You will never believe any of what I have to say, but I have to tell someone. My name is John, and I’m sick. There’s no cure for what I have, there’s no way out nor is there any redemption. All I can do is eat, forever. But I’m moving too quickly now, I must bring you back to the beginning. It all started with my friend Daniel and the night he was murdered.
That morning I came downstairs to see if my Daniel wanted to play more video games, he’d beaten me last night and I definitely wanted a rematch. I notice a note on the staircase that say, “I’m no longer afraid.” This strikes me as odd, so I run down the stairs to see what’s going on when I look to the couch. It’s clean, could he have gone home? I go to turn the corner and notice just feet from the sofa… Daniel hanging by his blankets from the rafters. I let out the loudest scream… but my voice failed me when I saw… me. I saw myself, or rather, someone who looked like me just leaving out the front door. It terrified me that not only was this person in my house, they somehow murdered my best friend and made it look like a suicide, and they looked just like me! I ran to the door and whipped it open in an attempt to get a better look at him. I only saw him as he passed out the door but his every feature mirrored my own. It was as if someone was holding a life-size picture of myself as the walked out. But as I stood in my doorway frantically searching for this man my mind darts back to Daniel hanging from my ceiling. I went back to him and tried to lift him off the rope but he was so limp it was nearly impossible. I yelled as loudly as I could to my parents and they came barreling down the stairs, my mother froze and screamed bloody murder. My father grabbed a chair and a knife and cut Daniel down from his noose.
I sat in the therapists office recounting my memory of that night, he spoke to my parents afterwards saying I had PTSD, and that I felt incredibly guilty for not knowing my friend was suicidal and imagined myself as an intruder who murdered him. I know I didn’t imagine it, but back then I was unsure. I was given a medication to deal with the nightmares I’d been having. Little did I know that none of that would have helped. I started searching online about creatures that could take on the form of another. I came across things like shapeshifters, ghosts, etc. But one peaked my interest, there was a story written by some guy who’d been a part of the police force. He worked a case where this girl named Katelyn committed suicide but had a few creepy journal entries on their laptop. He spoke about a being that thrived off mental illness and feasted on the fear of what their illnesses could really do to them. It showed them a reflection of themselves on the verge of death. Well time went on and my PTSD got worse, my medication didn’t help at all. It seemed like something was pushing it farther, making it worse. That’s when it happened, I saw it.
It stood a couple of yards away and it was dark so it was difficult to see. I jumped at first, but remembered what I read. It seemed when you couldn’t see it clearly you were safe, but after many visits that’s when it killed you, AFTER it had thoroughly induced fear and fed off its victim. I ignored it and moved on, this happened a few times and I thought I was winning. Thought. The third time this occurred I was met with an unnerving noise upon ignoring it, a deep and wheezy breathing. It sounded like the voices of a million people, but deep inside its guttural voice I could hear one that made my ears perk… I heard Daniel. “You can ignore me, but you cannot ignore your fear of me.” I whipped around, hearing its wheezy laugh… It was gone.
My nightmares got worse, and I started showing signs of deep psychological stress and anxiety. When I tried to ignore it I’d hear it wheezing and laughing directly behind me, when I didn’t… I’m sure you understand. This went on for a while, I tried everything I could think of to fight back, to get away. It was all pointless. I knew it was about time for it to come for me, I knew not what to do. I was so terrified I was going to die. I checked myself into a psychiatric ward and did my best to seem over the edge. After a few weeks of being pushed by my reflection and my own maddening self-destruction I barely was able to keep sane. I, fortunately, was able to keep myself competent yet still getting myself a stay at the local sanitarium. A nice, padded cell with nothing inside. That final night it came, I could see it smiling. “Gotten us trapped haven’t we?” My reflection spoke to me with the so much smug in its voice it was sad. Honestly, saddening. You see, in order for your reflection to kill you, you must kill yourself. I’d outsmart the beast. I yelled at it, “You can’t kill me you b*****d! I can’t kill myself in this thing! I’m tied up in a room full of padding!” I laughed at myself, at it, at the futility of it all. I lived, but could I really live? I’m now stuck in a room of nothing.
“You stupid, little, idiot,” it wheezed out in its garbled voice of a million people. I can’t kill you, but now you can’t die. My whole body froze, my spirit itself froze. What? What did he mean by that? I’ll never live, nor die? How is that? As he started laughing maniacally, a million voices echoing into the night, I felt this hot piercing pain in my chest. I screamed, I writhed, I was in agony. Then, it all stopped. I smirked with my long hair covering my face. One of the night crew came to check on me as I was usually quiet. When she looked in, I made sure to be nowhere in view. The night crew lady opened the door, and standing directly in front of her wrapped in a straight jacket was… herself. I laughed at her, “It’s alright, Brynlee… You don’t need to be anxious anymore.”