You lie in your bed. Your room is dark. The house is blanketed in silence. Your eyes are fixed to the ceiling. It might as well be the starless sky. You keep staring- unblinking. What are you looking for? You see a faint flicker. What is it? The pit in your stomach takes root. A hurricane starts swirling from it – slowly, almost imperceptibly. Your eyes are glued. You want to blink. Shut your eyes and open them only when the sun has risen. But you can’t. Your sweat is soaking your clothes, pinning you to the bed, threatening to drown you out. Your eyes stay wide open.
What are you looking for?
Then again. This time It stays for longer. Now it’s bright, now it’s not.
It has entered the room.
You can feel It. You don’t even have to look for It. It’s inches away from your face. The hurricane in your stomach has now taken full form. You have forgotten how to breathe. Closer and closer, It moves towards you. The voices in your head are now on hyperdrive.
What is this thing?
Move! Run! Get out of here!
Close your eyes. Pretend nothing is happening, and nothing will be.
Go to sleep.
You do none of the above. You just lie there, pinned to impending insanity. You’re thinking.
Is it a ghost? Is it some reckless force of nature running about like a loose cannon threatening to take those who are least expecting it?
What does It want?
Now It’s dancing around your head. Running up and down your paralyzed body. You think if you just stay there, shut your eyes and pretend it’s a dream, it’ll pass. It doesn’t stop. In fact, It keeps getting bigger and stronger. How is that possible? Is It feeding on your fears? You wish a hundred easier things instead of this. You wish you were dead. You wish.
You snap out of your pathetic reverie. You sit bolt upright. It lurks there, right before your eyes. Waiting for you to make your move. Is It smiling at you? Is that even possible? Now your fear turns into rage. You’ve had it. You grab It with your bare hands. It struggles. Grows warmer. Starts singeing the skin of your palms. You fall out of bed. It escapes. You chase after It around the house, in complete darkness. There’s no time to turn the lights on. What if It escapes? You’re running around like a madman. Sleep continues to hauntingly beckon you. But this needs to be dealt with. You trip, you fall, and you bleed in so many places. The chase doesn’t seem to end. Room to room. Surface to surface. Your house and your life, both feel like they’re falling apart. You want to cry, to curl up and just sleep for maybe a second. But you keep chasing. It keeps teasing and evading.
Just when you’re sick of It, you see it resting on your desk, by the window. Careful now, you don’t want to lose it today and have it come back and haunt you again. You move. Oh so carefully. Your hands are bloody. Whose blood is it? You don’t care. It doesn’t matter. You move. You grab the notebook and pen lying on the floor. You’re almost there. Right at the edge. And then, you pounce.
You stab It with the pointy end of the pen. Over and over again. When It can no longer move, you take your notebook, smash It and trap It in these innocuous white pages. The notebook feels heavy. The pages are soaked, dripping with every last dreg of whatever It was. Your palms are bleeding. Your fingers are numb. Your mind and body feel drained of all life. But, you’re satisfied.
The sun has risen. Another night’s battle won. It’s time to go to bed.
The night awaits. And with it, the black ceiling, that scary little flicker and another bloody battle.
You smile. You know what to do.