As I lie in my bed, I allow my mind to drift into the depths of my personal despair. I bury my face beneath the sheets, stifling my sobs as they shudder through my body. I feel as though my heart has been broken and I can’t think of a reason to live. Other than, of course, my own sad fear of death. I pull my knees to my face, willing myself to accept the ultimatum.
A coldness traipses down my back, instantly riddling my flesh with goosebumps. I tremble under the blankets as the room begins to groan. I hear something crawling about, something fast. I tell myself I’m only imaging things and try to get warm again. However, the longer I wait the colder the room becomes.
Unable to bear the chill any longer, I crawl out from under my bedding. Perhaps my parents have turned down the heat in another depressing attempt to save money. I sit up, blinking in the darkness, waiting for my eyes to adjust. I wait for a long time, but the room only seems to grow blacker.
Something is dripping from the corner of the ceiling. It is darker than the shadows, enveloping the room as it to spreads across the walls, slowly encasing it in perfect black.
I shake my head and rub at my eyes. I’m seeings things.
The room is impossibly freezing. I shivering uncontrollably in the pitch colored room. I can’t even see my hand in front of my face. My pulse quickens, and despite the cold, I’m sweating. I don’t know what’s going on, and I want to wake up. That’s the answer. This has to be a dream.
Even though the room has been cast into ebony, I can see something move. I hear the pitter patter of a small creature crawling again, and it’s coming closer to me. I hear it climb onto the bed, and feel it walk across my legs. I need to get away, but I’m frozen.
The animals steps into my lap, then practically slithers up arm. It’s the size of a cat and has a wet texture, as if it’s covered in slime. A gargling noise comes from the little creature as it cranes its lizard-like head towards mine. The sides of its snout part, glowing white in a heinous smile lined in running ink. It emits another small sound, like something purring and drowning at the same time.
It lifts up a tiny, three fingered hand and pulls on my lip. My jaw goes slack against my will; I’m still paralyzed.
The lizard places its snout on my tongue. It tastes disgusting, like tar and ink. It is also terribly cold. Without warning, it shoves its entire head into my mouth, the tip of its muzzle pushing against the back of my throat.
I gag, bile surging up from my gut. The thing crawling into my maw doesn’t have bones, it’s wholly made of icy, but fluid tar. It’s using its hand-like feet to work its way father into my esophagus. My eyes feel like they’ll pop out of my head as the monster is blocking my airway. Half of it has already impossibly disappeared into my throat. I can feel it pushing out from inside of my neck, causing the skin bulge like a recently fed serpent.
Tears stream my face, their warmth starkly contrasting with the icy atmosphere. I begin to feel faint, my eyes roll back and my body grows limp.
The creatures hind legs slip through, leaving only its tail protruding from between my lips. It lashes back and forth once before melting into my mouth like the rest of its body. It slides down my throat, presumably into my stomach. My insides feel bloated and I can’t stay awake. In seconds, my world is encased in a different kind of black.
I wake into what must be the following morning. My room is as it should be, with golden sunlight bathing the walls with warmth. I get out of bed and stand in the sunshine, basking in its heat, however small it may be. I concede that I’ve just had the worst dream of my life. And I feel wretchedly tired because of it.
I gaze longingly at my bed more than once as I ready myself for the day. My heart is still heavy, and I wonder if I’ll even make it through. Something has changed, though, I haven’t a clue what.
My day wears on, the typical life of a student. I go from class to class, come home, sit with my family, and return to my room. I hear my mother call me back down, but I’m too exhausted to comply. All I can do is sleep. So curling once more onto the bed, my eyelids fall.
Before I know it, I am roused once more by sunlight. I didn’t sleep well, although, I don’t recall waking in he night. I must have been disturbed, for I am more restless than yesterday. Despite this, I go through my routine effortlessly. My parents haven’t the slightest inclination that all I want to do is go back to bed.
I blink, and I’m on the school bus. I’m not going to school, but coming home. The entire day has slipped through my fingers in a blur. When did that happen? I try to recount the events of the day, but I simply don’t have the energy. I enter the house, eat a small supper, and return to my bed.
The cycle repeats. I don’t know what day it is, but I still can’t seem to sleep well enough. My mind is sluggish and I can’t concentrate. My behavior denies this; I act with enthusiasm I’ve never possessed. I don’t know how I’m doing it, but that’s alright. Everything is fine.
