She looked at me, and I could see there was fear in her eyes. Not fear of being close, or of the thought of things changing. She was scared of me... was scared of what was happening to me. Frightened by the way I am reacting to things and the way I am falling. I get worse every day, and it is hard to forget that once reporting on this place was a mere curiosity. Now it has become an obsession, the dark things that stalk the streets not a threat to me for any obvious reason. They are a threat because they cause me to forget, if only for a little while, the shadows that lie in the lost areas of my memories.
It had started with a phone call. I had nervously called her, secretly hoping she wouldn't pick up the phone. Not because I wouldn't want the company, but more because I was unsure what to say. I hadn't spoken to her since new years after all. But she picked up, and I asked if she had any plans for Valentines Day. By the end of the conversation we had arranged to meet at my place and walk to a local restaurant. When the time came to meet, I was discouraged to note that she had not arrived. It was not until ten minutes had passed that she showed up at my door, and after that we began to walk.
It was cold, but not all that windy. It was one of those types of cold that clings to you jeans, brushing against your skin whenever you change your walk. We weren't really talking, but I didn't mind. She was wearing the same thing she wore on Christmas, and we laughed as she tried to speak only to have her hair get caught in her mouth. As we walked our hands frequently brushed. Every time it did my heart would skip a beat and I would shudder. After so much time of fatigue and nightmares, I had forgotten what it felt like to be scared of making a mistake.
When she finally spoke, it was awkward and clumsy. I enjoyed the attention all the same.
“How have you been?”
I tried to come up with a easy response, but knew that she would see through it. I told her about my progress in my therapy, about the disturbing things that I had locked off for so long. She listened quietly as I told her about the tests I had taken, and my worries that I may be sick.
“This would all be so much easier if I could just leave this place,” I admitted.
“Why is that?” she asked.
“This place, the creatures that call it home, and the strange experiences I have read about. I am beginning to understand why people go to such lengths to keep these things secret. If people knew the truth about this place.”
“They would what,” she snapped.
I was quiet, unable to think of a response. I looked at her, and could see anger for the first time.
“I was born here...I was raised here. Are you saying the fact that I know what happens here, that I choose to live here is something I should feel bad about?”
“No...I just mean...wouldn't you rather live somewhere else?”
“No,” she said firmly, “No I wouldn't. All you have ever reported on are those things that are dark and wicked. That is all you want to see. And you know why? Because you want to be distracted. This has never been about trying to get people to know the truth about this place. You just want a place to hide.”
“That isn't true,” I insisted. “Since I arrived here, I have been getting worse and worse. The nightmares, the fatigue. I only started getting better when I moved here, and not even that has lasted. There is something terribly wrong about this place. You said it yourself.”
“You are right,” she said sharply,” I did. I said it because I hoped you would see the truth. I hoped you could see what you were doing to yourself. As dark as some of the things here are, what is inside of you, that pain is so much worse. It is easier to handle things when something abnormal can be blamed, but that isn't really handling it. You are just putting the responsibility on something else.”
I was shaking...my vision was bluing. She was right...she had to be. But something inside me was still fighting. She looked at me, and I could see fear in her eyes.
I can't remember what I said next, but I know that she left soon after. We were nearly at the restaurant...
There is something truly dark about this place, but no more so than those memories I have kept locked tight. And yet I know there is still more I don't remember. Something even worse. Sitting in the back of my mind is my worries about how I am doing medically, but even more is a fear that this weds, when I have my next therapy session, I am going to remember something I can't handle.
My neighbors have been complaining to police. They have come to my door multiple times, claiming that they are concerned. Late at night, they hear me screaming, and I know that I have been crying out in my sleep. I do not remember much about my dreams, but when I wake up my heart is racing and I am covered in sweat. Sometimes upon waking I get a flash of an image, but nothing concrete. Within a few minutes I forget, my hands shaking for the rest of the day.
And yet even with all this in mind, today was a good day.