Lately, I have been having rational fears of the irrational. An overwhelming sense of thinking about things that do not exist or do exist without me experiencing them.
There is a great terror in the unknown, in the darkness that coats an empty, unlit room. When the light leaves, that same darkness lashes out and devours you, me, everything in its path. You are there, alone and not alone at the same time. A sound lights a fire in your senses, but you are deprived. Your perception is stilted and halved or just lessened tremendously.
There is nothing to touch or see. You can only hear it. When the moment arrives when you can touch it, it is too late. Maybe it was just a bug. Maybe it was just a pipe with remnants of a shower or flushed toilet sliding through the walls, but then you think about those walls that you thought were nearby. You don’t know where they are anymore. That space between you and the walls is finite and infinite in the darkness.
Everything is alien in the darkness, defying the laws of the universe as we know them while also maintaining those same laws. Everything holds a duality of existence and non-existence. The geometry of the space between you and the darkness is non-Euclidian. It is otherworldly. It is amorphous. It is magnanimous.
I reach for where I think the light switch is. It pops up with a flick. The darkness retreats in an instant, finding corners and crannies that light cannot find. The light itself is not infinite. It stops at the line where my eyes hit the horizon. If I can no longer see where the light is, what lurks beyond that point?
Even if it is nothing or more of the same, those are both oppressive.
We are in my bedroom, watching me sleep, as if through a lens from another universe, a window undisturbing the passage of time here, where I sleep. The TV flashes and glows, disrupting the shadows on top of me. My eyes twitch and clench but stay closed to continue my journey to a deeper, calmer state of sleep.
The TV’s sleep timer counts down to zero, and it darkens the room immediately. I am still asleep. I am still presumed safe in the room I left lit by the television show playing on repeat. When the TV blinked off, it was the loudest muted snap. In whatever state of sleep I was in, maybe REM or something, I knew the darkness had come.
What we know can’t exist before our eyes becomes fully fleshed out in our dreams. The hulking, gelatinous figures that rip through the fabric of my dream’s reality emerge in their confounding presence. Faces nondescriptive, not blank but not comprehendible. If they had smells, they would be acrid, pungent, constricting, putrid, like rotting alien flesh, a smell completely unfamiliar that I cannot process, that I cannot understand, that I cannot prescribe to any other experience. I am overwhelmed just by the smell that pours into the limitless space of my dreams.
Suddenly, there is a woman with no skin on her face, but her face is not a skull. She has skin. It is just thin and almost translucent. It is not fully solid. It is held in place. Her mouth gapes open, and the film of her lips covers gums with remnants of teeth jutting forwards, backwards, diagonally, in all conceivable directions. There are five teeth extending in these directions. Just five. Her hair is white. It is long, and it is short. Some strands look like hard wires. Other strands wave in the hot wind that hits me, her and the shapes behind her.
She stares at me with the holes that would her eyes, but the holes are empty. That horrific maw stays open, and she shrieks in an impossible production of lows and highs. Her thin neck trembles as she screeches. Her vocal cords rattle her shifting, flowing, gelatinous skin. They explode in a mess of gore and violence, but her sounds amplify, coming from her mouth and the new orifice.
If she had legs, she would be walking towards me. But she does have legs. She isn’t walking. She is walking. She is floating in the air, drifting closer, as if propelled by her flailing legs that snap and crack. Her bones pierce the gooey skin and reset as they rescind back into the skin, and they break again. They reset again. And break again. And reset again.
Her nearing proximity does not change the volume of her uncomfortable sounds.
I wake up. I turn the TV back on. I lie back down. I go to sleep. Again.