You’re Not Real
“Just let me go,” the man begged. “I swear I didn’t mean to do anything! Let me go and I’ll—”
It looked at him with its beady black eyes. From the shadows he could see nothing, except for those eyes. A hissing noise came from somewhere, and then it spoke. “No.”
The man slumped down into a shaking heap, sobbing. To think that this was actually happening. He could barely believe it. That this was a delusion was hard to believe. Delusions certainly didn’t leave real marks on your arms and neck where people could see them. Couldn’t they? Everyone thought he was suicidal, schizophrenic.
And maybe he was.
“You’re not real,” he said.
“Keep telling yourself that,” the creature laughed. “It’s what they all say, before they die.”
“YESSSS!” It hissed into his ear, the sound fraying his nerves even more. “I’ll steal your name, like I did to the others. And then I’ll steal your memories. You’ll forget everything, all the good, all the bad; it’s really quite pleasant, actually. Without the memories you’ll no longer have to worry about anything. Think of it as a brief release. And when you die, it won’t mean a thing.”
“You’re not real,” he repeated. The words sounded hollow.
“Who are you?” The thing asked, softly, sweetly.
“I’m . . .” the man began slowly, then trailed off. He fumbled in his mind for the answer, but couldn’t to a conclusion. Who was he? A sense of false security soon surrounded him, calming him. Some distant part of him told him to fight, to wake up, but he couldn’t.
He just wanted to sleep. The man didn’t know, but his eyes rolled up into his head, replacing his irises with white.
“I’m . . . someone.”
A grating laugh came from out of the darkness. “He’s still got some fight left in him!”
“Shut up!” the thing turned back to look at someone.
The man blinked. He didn’t know why, but he felt an indescribable rage well up inside of him. Before he knew it, he was trying to sit up, without really knowing why. What was going on? Why was it dark, and cold? Where had that warmth gone?
The warmth is a lie.
Looking around, the man noticed a pair of two shining lights. They looked like eyes. Before he could think any further his right arm took a swing at them. As his fist made contact with something warm, he began to remember something.
“I don’t know who I am, because you stole that from me. But I’m someone, damn you!”
A chorus of laughter surrounded him, but he didn’t care. “I’m going to take back my name!” he shouted, lashing out once more. Something latched onto his legs; with his other arm he beat down on it. Whatever had taken hold of him began to squeal loudy, like a pig. That horrible sound caused him to wince. Grabbing it, he made to rip it off. A sound of cracking and tearing filled the air.
The laughter was soon replaced by shrieks and shouts. Without any warning, a million of the small creatures swarmed over him. Roaring, the man ran. He flailed his arms about, swatting at the things, which were gnawing on him, biting him; they were literally ripping him apart. He dropped to the ground, rolling over. There were more hisses and shrieks which followed. Not daring to look back, the man scrambled to his feet. He ran despite not being able to see a thing.
And he would continue to run no matter the cost. As long as he was alive and those creatures were far behind nothing else mattered.
“Who am I?” he asked himself. Where he came from, where he lived . . . All of it was gone. “I’ll be a wandering stranger, till I find myself at the very least . . .”