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Insanity Eater



Estimated reading time — 11 minutes

Beware, beware the creature’s eye

She feeds from fear deep in your mind

The words were carved into the cover of the disfigured leather journal. Remnants of arson gnawed on the edges of its half-burnt spine, and traces of murder stained the once freshly cut birch pages; to the stench of rotting flesh. The inspector closely examined the warning on the cover under the fading light of his candle. Too hard to be penetrated by quill, yet the engraving lacked the precision of a blade. The madman had dug his own nails into the book, as if the warning was for himself.

The inspector paced uneasily across his office; his thoughts overshadowed by the thundering storm raging outside, and the demonic wails from the jailcell. The cries belonging to the once brilliant zoologist Doctor Hal – who now was held charge for the murder of his colleagues and the destruction his own blown-up laboratory. The inspector had involved himself with the most horrific killers and arsonists on the streets of his crime infested city. Yet, there was just something about this case that haunted him. As if his investigation was shadowed by a sinister omen.

His grip held tightly on the journal found in the mad doctor’s possession upon his arrest. If the doctor kept his sanity long enough to maintain his conducts as a scientist, he would have recorded all his findings and observations. And his journal would be the key to unravelling the mystery. The inspector considered himself a logical man. His logical mindset was a powerful and reliable tool he utilised to uncover his previous cases. Yet he could not explain why he shuddered at the thought of the dark secrets he would uncover on the doctor’s findings.

“Tea?” his assistant offered, with an anxious gaze.

“Please”, he replied, as his fingers slowly slid under the front cover to reveal the first page. “I sense this night has much to offer” …

10th Aug 1889

Upon my expedition in the Sub-Saharan deserts, I happened to come across an archaeological discovery. I found myself in what seemed like a burial chamber, surrounded by strange symbols and drawings. Possibly hieroglyphics from the language of an ancient kingdom. At the centre of it all was what appeared to be the most curious statue I’d ever seen.

I initially thought it to be a deity of an old civilisation – a mythological goddess. A human-like body. 6 arms positioned as if ready to pounce onto a prey, with its spear-tipped claws. The body swarming with what appears to be eyelids, mapped out like blood vessels. All eyes shut.

All but one, the giant eye that envelops its entire face; from the right corner of its forehead to the left centre of its chin. Stretched open as if it were a python swallowing its prey whole. Within the eye, a set of 3 pupils and 3 irises, streaking across like claw marks. 3 precise pinholes in the pupils jabbed through the head.

Archaeology is beyond my field of studies. Statues and discoveries of such would be nothing worth recording in my reports. Yet something about this figure seems almost organic. As if it were once a living being. Or rather, still IS. I simply cannot rule out the possibility that I’ve discovered a new prehistoric species.

As faint as the possibility may be, I must be certain. It will be taken back to my lab for further analysis.

17th Sep 1889

The subject is truly fascinating.

We’ve been working tirelessly, running numerous tests. The stones show properties of both fossilised carbon and decomposed tissue. Yet it still seems too intricately preserved to not be a man-made structure.

These may be the thoughts of a man showing first signs of becoming senile, but I could have sworn the statue was broken into more and smaller fragments when we first discovered it. A self-joining material perhaps? If that were the case, my discovery could truly revolutionise the future of the modern world

The inspector’s noticed the end of each following entry appeared to contain a tally; 53 he counted beneath the first, second and third entries. The number at first seemed to remain a constant pattern. Until a following entry ended with 52, then 49 a few entries later, until slowly reduced to 45.

7th Oct 1889

My suspicions were correct.

There are fewer and fewer fragments on the stone, and the remaining pieces appear to be growing. The subject is self-healing.

The material it consists of is indeed a self-repairing one. It appears to have a memory of its own to return to its original form. If anything, this further supports my theory that this was indeed once a living being.

Or perhaps, still IS…

The archaeologist’s letters were folded between the between the bloodstained pages, the bleeding ink blended among the red. The inspector closely observed each mark on the page, reading carefully between the fragments that remained intact, decrypting as much of the message as he could make out.

My dearest friend…

… hope this letter reaches you well. I’m writing to inform you that I’ve deciphered the inscriptions at the site of your discovery…

… the language is in fact Aramaic, and I must say, they’re of a rather sinister nature…

… I as much as you, am not one to believe in ancient curses or the paranormal of sort, but if your theory stands correct, and it is indeed a fossil or a mummy, then I’d advise to heed these warnings with great caution…

… inscriptions you found at the burial site speak of a most terrible creature who lingers in the shadows, and feeds off fear and insanity…

… legend goes, these creatures are the reason we fear the dark. They are the reason why we turn our heads towards the strange flicker in the corner of our eye, the reason why we hold our breath at the sound of creaks nearby. They are the reason why we search the corners of our homes for monsters, why we glance back at the empty corridor, waiting for something to appear.

Humankind never needed such instincts to survive in the natural world. But we evolved to protect ourselves from creatures of her kind…

…they called these creatures ‘Terufakhlan’, or loosely translated…

… “insanity eater” … mouthed the inspector.

