Stay happy.Keep smiling.Stay positive.
These instructions… These hypnotizing statements are what you need to remember if you want to survive. Ever since that night they’re phrases I chant to myself over and over and over again (The Compelling Shadow-Urban Legend). They’re all I have to fight back, to stay safe and in control. Acting as some sort spell to protect me from… Well, let me not get ahead of myself.
I’ll start from the beginning…
The house door slams shut behind me as I amble my way through the main corridor of the house and tread up the stairs. The hard wooden floor boards creak with every heavy step I take, their high pitch creaking only seems to contribute to my already dismal mood. I respond with a series of swears and slurs which lazily fall out of my mouth, sounding more like muffled mumbling than audible words.
“Language!” I hear my Father bellow at me. The fact he even managed to hear me from the damn living area baffles me. But I’m too tired, too pissed off to continue thinking or even caring about it. Still, wanting to avoid being shouted at again, as I know I will be – I groggy respond with a bitter, “Sorry.”
There’s no response but I can see his stupid smug face right now grinning at his supposed authority. I hate him. I hate this house and most of all, I hate that damn School. Before I can make it onto the second floor I’m called out.
(The Compelling Shadow-Urban Legend)
“Get back down here, John.” My Mother commands in a calm yet authoritative tone. I grit my teeth and force myself back down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“Hi Mom…” I say diverting my eyes away from her gaze.
“How was School?” She doesn’t even stop to face me but instead continues preparing tonight’s dinner.
“It was… Okay.” I attempt to keep my answers short and get out of this situation as soon as possible before-
“So why did I receive a call from School saying that you got into a fight?”
Too late. “It’s complicated, Mom.”
“Yes, it does seem like that. I thought Kenneth was your best friend? Yu don’t go around beating up best friend’s John!”
“Oh give it a rest!”
“Don’t you dare talk back to me” She responds slamming the wooden spoon in her hand against the kitchen counter.
“What the hell is going on in there!?” Dad shouts from the other room.
“I’m not doing this, not today.” And with that I rush up the stairs, the shouting of both of my parents fall back behind me.
Entering my room I throw my bag onto the floor and kick off my trainers. Now finally comfortable I sit at my desk and flip open my sketch book.
Everything in this world is crap. And it’s not like I want it to be… But it just is. It’s like everything is out to make things as hard for you as possible. Exams, teachers, parents and even friends. Those you thought you could trust the most just lag behind and stab you in the back.
My hand frantically moves across the once pale sheet of paper now tainted with the lead of my pencil. With aggression and force I scribble and scratch at its surface, using the pencil and the innocents of the paper as a means expressing all my frustration.
With every stroke, with every curse and flashing thought of those that wronged me, I generate image after image, sketch after sketch, all the while doing so, a large grin rests on face, the demonic thoughts pleasing me more and more.
Maybe I’m enjoying it too much though as I feel the sweat sliding down the surface of my face and neck, generated from the movement, While the surface of my hand around the pen too feeling moist, the grip nearly nonexistent. I drop the pen as a wave of exhaustion overcomes me. I start to feel… Lightheaded but with a quick shake of my head and a few eye rubs, I eventually relax.
All of a sudden I look down at the sheet of paper, my eyes falling upon my drawings and my eyes widen in shock. I feel my skin crawl and a gasp escape me. Mangled bodies, distort expressions of horror and the most gruesome, cruel depictions of those that I know lay displayed on my table.
“I-I… I didn’t draw this” I announce to nobody in particular. Why is my mind struggling to comprehend how this has even occurred? I put my head into my hands and try to settle my rapid breathing.
“It’s been a long day… I just need to-” I stop speaking. I didn’t realize it before as I was sketching away, the sounds of the pencil scratching against the paper was quite loud now that I think about it, but now that everything is silent.
Well, everything should be silent. I notice the sound of… frantic breathing, much like my own, has continued. Even though I’ve settled down, even with my breath now held it just goes on. And as though sensing that I feel something is amiss the sound too ceases… Every fiber of my body begins to crawl and shiver slightly, and though I do not want it, my mind begins to think.
What was that? Where is it coming from? Should I turn around? I shouldn’t, should I? What was that??
“Oh …” I silently cry out to myself as I feel my curiosity getting the better of me. Giving in, my body begins to rotate at a painfully slow pace. Even my head jitters as it reluctantly attempts to face the wide open space behind me. My chest tightens as my eyes draw closer the area in which the sound, that breathing, came from. The corner of my desk disappears from my view, my room door quickly passes my vision and before I know it my eyes are resting open a view that’s all too similar.
