walking through it felt like walking at the bottom of a pool, the pressure of water on your shoulders, and the thick Jell-O like feeling of the liquid against your skin. He pressed on, growing increasingly tired, as the buzzing grew even louder. It seemed the louder the buzzing grew, the slower he walked through the dense air.
He walked slower and slower, until eventually he was walking about one step per every five minutes. He quickly lost a sense of time, as he was dragged into a calm and sleepy state of euphoria. His walk slowed to hours, to days, to weeks. All the while everything remained completely dark, except for the shallow glow of the moon above him. Eventually, after what must have seemed like months and months, he reached the door to his friend’s house. As soon as he placed his hand on the doorknob of the front door, suddenly, it seemed as if time resumed itself normally. Nothing felt incredibly slow as it did on the walk over, and it looked as though his sense of time had come back.
He stepped into the house, where the air was not as heavy nor as cold. The house, like all the appliances at his own house, appeared to have no electricity. Not even battery-powered devices were working. It was incredibly dark inside, almost pitch-black if not for the dull moonlight shining through the windows. He walked cautiously around the house, until he found himself in the kitchen. He felt around with his hands until he caught hold of that appeared to be a handle. He quickly realized that this was the handle for the refrigerator door. He pulled it open, and suddenly an atrocious smell rushed up his nostrils, and he recoiled back and clutched his nose in horror. The light from the kitchen window barely lit the horrid scene. The fridge appeared to be full of rotten fruits, if they were fruits at one point, as now they were disgusting piles of fungi and bacteria. There were maggots living in the fungi and crawling all along the fridge walls. The cheeses and meat, too, had gone bad, and were also reduced to mortifying piles of smelly, wretched goo.
He quickly slammed the door shut, and the smell thankfully began to weaken. This time, he decided he would make his way up to the bedroom, so he made his way down the hallway and up the stairs. As soon as he opened the door to the bedroom, an extremely unpleasant smell not dissimilar to the smell of the fridge rot entered his nose. He also heard a faint sort of squeaking noise as he entered, followed by a light pitter-patter on the carpet. He could hardly make out a vague human-like shape lying on the bed. He assumed it was his friend, possibly sleeping? It was still dark out, so he could have been. Then again, it’s been dark for a good long while now. How long again? He still didn’t know. All of the digital clocks still read 00:00 and all of the mechanical clocks appeared to have the clock hands removed. He gently put a hand on his friend, the surface of the skin was very rough and he seemed to be very thin. He put a hand over his head, and he wasn’t breathing. He walked over to the window so he could let light into the room. He hesitated for a tad, afraid of what he would see, before pulling the curtains open and letting the moonlight into the room. What he saw was too much, as he collapsed onto all fours and vomited onto the bedroom floor. There was a glossy, cobweb-covered skeleton lying on the bed, it looked like it had been there for centuries. There was a small family of rats living in the ribcage.
It was then he began to feel very light-headed. He felt as if he was floating away from his body, as he slowly lost consciousness and his limp body crashed to the floor. At that moment, everything around him began to fade away. Slowly, bit by bit, the things around him began to lose their opacity until there was nothing at all. Nothing, but his inert body. Just then, figures began to appear around him. The figures were tall, black, and blurry even up close. They emitted a strange sort of buzzing sound, and with that his unconscious body, too, began to fade away into nothingness. With nothing here except for the figures, they began to construct a new terrain solely by the strength of will. The scene began to build itself again.
A typical suburban house began to take shape as the figures who were presumably controlling this operation stared on. After the house was built, they began creating the house’s decor, placing framed pictures and other such things around. By the time they had finished it looked like a house that just your normal everyman would be living in. They began to form other things, like the blue sky, the sun that would light it, they even created the laws of this miniature world, placing in things like gravity. The filled the place with a cool, nice air to breathe in. At this point, the area was nothing more than a mere house just floating about, with a blue sky above and a brilliant sun. They created a large, empty field and planted the house down on it, as if it were a lonely farmer’s living.
They started to create a large hedge maze, the largest one fathomable, and placed it right outside the house. The maze was so massive, that you couldn’t see the end of it, assuming there was an end, for at least a hundred or so miles. They connected the entrance to the hedge maze to the front and only door to the house, so that if somebody were to walk out they would find themselves in the maze. It was at this stage that they began to form the specimen, if you will. A human specimen began to take form, and they began filling its head with knowledge and memories. By the time the process was complete, he was a totally normal human with totally normal human memories and a totally normal human life- well, as far as he knew it was a normal life he had been living up until now. There was one striking thing, though.
This one was claustrophobic.