To Care For is to Curse

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They are here, banging on doors, windows, pipes, walls, vents. They have nowhere else to go, no one else to torture, their only way left to get to me is to torture me slowly, until I cannot wait for death to release me, as I am sure they will do. I have very little time to type this, so let me explain as quickly as possible.

Since I was a kid, around 9 or 10, I was able to hear them. They swarm around the people I care for, and ensure I can’t get too close. Anytime I tried to hug my mother, a noise that sounded like a cross between feedback and a low humming noise would fill my brain and make me want to claw my eyes out. I would screech and sob and pound my head on the wall or table.

At first, my mother thought I had some sort of disorder, or, one that could be diagnosed, at least. I was not fond of my psychiatrist, the name of whom I will omit, so they left him alone. After no one could find anything wrong with me, my mother began to conclude that I hated her because I would cry and screech whenever she came near me.

My father was a different story. I hated him, but had to do my best to hide it, or it would cause trouble for everyone, and earn me quite a beating. Seeing as I didn’t care about him, they left him alone. But eventually my mother began to get jealous, thinking that I only loved my father, and not her, even though it was just the opposite. She turned to drugs and drinking. For every bit that it hurt me, it made them stronger.

I began to notice that anyone whomever they surrounded, their health would begin to deteriorate, so it appeared they were aging much faster than normal. They would become very sick and be in and out of the hospital a lot, for completely unexplained reasons that baffled doctors. I knew, but I never said anything. It was them. They were doing everything they could to mess with me. Then I realized, no, it wasn’t them, it was me! Allowing myself to get close to anyone was just me cursing them to suffer for the rest of their shortened lives! I was as killer.

At about 13 I began to feel them. They were cold, and felt almost liquid on the rare occasions when I had to pass through them. They were the worst in the rain, seeing as they could go farther away from their hosts. They would be louder, too in the rain, and were almost visible, hovering just on the edge of reality. I could see some sort of dark, flowing shape in my peripheral vision, but any time I actually tried to see them, they would evade me.

That is, until I turned 15. In school, I could never make friends, because that meant caring about people, and that meant bringing more of them into my life. At 15 I began to see them more clearly, and without the help of the rain. One morning my mother came over and spoke to me from across the room, that my aunt had put together a family photo album, and asked if I wanted to see it, I agreed, she slid it across the table, and went back to her room. As I was flipping through the pages, I began to notice a few things. First, I could not see them in any of the photos, which made sense, seeing as I was either the only person that was aware of their existence, or it was all in my head, the horror of all these years, never wanting to speak to humans, so as not to curse them with these… Shadows, or whatever they were. Second, was that my mother seemed to be aging much faster than the rest of my family, and was rarely smiling in any of the pictures. And it was my fault.

I had to do something. They fed off my pain, and they inflicted that pain through the people I loved. But what if I inflicted that pain upon myself for them. I would burn large parts of my flesh, and they would gather ‘round and enjoy my pain, and it kept them off of her. She began to feel a bit better, I began to feel much worse. I did my best to hide that anything was wrong from her, and she believed it. I caused myself as much pain as possible, though it was still barely enough to keep them off of her. It was becoming increasingly difficult to hide my suffering from her. I had to do laundry often to clean my blood off of my sheets, which she questioned. I was also out of the house much more. If I’m not there, she can’t discover what was going on, but they can get to her, so I couldn’t leave for very long.

I was 17, and my birthday was in a few months. I had a decent enough job, I decided to pack a bag and leave. I could live on the streets for a few months until I turned 18, and then buy a small apartment to live in. I would have to keep them satisfied, and it was agonizing, but I managed. I would break my fingers, and create long gashes in my arms and legs. I was a mess, and I was alone, unwilling to allow anyone into my life, for fear that, by doing so, I would curse them, too, so all I did was endure the torture I had to inflict upon myself. By the time I finally turned 18, I thought I wouldn’t make it long enough to move into my new place, but somehow I did. It worked for a while, too. I could speak with my other over the phone, but every time I did so, her speaking seemed to become more pained the longer we spoke. Just my speaking to her was causing them to hurt her. So I had to stop all interaction with her, in a last ditch effort to keep them from finally killing her.

They became stronger, again. I could see them now, they were like translucent black wisps of smoke, but unlike smoke, they didn’t disappear and fade away after a few seconds, nor did they mix into one another. They were each individual beings. As they flew across the walls, they would leave charred black marks that would fade slowly, in three or four days. They had black irises rimmed in red, and teeth much too long to fit into their mouths, that were razor sharp and stuck out at odd angles. But now, they had voices. The horrible noise that I had hated my entire life began to take on shape, meaning, but I did not want to hear what it had to say, something so awful should not have access to my mind, it’s words able to weasel their way into my head, get under my skin, and eat away at me from the inside, which I was sure would happen if I allowed myself to listen too intently to their words. 3 or four of them would be surrounding me at once, trying to get me to pay attention to them, flying around, shrieking, whispering, sobbing, imitating the voices of those who I had cared for. The most common being my mother.