A sudden gust barraged through the window without warning, extinguishing the flames of the dying candles. The inspector shielded the notes with his body from the onslaught of rain pelleting though, and heaved the lever shut. The storm outside raging stronger, as if cowering in fear at the words that left his mouth. If he believed them to be true, then this would mark the sign of a sinister omen. He continued through the journal under the fading traces of moonlight through the window.

10th Oct 1889

I’ve identified the material, and my first guess was correct. The subject appears to be an exoskeleton of some sort.

Perhaps I’ve spent too much time with the subject, or my friend’s message has my mind playing tricks on me. But it’s the most peculiar thing, if I stand close, my breaths seem to echo back to me from within the subject. And if I listen carefully, it’s almost as if I can hear it calling my name…

“Inspector…” He froze at the ghostly whisper in his office. He could sense it; it wasn’t merely the murmur of the wind. Something had entered the room. He held his breath and slowly shifted his gaze onto the figure before him.

“Your tea, sir. Made you a strong cuppa to plough through the night”

“You gave me a quite a fright”, he chuckled, “Didn’t hear you come in”.

“Well, you left the door open sir. Thought you’d be expecting me”.

He raised an eyebrow at his assistant, gesturing his confusion. He hadn’t left his desk since he began reading. “Thank you”, he said firmly, “now I must continue without further disturbance, so please, don’t forget to close the door on your way this time”.

“Didn’t forget sir, I know how hacked off you get about it”.

The inspector immediately dismissed the thought of an unearthly phenomenon at play. He couldn’t let his assistance’s carelessness compromise his logical mentality. He took a few deep breaths to regain his focus and continued through the journal.

2nd Nov 1889

I’ve named the subject Eve.

Though I regard myself and my methods rigorously logical, my reasoning on this instance simply do not concur. Just as the periodic table fell into place in Mendeleev’s sleep, this name simply appeared in a vivid dream; one I cannot recall having.

Eve – the mother of all mankind. Whatever this creature once was, I may be the first to have discovered her kind. I only await my good friend’s word of confirmation.

One thing I failed to notice before, it seems to have a second eye open on the lower back of her neck. I’m not sure how I missed it after many thorough inspections

I ridicule the thought, yet cannot help but wonder if somehow the subject’s Eve’s eye was in fact closed from the beginning and had only just opened now.

Silence. The unearthly cries from the jailcell came to a sudden halt. Had he grown tired of the screaming? No. Something felt wrong. Disturbed by the lingering suspense, the inspector beckoned his assistant to check upon the mad doctor, before he continued deciphering the archaeologist’s second message.

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My dearest friend,

… letter reaches you in good health… I myself, have not been… I’ve remained awake for many days now, unable to sleep, haunted by…

…we’ve studied the sample you kindly sent us, and we can confirm your theory correct. It is indeed the remnants of a once living creature…

… deciphered more of the messages left by the ancient tribe and bring information on the nature of your creature. …

…few have seen its true form and live to tell the tale. What you see before you, is merely a vessel, a human it last occupied – undergoing metamorphosis to change into the creature’s true form…

…I’ve had my artists recreate the images we found at the burial which I have enclosed within this letter. I must warn you – the image haunts me even in sleep…

The inspector clutched his grip on the archaeologist’s letter, trembling violently, staring wide-eyed at the horror before him. A swarm of eyes wrapped around like blood vessels over its which twisted and tangled body; wrapped by its six arms clawing out like the branches of a dead tree. It stood its four ravelling tentacles, spread like splatted blood across all corners of the page. But its most horrifying feature – the eye that fissured its face in two halves like an open jaw. Its lashes spiked out like the teeth of a great white, with the three distinct pupils and irises streaked across like claw marks.

12th Nov 1889

Another eye has opened.

I now realise the subject is neither mummified nor a fossil.

She’s alive

His mug shattered on the ground as the inspector was thrown back, mortified by the horror of the next entry

SHE’S IN MY DREAMS
SHE’S IN MY DREAMS
SHE’S IN MY DREAMS
SHE’S IN MY DREAMS
SHE’S IN MY DREAMS
SHE’S IN MY DREAMSHE’S IN MY DREAMSHE’S INMY DREAMSHE’SIN MYDREAMSHE’SINMYDREA
MSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSDREAMSHE
‘SINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMS
DREAMSHE’SINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESIN
MYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSH
ESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREA
MSSHESINMYDREAMS…
The same words repeated page after page, forming lines, then spirals, then spiralled in the form of an eye. His frenzy then drew other strange symbols and shapes, as the letters all clumped over one another. Each page reflecting his increasing insanity. As the ink ran dry, the doctor began to carve the letters into the book. Until finally, his frenzy ended on a double page with words that rendered the inspector’s blood cold.

