It had been a year since the night Abraham had become a monster. Gore-filled images flooded his brain, adrenaline running as fast as it was when he ran away. Running, running, running, is all he thinks about, faster and faster but never enough. Never far enough, never fast enough to outrun that thing. He’s sure it would’ve chased him to the ends of the Earth, positive in the fact that his fate was sealed the moment curiosity overtook his common sense and plunged deeper than anyone should’ve gone.
He remembers her face. The pale expression, empty eyes devoid of any life or emotion besides endless fear. He prays every day and night to anyone or anything that’ll listen for a miracle to go back in time to stop himself and go straight home, but he knows it’s a fruitless endeavor and no one will be coming to save him, then or now. Abraham’s breath quickens in this memory and in the present, caught in a nightmare that feels just as real as the night it took his life away from him in an instant.
He remembers its eyes. Sickening, maddening, horrifying, not just staring into your soul but your being as if you were simply the size of an atom to be moved in the air. A molecular bacteria to a blue whale. Not even seen at all in its mind. Abraham wished he didn’t care what strange noises were to be heard that evening, what awful squelching and crushing could be making that noise that will never leave his ears.
Abraham falls to the floor, heaving, wanting, needing to throw up, but nothing comes up. Nothing ever comes up. Tears fall down his face with his mouth agape, as he clutches his stomach, pinching and pushing down on the skin to distract himself. He pants, ghosts still filling his vision, and tries to sit up from his current fetal position on the icy floor. Too many sounds, too many colors, too much red– his ears ring and he scrunches his eyes closed until it hurts, waiting for it to stop. It always stops eventually.
After a while, it stops. The ringing subsides to a dull hum, his vision is regained, and Abraham slowly unravels himself in an attempt to sit up. Standing will come later. After twenty minutes of staring into nothing and drifting above himself, the pale man walks to the bathroom, not that he needs it anymore. He thinks to wash his face, knowing that it always used to make him feel better when he had a bad shift at work, or a rough day in general.
Spending most of his time in the same dull room, waiting for something to take him away, Abraham forgets the mirror is center-view as he shuffles into the bathroom. It’s him, but it can’t be him. He remembers dirt-brown eyes, just like his dad’s, and he remembers how often he used to smile. He remembers being happy, having friends, a family, anything small like seeing someone smiling on the street used to make Abraham grin. After losing both of his parents in a short amount of time, it was hard. He barely remembers anything of his senior year, even graduation was a blur, as if he was dazed the entire time, in a trance-like state. Things slowly got better after that, he knows. He thinks of a photo of him and his co-worker, pretending to dump coffee on one another.
Abraham comes out of his daydream, faced with his own reflection. Pale skin, freckled all over, but dull enough to be associated with a corpse than a living man. Frail and weak, his hair flopping over his face from letting it overgrow. The bags under his eyes could top the most low-functioning insomniac, and his eyes seemed to droop, in a permanent state of being half-closed. He couldn’t look himself in the eye. He didn’t want to look, but he could see it. See his eyes, imposters within his own skull. He wants to rip them out, rather be blind than see the monstrosity that took over his body.
He looks up. It’s the same eyes the creature had. Harrowing and yellow, slitted in the middle by a lighter strip that moved like irises. Before it had left him for good, he’d have his own eyes back most days. Now, he was stuck like this for the rest of time. Horrific and paralyzing, even looking at a reflection on a surface could stick in your head for years on end, haunting you.
Abraham darts his eyes back down, looking at his hands, bony and cold, trying to distract himself from the side effects of being imbued with the curse or blessing of a creature from somewhere no one will ever find, expanding infinitely, and existing everywhere and nowhere all at once. It hurts. If he had felt this pain before finding that thing, he would’ve tried to end it. He’ll admit that he’s tried, but no matter how many times the breath leaves his body to fall back into the universe, he comes back whole. A single skin cell could exist from his body and he’d come back, a full living being again, with the same dull ache he always felt in his stomach.
He was used to it now. Pangs of hunger and madness that would’ve driven a normal
person to do anything to get it to stop by now, Abraham kept on, living each day hoping he’ll wake up from this never-ending hellscape. He used to pray for death to take him, hoping for the warm hand of his mother to guide him somewhere safe, or a peaceful nothingness where he’d never have to think or move again. Now he didn’t have energy to think. Living in memories and colors, sensations and shallow breathing, with the beat of his heart that let him know he was still here another day. It had been a year since Abraham stopped eating.
Collapsing to the ground, he shut his eyes, blackness seeping into his bones. He didn’t know how much longer he could last like this. But at the thought of eating, he saw her face. Dead on the gravel, in a sea of red, beneath a creature impossible to describe, it’s beak, squid-like in nature, feasting on it’s meal, emotionless. Abraham sees it’s eyes in his dream, and his mind is filled with nothing but fear as he runs forever in his sleep, never escaping it’s grasp as he inevitably awakens.
There’s never any chance for escape.