“Why have you left me? I just want a son. One who isn’t broken. One who loves me. I want to be a mother, which I do not think of myself as, with this disgrace of son” They would say, in her voice, taunting me relentlessly.

They would speak in the voices of my mother, my grandmother, my uncle, my cousins. All those who I had once had the misfortune to ever care about.

Their voices felt like knives, digging under my skin, burning me. I buried my head in a pillow, squinted my eyes shut, and tried not to listen, but that just made it worse, they could not be blocked out by solid objects, so they would just whisper creepily into my ear. The voices inflicted so much pain to me. It almost felt as if my skin was ACTUALLY being burned off of me, bit by bit, but that was impossible, as they couldn’t interact with solid objects. Either way, I risked a glance, just to calm myself down. That was a big mistake.

It seemed as if they started with my hands and feet, there was almost no skin left on them. they moved on to my arms and legs, which were charred black and smoldering. My skin had almost completely fallen off there, as well. I brought my bloody, fleshless hands to my face in shock, but the face I felt was not one that I remembered. It was wet, and sticky, covered in blood. They had gotten there as well. At this point, I just wanted to die, to end it, to not let them hurt anyone else because of me, or hurt me myself. But I am selfish, and wanted to continue living.

I went into the kitchen, to get ice, going to a hospital would mean having to explain how this happened, I could not tell the truth, and was not confident in my ability to lie to the doctors enough for them to believe me. I went and sat in the bathtub after putting a couple inches of cold water, to try and cool off some of my skin that was only slightly burned. I lay there, with ice and cold water, as the pain started to subside, waiting for the voices to come back now that I was no longer distracted.

They didn’t come back. At least, they didn’t whisper directly into my brain, they seemed to stay a few feet away from the water. Everything they had done to me recently seemed to be based of of burning, and fire, so on a hunch I tried throwing a hand full of ice at them. They hissed and scattered, but those who could not get out of the way fast enough and were hit screeched the most inhuman sound that I had ever heard. It was high pitched and extremely loud, but seemed to resonate with misery, remorse, and agony. Then they dissolved from where it hit them outwards. It seemed that they did have a weakness, after all.

I put on a loose sweatshirt with a hood and some sweatpants and snuck over to a convenience store down the street, trying my best not to limp or show I was hurt. Covering my face, I purchased as many bags of ice as they had, hoping to put them all around my apartment and buy me a few more hours. I turned the thermostat as low as it would go. They all gathered at my house, 27 of them in total, each leaving a slightly different path. Here I am now, awaiting my death. Sooner or later all the ice will melt. They will risk entering, and they will torture me worse than they had my entire life.

The edges of the door are almost on fire, and are beginning to smoke. I may have five minutes at most. You have my story here, and I only hope that if you see them, you will not be as selfish as me, keeping myself alive, caring for people, letting the shadows feast on my fear and regret. If you see them move in the shadows, and notice a loved one seeming to age dramatically and struggle, know what is happening, and know there is only one way to end it. As I am about to now. 27 black streaks, one for each, invading my home, and killing me, hopefully quickly, no one knowing what has become of me.

5/20/2014 – This letter was found in the home of *Name Withheld* on 3/14/12 and 28 charred lines leading through a window, streaking across houses to *Address Withheld* home of a woman with the same last name as *Name Withheld* presumably his mother. Leaving this house there were 29 marks, neither of the bodies have yet been found.

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9 Comments on 'To Care For is to Curse'

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  • ..
    Commented on February 25, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    This was REALLY good. It’s original, well written, and made my skin crawl.

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  • Commented on February 1, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Interesting 🙂

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  • Commented on September 17, 2016 at 12:30 am

    OOOOH! The lines are how many victims! OHHH!! Cuz, 28 lines, then 29 leaving the mother’s!

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  • Commented on February 23, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    ;c RIP it was pretty depressing and dark, pretty nice thou, Nice Work!

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  • Commented on April 26, 2016 at 2:00 am

    This was very well played out it all was being broken up until the end! Great job

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  • Commented on September 17, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Best. All you need to hear. Just… Best.

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  • Ian Cosmo
    Commented on February 23, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Pretty Strange

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  • Commented on September 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I really enjoyed this!
    I loved the fast pace, the way how desperate he was really shone through.
    There felt to be no repetativeness or anything to question – I just wish I could have ready more!

    A*! 🙂

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  • Commented on July 20, 2015 at 12:44 am

    at the ending my legs tensed up, as that happens whenever I get scared, because I understand what happened.

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