04 Dec Smile
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Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
You wake up today, going through your daily routines without a second thought. At one point, you decided to spend your time coming here, to read along with some arbitrary journal written by some escribitionist some of you may be familiar with but none of you really, truly know.
Have you realized what day it is?
The concept you believe to be real, what you might call ‘time’, exists in a circuit, with mornings and nights, days and weeks, months and years repeating themselves, stuck on loop within an infinite cycle. The reason for this is that time is nothing more than a border, serving to shield their decrepit, malformed dimension from ours.
The good are those who have built this wall.
The bad are those who are being kept out.
Once every so often during this continuum, there is a scheduled lapse; a small space existent within this ring of time, an anomaly which would not exist if time were, in fact, a straight line.
Those who idle upon the other side are your Doppelgangers, your alternate selves, wearing your clothes, working your jobs, speaking your words, yet they suffer more than you do. They are the epitome of the wrongs you have committed, the proof of your corruption, the spiritual manifestation of your immorality. Lest you turn into demons yourselves, time itself allows your karmic state to affect their spirits instead of your own, forcing them to watch you from behind a one-way mirror to assume the blame for all you as humans have done wrong.
The eleventh day of the eleventh month is when this mirror becomes a window, and they are given a chance to trade places.
There are various recorded accounts on what encountering a Dæmon is like. Some say a Dæmon’s skin is stretched taut against the alien skeleton reliefed through its blackened flesh, the latter rotting in ragged patches and open wounds carrying the metallic stink of diseased blood and aging corpses. Others claim if you dare to look directly into their eyes, you fall victim to their mercy within the split-second their soulless gaze meets your own, making you bear witness to every inhumanity ever committed by humankind, every pain they themselves have ever had to endure in your place.
For most Dæmons, this retribution is enough. Your screams are its blatant satisfaction, your terror is its ultimate joy. It is a sport for them, you see; they erase your memory of the encounter and anticipate repeating the experience next time around, wishing for you to perform evil, waiting for you to sin, corrupting them further and making their next retaliation that much more sweeter.
For other Dæmons, though, they decide they want more.
They say the Dæmon grins once he has you completely. Once your spirit is within its grasp, the spiritual exchange is complete; it bears its misshapen teeth with its lopsided smile, whereas it becomes the original and you are forced to become its shadow. It will begin clawing through your sanity as the days pass, ripping away the final vestiges of your reality until you assume the position of the spirit behind the wall.
The only way for a human to redeem themselves is for them to become the Dæmon and patiently endure twelve months of their normal spiritual insanity, waiting for their chance to reclaim the original body waiting for them beyond the borders of time.
To escape such fate, some of those who have recounted the tale ended their lives shortly after they’d done so. Most have passed from insomnia, as they say staying awake is the only way to escape the recurring, unearthly nightmares plaguing their dreams and making their breaths fall short. Some have died violently in a painless, illusioned haze, found during attempts to carve their still-beating heart from their chest before their Dæmon could stake claim to it. A few have been found with knives sticking out from either side of their head; the blades would be jammed into their ears from tip to handle, the self-inflicted stabbing reported efforts ‘to make the screaming go away’.
Whatever the method of death, when the victim’s mutilated carcasses are recovered from the scene, there is one thing they always share in common.
They’re found with a smile on their faces.
The ‘recorded accounts’–journal entries, Psychologist’s notes, video diaries–are located and burned almost immediately after the incidents occur, as superstitious individuals fear the curse will carry on to whosoever is unfortunate enough to read the story next, tagging them as a vulnerable target for the next Dæmonic anomaly.
How much pain have you experienced in your life, human?
Find out which side of time you reside.
Look into a mirror and pray your refection isn’t smiling at you.
Credited to _allismine_