Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
The first to go was my sight.
When thinking of the experiment in my mind, I was hoping that my sight would be one of the last senses to switch off. I wasn’t sure if the drug shut them off in an order, or if it was more of a random cycle. It would only be temporary, but I prepared for an uncomfortable, but potentially interesting experience. I had been fascinated with sensory deprivation for a long period of my life, but a chlorinated pool wouldn’t satisfy me. I wanted something that would truly degrade my senses. I had acquired an experimental sedative, one that was used for a complete paralysis of sensation. I wasn’t a big-name scientific researcher, but I was curious, perhaps to an extreme degree.
My sight didn’t immediately die, but faded out. It appeared as if I was slowly shutting my eyes, still being able to feel myself blink, until all I could sense was darkness. Though I expected the thoughts, I began to sympathize to how a blind man would feel with that sort of limitation. It could be different for one who was born with the condition, but feeling my eyelids move across my lifeless eyes was rather haunting. I almost wished my sense of touch would go next.
My mind didn’t have any images to process, so I began to process my own. I would describe it similar to how, if one closes their eyes, they see faint, but recognizable shades of color – perhaps resembling what was in vision beforehand. With my vision gone completely, the faint colors made their own shapes, sometimes appearing to be silhouettes of people. I talked to myself to help keep these controlled, as they began to make me feel invaded.
The next to go was my hearing, in which my self conversation became completely useless. I first thought that my speech was growing weaker, but I realized that the volume of all sounds was fading, just as quick as my vision. When it too had left me, I heard only a single sound, or at least only thought of one.
There’s a familiar, god-awful ringing that many have claimed to hear on a regular basis, sometimes for short periods, others for as much as days. This can be an actual ear condition, but given how my hearing had diminished, I was sure that it was being produced my own thoughts. The ringing intensified, and began to sound inconsistent. At random, short intervals, the ring would change into (what I would think to be) a loud microphone screech.
Then I assumed that the next to go was my taste, though since I hadn’t recently consumed any food or liquid, I felt little change. I did lose a feeling inside my mouth, but this was being drowned out by the illusions being presented by my loss of sound and sight. More figures appeared in the blackness in my vision, and they then appeared to move. Their steps were jagged, and their ligaments contorted; staggering as if they were an abstract painting in motion. The ringing in my ear continued to grow more acute, more concentrated at intervals. The noises in my head were nearly in sync with the movements of the colored shadows, being the most evident when they were closer.
As my senses began to feel more hijacked than depraved, I recognized that my sense of smell was fading, though, like my sense of taste, this passed by me nearly unnoticed. I was far too distracted with what my mind was creating. There was only a single figure left, centered in the darkness. It stepped forward slowly, with the ringing now blaring through my head. My hearing didn’t feel gone anymore, but blocked out by the constant noise. I began thrashing at my surroundings, shouting for help that I wouldn’t even be able to witness. The shadow was tall, with some limbs wider than the rest of its body. Its legs still waved when it walked, twisting as I began to make out what I thought were its eyes.
The last sense to go was my touch, and this had proved to be the worst to suffer. As I could feel my body growing invisible, I flailed frantically, knocking into objects. I threw myself to the ground, and began to scrape my body with my nails and teeth, desperate to bring a sense to my mind.
After what felt like only a few seconds, with every one of my senses shut down, the ringing in my head ceased, and turned to soft, unrecognizable whispers. These, like the ringing, grew louder as the figure continued to approach. I could only watch as it came closer, and just as it appeared to only be a few feet in front of me, I saw its face.
I saw its eyes. They were black lenses, flashing with dim colors and swirling in a dark vortex. They locked onto me, and as I looked into them, the surrounding darkness became more like the eyes themselves – a chaotic, sickening void, with no calm in its storm. The whispering had passed and had changed into a violent screech. It was comparable to a low-quality, distorted microphone scream blasted on the highest volume.
In the midst of this mental suffering, which I was praying would end at any moment, I had the foolish, insane idea of speaking to the nightmare. I asked what it was, and what it wanted.
I had merely thought of the words, and its screeching ceased, only to begin speaking in the whisper it had made before. This time, I could understand every word:
“I am what remains when everything else has vanished. I am what is left watching you as you are distracted, made blind by everything else you sense and experience. I’m what you sometimes witness for a split-second, only to pass off as your imagination. I wait patiently, eager for the moment where your soul is left exposed, without a shell to protect you.”
The whispers made me convinced that my hearing had returned, that somebody, in reality, was whispering right into both my ears, as I continued to look to into the being’s tormenting eyes. It began to reach its jagged, deformed hand near my face, as if to grasp it. As I felt my spirit and sanity begin to collapse, the shadow began to dissipate, and fall back into the void that was now becoming brighter. The whispers and screeches fell back quickly.
Like my body was waking up from a violent dream, my senses quickly came back all at once. My energy had been massively drained, like I had just run in circles for hours. I was only lying down on my living room floor, with the objects and furniture in shambles, wrecked from a struggle. My body was covered in bruises and scratches, covered in a thick layer of sweat as I panted from what had just gone through my head.
My ordeal was over, as the pill was only temporary. I looked at the clock, trying to remember when I had started the experiment. The entire event had only lasted four minutes, as the researchers had originally promised.
I spent the next hours trying to recollect myself, disturbed by what had taken place. Although I seemed safe, I still felt a feeling of dread as I tried to remember everything I experienced. I tried to pass the experience as a fabrication of my own mind; that losing all my senses had caused my feeling of paranoia and fear to materialize into a vivid terror that would only vanish when my senses recovered.
What I can’t forget, however, were those words. Its words. The distorted being had vanished, but was it because my senses now blocked it out of my mind? I only wished that I had never been too daring to ask the question I had. Had I only kept silent, I would have passed this event off as my own intensified imagination – another horror only created, then destroyed by my head.
I want to be able to think that. But I can’t, because every time it comes to my mind, I can only think of it right in front of my face, invisible, waiting for when my body is dead and my mind is a target of havoc.
As always, I see the faint colors when I close my eyes, sometimes shaping themselves in a familiar, distorted figure.
Credit: Emeryy (Richard S.)
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