LJ Idol Exhibit A | week 1 | 900 words
Am I Crazy?
There is a face in the plaster ceiling of my bedroom.
I noticed it a year ago, over in the corner above my desk. I don't know why I never saw it before, but it's always there now. There's a rabbit too, right over the bed, but it's turned the other way so I don't worry about it. The face is different. It points right at me.
It’s always watching.
I stay under the covers as much as I can.
I called in sick to work today.
There was a warning in the crossword puzzle, running on the diagonal: DIE. I knew it was meant for me.
But what if the danger is here, at home? I hear a noise in the garage and I open the door to check, but all I see is the car. It looks different, though. The inside is dark, and the grill and the headlights on the front make it look angry. Threatening. I close the door.
I try to watch TV, but it's too confusing. The voices muttering in the background make it hard to hear the programs, and all the channels are like that. I should take it in to the repair shop this weekend, if there's time.
I read for a while, but don't remember what the storyline is. Finally, I fall asleep on the couch.
I haven't slept in the bedroom for over a month.
Something died in the walls or under the house, but the landlord won't do anything about it. He says he doesn't smell anything. I think he's cheap and doesn't want to pay an exterminator. The stink is awful. I can hardly eat inside the house.
I've been riding the bus to work since April, but I just… I don't think all of the other riders are people. I'm careful not to look at them, but sometimes I feel their dead eyes boring into me, like they're looking for something down inside me, something they want.
I won't let them in.
I don't like the front hallway anymore, but coming in through the back means going through the garage. I move as quickly as I can, and avoid looking at the spot above the table next to the door. Sometimes there's a mirror there, but sometimes it's a window or a lake, and there are things inside it that shouldn't be there—dark shapes shifting back and forth across the opening, trying to catch my eye, trying to escape. The only way to be safe is not to look, so they can't see into your eyes.
I never look, never ever look, not even when light flashes out from the wall to grab my attention. They'll never get me that way, because I know their secrets, I know what they do.
Never. Never ever.
Outside, behind the oak tree, evil comes in the night. It stares in through the windows, so I close the shades now before it gets dark. Always. Always always always.
I think it might (but don't say it, never say it) be the Devil.
He wants to get at me, destroy me, I can feel it. I smell the smoke he pushes through the glass, hear the laughter in the corners of the room. He tries to sneak inside my food (horrible red-tasting food), or come in through the television.
I put the television in the backyard last week, but I hear it turning itself on at night, I know.
The phone rings with the whisper of mind-control, and I don’t answer it. I don't.
In the morning, when it's light outside, I'll be safe again.
Then I'll throw that phone out the window.
There, in the kitchen cupboard, I—
Jesus, what was that? That—that rolling, like the world heaving up and down? I should—
Oh, no you don't. Not going outside, you can't trick me like that! I'll be here all night, all night, with my pillow-cave and my books. The fridge is full, I’ll be fine, you can't tempt me with the orange music of the stove because I know, I'll always know.
I see your secret shapes in the wallpaper, the cloudy green of coded images you hide in the ficus plant. I never turn my back on the garage or let the voices drip too long from the faucet, never.
Not listening, I won't, and I am always, always watching.
Walls quiver, skin itches from a thousand tiny legs. Make it stop. Stop!
Run to the shower, wash spiders off and down the drain.
Better. Yes, better.
Shivery wet clothes, but no spiders.
Sleep all night in the tub.
Neighbor dog talks: "Allison." (My name. How? It knows).
No-no-no-no-no! Run, run, inside, lock the door. Mirror? No, no—never look!
Sofa, pillow-cave, hide deep, safe now, quiet, quiet, listen, listen:
Breathe. Breathe now.
Never sleep, can't pillow head drown, or—
Words, red words, death words, window window cloud-black buzzing tired. Ghost-mirror portal, sheeted tin foil doubleback wall murmur what? Claw. Arm claw. Demon hand, mutant creeping how, how?
Protect, prevent. Knife-knife-cleaver—yes, cleaver! Hack, hack, eye-sweat, red-red, pain, God—pain pain PAIN!
Run run, outside, red red, paaaain! Skybright pain pain, scream, grass, scream scream, howl, pain, red red PAIN!
Roll grass slipping slipping dizzy airless why? Red wet, gasping, gasping—
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