The men who live in the woods behind my house had been getting out of hand for some time. They were all in their mid-fifties, golfers formerly, and meat eaters -- jolly men in general -- but since... [+]
He is always here. No one can see him. Even I can’t see him; but I know he is there. I can feel him. The presence floats around me like a soap bubble that will never pop. Sometimes when I stand very still, I do not feel his presence as much. Only, I still know he is there. Watching and waiting. He didn’t resemble a normal human structure. A piece of his body had stuck to my entity and had been building up through the years. Getting stronger and more intelligent as the figure collected. Since the first day of high school, his grip tightened and tightened; until he unlocked the padlock to my brain. When I first felt him, he could only control the tightness in my waist and shoulders. The times I became vulnerable he would take advantage of my skill to breathe. Doing things wrong would make his presence more powerful. He would flare up and mess with me as if I was one of his dog toys. Heat would flood my body from my face to my feet; turning my face to a rosy red. Tension around my stomach and my throat would slowly increase until I felt I couldn’t breathe. Then, he would push my shoulders down with all his weight to make the room feel like it was collapsing. A sudden panic feeling that made the hairs on the back of my neck stick up and I could feel all the eyes of my classmates on me. All of a sudden, the tightness, the heat, the pressure, suddenly disappeared as if it were normal to happen. After my heart and breath steadied, I thought to myself; was this a delusion?
He continued to gain power from more and more situations that went wrong. Soon he found his way into my head and could psychologically manipulate me. Initially he could do things to me that would bring the most unsettling feelings that I feared. Although, it wasn’t fear that I felt when I was remembering the episodes, it was discomfort. And yet he could still become as big and scary in an instant. When I would be feeling dejected, or struggling with tasks, or worried with a relationship issue, he would grab on to me instead of floating in his bubble. Along with the tightness and the feeling of being unable to breathe, he would play with my emotions as well. My mind and heart would become flooded with all the anger and sadness they could hold. All of the noise would become silent as if I was alone in an isolated room with no windows. I felt an extreme amount of fear when he would seep into my veins and steal my self-control.
His presence was light but I could still feel him floating in the air around me. In a way, he seemed scared to let go of me. Resembling that of a child; holding onto its mother for warmth and comfort. Genuinely I felt bad for him. His anger was an uncontrollable burst of hot energy. Frustrated at the sight of not being perfect. Whirling around to face him, I saw he wasn’t there. Sometimes I wish I could see him; I wanted to know what he looked like. Was he a sticky monster that, maybe, wasn’t as much as a monster as he seemed? I would never be able to figure it out. Everything stopped, students stood like statues all around me, people in cars, kids on buses, the leaves falling from trees froze in the air, frozen in time. The world that I had once known was flying by as I worried about the presence that was with me. I decided that I had to find a way to get rid of this monster inside of me. Weakening him would release his power over me and I could finally take control. He was a burning fire that could be weakened by a fire extinguisher. He was like a cancer that could be cured with medicine. He is like a dragon that can be slayed by a sterling silver sword.
The air blackened all around me as I closed my eyes. Every time I inhaled, I could feel a part of him entering my nose and into my dreams. This dream would be different than all of my other dreams. Outside my window, I could hear the violent storm scream and yell with all its might. It seemed like I had teleported to a different dimension. I opened my eyes to find myself in a dark room; the silence almost deadly. Sitting up, I recognized that I was laying in a body of dark water that seemed to stretch for miles. Some force seemed to help me up to my feet. A force that made me feel weightless with every movement. It was only when I started shaking that I sensed I was freezing cold. My arms wrapped tightly around my body to try to make it warm once again, as it had before. Fright began to creep into my mind as I took a few steps in the shallow water. There was a faint light in the distance that I could not make out to be existent or an illusion. Suddenly the light was gone, and I stood alone in the darkness. Oxygen was the one thing present with me as the darkness engulfed us whole. Even in this frightful time, I experienced the oxygen thin out and vanish. Struggling to breath was not the only fight I had to conquer though; I could also feel a burning hot heat rise within me. Water started flooding out of my mouth and nose. The burning sensation was the worst pain I’ve ever encountered. Words scrambled to roll off my tongue when I tried to scream for help, but they were drowned out by the water. An hour, it felt like, went by until the extremities weakened and the water stopped flowing from my stomach. Fright and frostiness were what I felt the most as I coughed and choked the air back into my lungs. Most importantly, I felt alone. It was scary and sad; just like the presence that haunted me. As I thought about him, I looked up and saw a figure a few feet away. The way the air and room felt told me that this was the figure of him. My eyes could see him, instead of just feeling him. Fears’ grasp on me slowly loosened as I understood why this monster was making my life miserable. Finally I understood how to control this monster, this figure of stress, anxiety, fear, and depression. Lightness was the one power that I had, that could weaken the darkness. If I were to have more courage, or do things the way I wanted to do them, I would be able to shrink his powers. He would not have as much power or control over me anymore. Bright white flooded the room like paint in a time-lapse video. One big, yellow light blinded my eyes as I closed them tightly.
Flying up from my bed, I woke from my dream and gasped. My bearings found me slower than I expected and I looked at the clock on my phone; which read 5:26 A.M. Weight lifted off my shoulders as I realized I was freed. My gray cloud that gloomed over me was white. The sun shining down warmed me up and shone a little bit brighter. I smiled a lot more often than I had in the past. He was still there. He would always be there; floating around in our little bubble. The difference was, he no longer controlled my actions or emotions. I no longer felt as much fear or pain, sadness and depression, or alone. Reflecting on my path of strength made me feel even more powerful and in control. Finally, I felt more alive than a living being could feel. My feet gliding across the sidewalk as I felt I was floating with confidence. The world felt whole and just. I knew, from now on, that I would forever be happier and in control of my own body.
He would always live in my bubble. He would always be watching my every move. He would always become angry and violent. His actions couldn’t effect me anymore. I would always be able to feel him there. He would try his hardest to get my attention. I would push my shoulders back, stand up tall, and keep on walking without the slightest bit of fear throughout my whole body. That was the key to a better, wonderful, and beautiful life; and I had just started to explore it.