… AND
SHE IS
BEAU TIFUL…

21st Nov 1889

I write this war…

The entry was missing – torn off by the doctor in his frenzy. The inspector shuddered at twisted thoughts the madman must have recorded, as he read the final entry on the doctor’s journal

1st Dec 1889

More of her eyes have opened.

She is breaking from her slumber and will roam the shadows once more. I cannot allow anyone to disturb her as she recovers her true form.

She tells me I am blessed to become her new vessel

She will awaken

And she will feast on mankind’s insanity forever more

“He’s dead!” cried his assistant as she slammed open his office door. Her face carrying petrified dread, her arms rigid, shaking in uncontrollable spasm. “He ain’t breathing his heart ain’t beating I dunno what to do I dunno what to do HELP HIM!” The inspector reached for his lantern and keys and darted after his assistant.

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He stopped at the door of his office. He looked back at his desk; his vision focused on the hardback journal that lay ominously still, as if it were beckoning him. He grabbed the book and sprinted after assistant.

Holding the lantern in his cowering grip, he fixed his eyes on the inert body of the doctor, waiting for him to make his move. But he continued to lie catatonic. “Call the paramedics!” he commanded, as his assistant raced down the hallway. He watched as she was consumed by the darkness, her scurrying footsteps fading to silence. He was alone now.

Eyes transfixed on the doctor, he cautiously turned the lock on the cell door, his hands as cold as the steel that held the madman within. Lest the doctor suddenly attacked, he left the door inched open, only wide enough to make his escape. For the inspector however, it would be his gravest and final mistake.

He gently turned the man on his back, slowly crouching down to shine the flickering, fading light on doctor’s face. Holding his gaze on the tined blue, dead expression on the face before him. He reached for the doctor’s clenched fist to feel for his pulse.

No pulse, only a note. The inspector reached into the doctor’s fist for the crumpled ball of paper. He noticed the torn corner as he unfurled the note. The shape of the tear matched the missing entry in the notebook. The inspector held the missing pieces against each other, dreading the dark secrets he would unravel…

21st Nov 1889

I write this warning while able to hold the final fragments of my sanity.

She has taken my mind hostage. She lives within the depths of my fear, my insanity; feeding. For now she only exists as fragments in the minds of those who have gazed through her eyes. She cannot be allowed to recover to her true form.

So long as she continues to repair her former vessel, she will grow stronger as each eye opens the more she feeds.

Forgive me. It is too late to save them; I must sever her connections to all who have fallen prey to her gaze. I must take drastic actions to prevent her invading our world once again – any means necessary.

My final warning

DO NOT GAZE THROUGH HER EYES.

It uses its eyes to trap its prey and latch onto their minds. Once her eye is embedded into its host, she hooks herself in the victim’s brain, and projects herself in the shadows, triggering fear and paranoia within her victim, feeding off the insanity.

Those who gaze through the holes pierced through her eyes, fall mercy to her grasp. She’s taken control of my mind, and she’s had me draw her image in the book.

DO NOT LOOK THROUGH THE IMAGE

Even that which holds the image of her eye, too falls under her gaze

The final words echoed in the inspector. Overwhelmed by dread, he frantically flicked back page after page. Back to where the insanity took its clutching grip on the doctor. “Beware, beware the creature’s eye…” The warning droned repeatedly in his mind.

It was there. Hands quaking with tremors of fear through his veins as he fixed his wide-eyed gaze at the ink bombed pages.

NMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSH
ESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAM
SSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDREAMSSHESINMYDR
EAMS
“Even that which holds the image of her eye, too falls under her gaze…”

Three holes pierced through the dead centre. The letters shaping to three distinct irises and three pupils, all slashed across from the right corner of the double page down to the left, taking the form an eye. HER eye.

The inspector tore the pages of the journal, clawing away in frantic spasm. He dug his nails deep into the bloodstained pages and slashed his way through the book. He slammed down his foot repeatedly, fracturing its spine, crushing the clawed, hardback leather. With a final bloodcurdling bellow, he smashed his lantern over the shredded remnants and set ablaze the cursed notebook. Gasping desperately for air, having escaped from drowning under waves of terror. His eyes flickered with the flames that engulfed the cursed ink and blood-painted pages of the journal.

“Too late…inspector…”, whispered the voice from within him

The doctor’s body flung upwards, stretching and twisting into knots. Cracks appeared throughout, tearing his fibres open to reveal a swarm of eyes blinking furiously, rolling corner to corner in unison. His pale blue strained skin blackened into an abyss of shadow, and his face fissured its jaws open to reveal its eye. Its lashes spiked out like the teeth of a great white, with the three distinct pupils and irises streaked inside like claw marks.

“You’ve fallen prey to my piercing gaze, and now I forever remain within the depths of your mind. I am free again. I will be every shadow, every whisper of the wind, every sudden movement in the corner of your eye, every monster in every corner you look. In every empty corridor waiting to appear, and your every nightmare.”

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, and the wind howled through the barred window of the jailcell, extinguishing the flames. As the hungry darkness consumed the final flickering traces of light.

Credit: A.Y.R

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