It Will Consume You
By Miriam A Averna
Even before I open my eyes, I feel its dark, malignant presence. It stands motionless in the corner of my bedroom. The air is cold but thick with a putrid stench that hits me in waves. I can feel its eyes boring into me. My mind is alert but my limbs are paralysed, fear rendering them so.
What does it want from me?
From the gloom, I can make out movement as it lifts a cloaked arm and extends a bony hand towards the bed. It slowly unfurls a finger, the joints cracking in the process. I continue to sense its hateful and unrelenting glare. Panic rises within me but I can do nothing but lie there. I am unable to move, consumed by terror.
It begins its ritualistic infliction of pain on my wife. As it sucks her life force, I feel her shudder and sob by my side, never once awakening from her slumber. I am forced to endure this alone. The torture continues each night, persistent and with an increasing malevolence: I awake, it is there, pain is inflicted.
There is no explanation and no logical way to stop this.
My sleeping hours lessen as the nightly afflictions continue. In the daytime I feel its lingering omnipresence as my wife becomes weaker, paler, with each passing day. Our friends begin to worry for her, regarding me with accusatory eyes. I am not responsible for this, I tell them.
But how can anyone believe that a creature I myself haven’t observed in the clarity of day, is responsible for my wife’s worsening physical condition?
We struggle to interact as we once did. I am exhausted and her tears keep coming, a river of pain flowing before my very eyes. The connection we had before is long lost and continuing like this is futile.
I see no other option and only one way in which the pain will cease for us both.
The last night, before it has a chance to return, I wait for my wife to fall asleep and then kiss her goodbye. I take a deep breath. I grab my pillow and tightly place it over her beautiful face. Her body spasms for a minute and then finally it stills as she finds peace.
With her gone, it does not return. Neither does the guilt of my misdemeanour.
I no longer fear falling asleep, this prison cell is my haven, too small for sinister creatures to hide in.
The increasing shadows on the ceiling perturb me however.
I wonder if I can smoke them out.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.