I notice something wrong one morning, as I rise from another dissatisfying slumber. I pull on my pants and find they don’t seem to fit the way they are meant; I appear to have lost some weight. I can’t think of anything I’ve done to cause this. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about though- my parents haven’t noticed anything. My friends at school don’t see the change either, so perhaps I’m imagining it.
I can’t keep track of time. My memory is nothing but scrambled bits of meaningless pictures. Perhaps I should be worried, but I’m not. I’m just tired. I just want to sleep.
I’m standing in a place I don’t recognize. My mother is yelling at me, something she never does. I shout back, hissing words of hatred and contempt. Why did I do that? What are we arguing about? I’ve become very angry lately, at least in my actions have. Inside, I don’t feel angry at all. I feel groggy. Is the day over yet?
Over the course of the next few weeks, I lash out on a number of occasions, my aggression threatening to become violence. My friends say they don’t know who I am anymore, and refuse to talk to me. I don’t understand. I haven’t changed. They’ve abandoned me, warning that I need to let go of the past and move on.
I need to let go? Let go of what? I think back, vaguely grasping the feeling of loss. Someone died, someone I loved. I can’t think of their name. That should bother me, right? It doesn’t. Neither does my friends leaving me. I’ve always been social; I hate being alone. But now, I feel that being by myself would prove better. I’ll make it up to them once I get my energy back. My friends… What are their names?
I’ve gotten thinner again. My shirt hangs off my shoulders, and my skin is pale. Looking at my hands and their color makes me think I’ve become ill. I walk to mirror to investigate, but am only confused by what I see. My reflection looks fine. The bags I presumed to be under my eyes are not there. My skin is beautifully tanned, and I appear to be the perfect weight. To top it off, my family still hasn’t said anything about my condition.
I guess I’m imagining it.
What day is it? I can barely hear my father as he screams at me. I’m lost- what’s going on? I must have done something wrong, but bare no recollection of any misdeeds. I’m furious, at least, that’s how I’m acting. I yell back at him, throwing things in his direction. That’s wrong… I will myself to stop, to try and figure out what I’ve done, but my body ignores me.
It’s been ignoring me for months, I realize. It’s been acting on its own, full of spite, full of hate. I don’t want to do these things anymore, I want my life back. I’m okay, though… I’m not worried. Should I be? I’ll think it over after I go to bed. I’m so tired.
Suddenly, all I can hear is a single, high pitched ring. My father’s mouth continues to move, but no sound comes out of it. I keep up my banter as well, completely unaware of what I’m saying. I… I can’t hear… what’s happening?
Before I have time to wonder, I’ve lost sense of time again. I don’t even feel awake as I easily rise from my bed. My hearing has not returned. I am totally deaf. I catch a glimpse of my hand and it shocks me. As I take off my night shirt, I stare at the concave state of my stomach. My ribs are showing, my clothes don’t fit, and my flesh has taken on a sickly yellow hue.
I cast y gaze to the mirror and see… perfection. I am not thin, I am just fine. My skin isn’t yellow, it’s lovely. I’m going crazy. I don’t mind though, I’m too exhausted to mind. I pine for my body to turn around, to return to the bed, but it doesn’t.
I find myself sitting at my family’s dining table. The calender shows an new month. When did that happen? We eat without talking. my parents seem depressed. Mother keeps looking at me, and looking away when I meet her gaze. She asks a question, which of course, I don’t hear. My body replies with more unknown words, causing Mother to flinch.
I feel something then, as I swallow another spoonful of food. My mouth is cold, and my tongue is going numb. I can’t taste the next bite I take, and something is dripping out of my mouth. The black, pulpy substance drips onto the table, but I’m the only one who notices. I realized the the dark, tar-like goop is my tongue, slowly melting in my mouth and streaming through my teeth.
I’m not alarmed. I’m not even curious. I do think, however, that I’ve seen this inky stuff before…
I go to another mirror to inspect my jaw, just in case. All the while, black fluid seeps through my lips, staining my shirt. Once I see my reflection, I know not to fret. I look fine. My tongue is still there, and the black goo does not exist. All that’s left to do now is wonder if my body will let me sleep. This mess would be over by now if I could just get some sleep.
My sense of smell is next to go. It feel like cold blood is dripping form my nose. I see more black stuff, which still refuses to appear in anything reflective. To my own eyes, I look like a skeleton, my skin clinging to my bones like latex. Black seeps out of my ears, mouth, and nose. But no one says anything, no doctors are called. I’m just being silly. Yes, that’s it…
The season changes right in front of me, months flashing passed me meaninglessly. My vision blurs, the chilling feeling spreading to them. As I stride across my yard, climbing onto my school bus, my world goes dark. The slime is pouring out of my eyes now as well.
