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  • Writer's pictureCandace Nola

My constant companion.

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

There is a face haunting me, man or spirit, I cannot tell. I close my eyes and the face appears. Awake or dreaming, day or night, I close my eyes and it is there, screaming out of the darkness in my mind, hurtling towards me like a comet across the sky, mouth open in a ferocious wail.

Hands outstretched, cloaked in black up to the throat, eyes like two sunken pools of fire, rimmed with dark circles, like smeared ashes across the pale gray flesh of the old, withered face.

The eyebrows are bushy and thick, white with

age, knitted together across the brow with hostility and rage. Angry tufts of gray and white hair are

standing on end, furiously sticking straight up and out, as if being pulled by an electrical charge.

The cheeks are sallow, weathered parchment paper skin, antiqued with age and time and the burden of its sorrows. The thin lips are stretched into an angry howl, rage contorting its features even more than the passage of time has. It’s angry. It’s coming right towards me, and it means to harm me.

I open my eyes and it vanishes from my sight, I close them, and it comes for me, streaking across the blackness in my mind. I open my eyes, but the feeling lingers, rage, and violence tinge the air with tension and fear. I can feel it, hovering just out of sight, always waiting for me to close my eyes.

I delay blinking as long as I can, eyes becoming dry and thirsty, begging for moisture. The itching is maddening, a nerve twitches and I lose the struggle. Both eyes close. The demon streaks out of the darkness and I inhale, and my eyes fly open even as I rear back, away from the image, desperate to escape the inevitable.

Blink, close, demon, panic, blink, eyes wide open. Day after day, blinking is my nightmare. Over time, I’ve learned to not see the face screaming out of the darkness. I’ve learned to breathe through the blink, to blink and open, don’t see, don’t acknowledge.

Nights are the worst, each blink becomes longer, heavier, harder to not see what is waiting for me. Hours pass, a losing struggle, finally, my eyes close and I sleep. Paralyzed by fear, legs kicking at air, screams choking my throat, I can do nothing as it hovers over me, snarling and howling its rage.

It’s waiting, but I don’t know for what. It hovers, screaming, as I scream my own terror into the silent night. I can feel my body twitching, like my legs are running but they do not move, like my fists are punching but they do not move. Lead weights tether my body to the bed. The demon hovers and snarls, sharp teeth bared. I breathe but I only hear my screams.

Suddenly, I blink. Eyes fly open, light floods in. My body is released, muscles stretch and move, suddenly I kick, delayed reaction to the fright still pumping through my veins. I lay still, I breathe, I blink once and try not to see.

This is my constant companion, the demon just on the edges of my sight. It hovers there always, day and night.

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