Here’s the third installment of the stories found here and here. As with the other ones, if you don’t want to read the previous entries, there’s no need, as this story should stand on its own. Story below.
The clock strikes 12:17 and I breathe a sigh of relief, for I am alive. I bet you thought I was dead, didn’t you? I can’t blame you, considering where we left off last. But no. I’m not dead. I can’t die, can’t give that bitch the satisfaction. Sometimes, I wish I was.
The first day was terrible. The day after I told that bitch where to put her “date”, I think. I can’t be sure, of course. Time’s a little funny here, but I think it was the day after. Anyway, that day I started seeing… things. Shadows, maybe, flitting in an out of the edges of my vision. How could that be so terrible, they’re just shadows, right? I thought so too, on that day. Thought that I was finally going mad. I embraced it. I talked to them, the shadows. I talked to them, and to trees and houses and to nothing really. I talked the entire day until my voice was lost.
I talked about nothing, about everything. I talked about the meaning of life. (Like I really know the meaning of life.) I babbled incoherently. I let the conversation with myself go wherever it wanted to. It didn’t matter that I was completely alone, and had no reason at all to talk. In fact, I preferred that I was alone. It was better than the alternative, wasn’t it? That those shadows were real? Yes, of course it was. Honestly, it would’ve been easier if I had been able to continue believing that. But a sane mind can only convince itself it is insane for so long.
For me, it only took a few weeks. The shadows were getting braver, letting themselves linger at the edge of my vision for a little bit longer each day, letting themselves go beyond the edge. Just a little. Of course, I decided it meant I was going crazier. It was only natural, after all. I mean, I had been alone for a long time. It was a miracle I had stayed sane as long as I had. Then one touched me. I whirled around to find nothing behind me. My shadows had gotten very brave indeed.
Shadows can’t touch you.
Of course shadows can’t touch you. They’re shadows. They can’t touch anything. Still I denied their existence. Maybe I had brushed up against something and just didn’t notice it. Still, they got braver. I felt a touch and whip around, nothing was there, but I caught a glimpse of a shadow as I turned. Just a glimpse, but it was enough. Enough to spook me anyway. I still didn’t believe it was real, but I retreated into the nearest house and flipped on all the lights. (Seriously, how was there still electricity?) The logic of the afraid. Shadows couldn’t get to me with the lights on, right? If only.
I stayed in that house for a long time. How long? I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you, is the lights didn’t stop the shadows. Of course they didn’t. I saw them, but I pretended I didn’t. What else could I do? I was sitting in a chair, under the lights, with a TV somewhere in the background playing something inane, when I felt a pinch. Not hard, but it was enough to make me sit up and notice. I saw a shadow retreating and shuddered away. I told myself it wasn’t real, just my warped mind hallucinating. Then I looked down. There was a bright red line on my arm where I had felt the pinch. Blood welled up and then fell to the arm of the chair.
I couldn’t ignore that. Couldn’t explain it away as my imagination getting the best of me. No. This was real, no doubt about it. And the “shadows”, my ever-present hallucinations, had caused it. I bolted out of the chair and searched the whole house. Nothing to be found, of course. I decided that if they were real, I was going to do something about it.
I ran to the nearest electronics store, and grabbed all of the home security equipment I could find. I would make that house my base. By the time I was done, it looked like a set for the next Mission Impossible movie. A fly couldn’t get into that house undetected. All that was left to do was wait. So that’s what I did. I waited, and watched the cameras. For at least three days, I sat in front of the monitors, only leaving to grab some more food or go to the bathroom. I didn’t even sleep. I felt even crazier than before, when I was talking to myself, but that didn’t matter. I was going to catch those shadows.
On the end of the third day, I was cut again. This time it was on my neck. Just a small one, like last time, a pinch, then a fleeting shadow. Not a single camera had seen anything, not a single alarm had been tripped, yet, I could feel the blood trickle down my neck, undeniably real.
I’ve been cut several times since then. They continued to get braver, closer, giving me more proof of their reality. Giving me more proof of their ability to hurt me. I see them all the time now, on the edges of my vision. Constant shadows. They’re toying with me. She’s toying with me, the bitch. I won’t give in. I’m trying to learn about them, but I can’t seem to get a handle on what they are or what they can do. One thing I do know is that they are never around in the thirty minutes between 12:17 and 12:47. I have no idea why, but it’s a welcome respite every twelve hours when they disappear from my vision completely.
The clock strikes 12:47 and I breathe a sigh of relief, for I am alive. I am alive and I have thirty minutes of respite from the shadows. I’m so tired, still, it’s good to know I’m safe, even if only for a little while. I sit back in my chair and refuse to worry about the fact that the left side of my vision just went black.