My body breaks into a cold sweat, at least, I think it’s sweat. Rather, is feels like I’m bleeding oil from my pores. I have something in my hands, obviously, I have no idea what. It’s fading, getting lighter and smaller. Before long, I can’t even tell if it’s in my hands anymore. I’ve never noticed before, but I could always feel the clothes on my back, and the shoes on my feet. Not anymore. Now, I have nothing.
I’m trapped, no sense of hearing, taste, smell, sight, or even touch. It’s complete sensory deprivation, and I think it should horrify me. It doesn’t. I just want to sleep, and maybe, I finally can. Not just my body, but my mind as well. Maybe this is all over.
There’s a ringing in my ears. I don’t know how long I’ve been locked in the void reality, and to my surprise, I actually want to know. I taste bile in my mouth, and smell an iron tang. My eyes flutter open and I can feel the floor beneath me. I’m sprawled on the ground, unable to move. I feel utterly exhausted, both in body and spirit.
I find then that I have control as I try in vain to push myself up. My heart starts pounding- I’m afraid. I can see my arms; they’re thinner than sticks. I angle my head to look around and wish I hadn’t. I’m in a room, I think it’s my living room, and there is blood everywhere. Two bodies lay on the floor, both covered in red, both unmoving. I look again and find that they’re my parents.
There’s a knife very near to me, and it makes me feel sick. Did I… Did I do this? It can’t be true. What’s going on!?
I gag suddenly, feeling like my stomach has just flipped over. Every muscle in my body in showered in pain like nothing I’ve ever experienced. My mouth opens to scream, but the sound is suddenly cut off. My body… what’s happening to it? It seems to deflate, the skin no longer clinging, but simply draping over my bones. Then something starts to crawl out. I can feel it growing inside of me as it moves, dragging itself out of my stomach and up my throat. It’s too big, it won’t be able to get out-
A horrible crack echoes through the darkened room, followed by many more. I want to cry out in agony as my jaw opens far wider than the bones should allow. A black, three fingered hand pushes out of my mouth. It’s followed soon my the other limb, which helps it pull the rest of its sleek, goopy body out of my mouth.
It’s the monster I met in what I’d thought was a nightmare, except it’s grown. Rather than the size of a cat, it’s now just barely smaller than me. I can see it clearly now. It has no eyes, no nose, and no ears. The smile on it’s snout parts to form a glowing white smile with nothing inside. It has slender proportions, looking something like a salamander mixed with a dog. It’s completely black and made of something like liquid tar. Its long, skinny tail lashes back and forth as it grins at me, gargling in what must be pleasure.
I hear footsteps. The creature does too, as he turns his dripping head, still smiling eagerly. I slim man walks out of the shadows, I have no idea how long he’s been there. He’s wearing a black, high collar jacket, and sleek black pants. His shoes too are black, and have white soles and a toe that curves up. His ink colored hair is cut to perfectly frame his white face. He’s wearing a mask, though, the eyes slanted and closed. A small smile sits where is mouth would be.
He kneels down in front of me, taking my trembling hand in his gloved one. “Do not fear,” he says in a smooth, comforting voice.
With what little strength I have, I reach for him, stupidly clinging to hope that he will save me. I touch his face and freeze there. It isn’t a mask. It is soft and smooth like skin, and there is no seam to separate a mask from the face that should be hidden behind it. He can’t be human.
“Shh,” he whispers, somehow knowing that I am trying to speak. “You’re sacrifice is for a good cause.”
I don’t want to die…
“You’re free of your sadness, and you’ve helped me greatly,” he tells me, seeming to think he is genuinely comforting me. He stands up and stretches his arm to the monster at his feet. It garbles compliantly, crawling up his side and onto his shoulder. Once there, it starts to melt, merging into the body of what must be his master.
I don’t want to die!
My body collapses, completely numb once more. I feel light, like I’m floating, and the pain has stopped. I get up, but not in my body. I’m detached form it, only a spirit now. I am able to see myself clearly for the first time since this horror began. My skin is like a thin sheet spread over a skeleton. My hair is dry and starting to fall out. The body has no eyes, no color, no blood. It completely empty, a sack of flesh with nothing inside it but bone. Everything else has been consumed.
“You’re already dead.”