Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
I suck in the air through my dry lips. I have to keep quiet. It’s here. And if It finds me, I’m as good as dead.
I wish I knew what It actually is because my mind’s eye is probably much worse than reality, (or at least that’s what I pray to be in the case), but in a way I’m glad I don’t. All I need to know is that this It is bad and angry at me for something. But what? Again, what I don’t know can’t hurt me. That is until I’m found.
My eyes search frantically for somewhere to go from here, away. But I’m unsuccessful. The only thing I can find is darkness, the cold, lonely blackness, that is to become my tomb. I can’t stay here much longer because I can hear the steps, or dragging, of the It’s feet lurking in the neighboring dimness. I feel myself break into icy sweat that swamps my hair and it sticks my clothes to me. This makes me feel even more restricted and claustrophobic, and I can’t deal with this much longer. I am going to be sick. Or worse, cry out. I have to keep strong. My sister wasn’t strong and she got taken by the Looney Police. She just wouldn’t stop crying and lashing out at people, or maybe couldn’t. I don’t really know because I never visit her anymore because I don’t like talking to her.
I fling my arms quicker still to the seemingly closing in walls because the sound is getting ever closer. I touch just grimy walls and webs. I start losing patience and in my hysteria I trip over my own feet with a sickening thud. I just lie there, and there is silence. A long, unwanted, nauseating silence, then I can hear It coming faster now and I don’t know why but I can almost taste the victory this malevolent monster must be tasting now that it knows I’m here. I scramble on the floor for what seems like forever until I hit my one way ticket out of here.
A trap door! I spring my own personal haven‘s door open and throw myself inside. My eyes sting because the artificial light is all too new to me, but I welcome it like a long lost friend. I feel so elated that I even allow myself a quick “whoop!” and smile to myself. I haven’t smiled for how long? It feels so unnatural that I have to stop it because I don’t like the alien feel to it. Sobering up from my initial high, I take in my surroundings: A chair, a desk, with 3 scraps of paper from a journal, 2 professional looking documents and a photograph, a tape recorder and a large, somewhat menacing door.
The sense of recognition jolts me immediately, but I’m not sure how. If I had known about here, I’d have never left. It should soothe me, the brightness and open space, but it makes me feel queasy. There are no monsters here, but why do I get the feeling I’m not alone? That there’s something more dangerous here than what the eye may see? The initial joviality leaves me all together now. I stand in the center of the room without looking at anything in particular, but at the same time taking in everything.
After about an hour of surveying everything, I dare myself to the chair to sit down because my legs feel like they’ll leave me at any given second. I pull myself to the table and start reading the crumpled pages, which appear to be from a journal. The writing looks to have been written by a five year old and basically impossible to read, with the only obvious way of identification being the childish drawings.
My sister’s drawings.
This time I really do throw up. This is sick. What is this? Who would do this? I’m shaking as I analyse the illustrations. The jutting lines meant to form people. The squiggles for hair. The unnatural curves for mouths. And the little insignificant blob in the center with a gaping hole where the smile should be. This was one of the many pictures my estranged sister would draw. They always scared me, and even now they leave me cold. So I throw it away, uncaring where it landed.
I pick up the documents now, which seem to be medical documents. At first I’m confused, because I don’t see the relevancy to this, until I see something that I need to read a few times to understand fully. The space where my sister’s name should be hasn’t got her name in it.
Something is clearly wrong here because it makes no sense whatsoever. It is a lie. It is wrong. That name does not belong in that cold hearted space. That name should be a secret to this page, insignificant even. Because that name does not belong to an insane, violent girl. That name is mine.
There’s a very loud thump-scratch at the trap door that makes me flinch. I forgot about It, but I don’t care to hide now. I finally listen to the recording with bated breath. A man begins to speak in a very clipped, professional way. He says:
“Patient number 45, after the tests, shows signs of severe schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. She seems to like to keep her more negative personality aspects into the body of her “sister”, and keep the positive to herself. She is showing no signs of improvement, and her hallucinations seem to be getting more vivid, if anything…”
As if to confirm what this man is saying, I look to the photograph laying at the side of the desk. There are only three people in the photograph. My mother, my father, and then me in the middle, grinning.
“.. I am unsure on whether she can be cured. It’s not that we, the staff, are incapable, it’s that she can’t help herself. She refuses to come to terms with the illness, and is becoming less and less responsive to our screenings…”
I turn it off. I can’t listen anymore. This man, who knows not even my name, knows more about myself than I do. I feel dizzy now. An intruder in my own mind. I finally allow myself to cry. I let it all out. All my anger. My fear, My loneliness. All I have felt in however long I’ve been running released in one long, animalistic cry. I am a living lie, a walking joke, for all this time.
That is when I remember that It is at the trap door, still bellowing and scratching. I am no longer scared of It. It is not my enemy. It is my friend. It is a part of me.
I have been hunting for It for all this time, not the other way around.
So I open the trap door.
And I embrace insanity.
Credit To: Megan Hopkin