My bed sits untouched and as messy as ever, my wardrobe standing beside it in the corner of the room and my of course nothing else but air. I look around confused, but I quickly come to feel some relief. I burst into laughter at the mind games I must have played on myself all this time.
“Ha… Ha… Ha…”
The croaky broken laughter rings in my right ear.
My heart stops. I freeze.
Within that instance my expression drops from one of joy to a shaky look of terror.
“Why…. So… Scared… John?”
I jump out of my seat and fall to the ground. Towering over me is a shadowy figure of a person, blurred and unfocused, its body spazzes and shifts, as if every inch of its being is battling to go one way or the other, acting indecisively. The only other feature I can make out, and a very evident one at that, is the pulsing white discs that are its eyes. No pupils, just wide pure white eyes. I rapidly crawl backwards until my back presses hard against the wall of my room.
“Wh-What the hell…?” I mumble under my breath.
“H… He… Hell… Hell…” It mimics as it claws at the air in my direction. The constant twitch of its head and its inky black claws all make up the image of pure terror. My eyes quickly dart towards my room’s closed door and then back to the creature. I don’t know what it wants, but I’m sure as hell not sticking around to find out.
Inhaling and then exhaling I ready myself. Slowly rising up, my back still pressing hard against the wall of my room, I get myself onto my legs. Knees bent and legs trembling. I take one final breath… Then I’m off. Using the wall to propel me, I burst of into a sprint, my goal: The bedroom door.
But before I even make it halfway across the room, my eyes pick up a shift in movement from the corner of my vision and before I know it, the creature is crawling after me on all fours at such an abnormal speed, the shock makes me trip up. The creature quickly registers my mistake and acts on the opening by pouncing on me. The both of us come crashing into the ground.
It digs its large sharp claws into me and the pain courses through my arms. Its head shakes violently and I notice a series of white dot appearing on the abyss that is its face. The white specs form into jagged lines which grow and grow until eventually what seems to be a mouth, is formed.
Its jaw now wide open, an open space of white – the creature screeches in my face. The white discs of its eyes slowly beginning to expand and seemingly consume all of my vision, and the world around me starts to glow torturously bright. I feel my throat burn as I let out an inaudible scream.
It’s not long before everything goes white.
Moments later, my vision blurry, starts to go into focus. The white environment takes shape and warps into a familiar scene. I find myself in my classroom, my best friend below me and my fists, clenched and bloody. At first I feel fear and confusion but then I hear the creature speak.
It tells me to do it; it tells me its okay to feel this way, to give in. I can’t seem to fight the urge, the temptation. I feel anger raging within me and I proceed to bring down my fists upon his face again and again whilst shouting a slur of swears and curses. The sudden sound of manic laughing throws me out of my fit of rage.
“No! No stop, continue!” The creature shouts at me angrily.
“What… What?” I look down at the mess around me, of what used to be my friend.
“No!” I cry out as I jump away from the corpse which simultaneously disappears with the classroom too.
“I need more… More!” It hisses. I look at the creature in terror. It’s… Feeding off me… Off of my anger?
I try to make sense of this crazy, paranormal mess but the creature gives me no time to rest. It appears besides me and continues whispering in my ear and once against the temptation, the anger rises and the more I try to fight back, the stronger it gets. But fight is what I do.
With every negative thought that comes to mind, I conjure a positive thought and count it. The creature gets angrier and I get even more frightened, but I have to stay strong… Suddenly I feel a surge of force hit me and I’m sent flying across this open space. The impact seems to knock me back into reality and when I come to, I find myself in my living room. I’m drenched in sweat, breathing heavily and Blood all over myself. I hear soft sobbing coming from besides me and I look up…
“Mom?” I slowly pick myself up and walk towards her, but she backs away. “Mum what’s-”
“Why John? Why!?” She shouts at me running past me and collapsing to the ground. I slowly turn around and look to the ground.
Lay below me is a body. My Dad’s body.
It didn’t take me long to realize what I’d done. I fall to my knees, my mind spinning in a daze of confusion and disbelief.
“What the hell…” Is all I can say?
“Hell… Hell… Hell!” The word echoes in my ear, followed by a horrific cackle. My head slowly turns to the corner of the room and I see the creature, crouched and smiling with its white, gaping mouth.
“It did this… Not me. It did.” Is all I can tell myself? Tears start to flow from my eyes and I can feel the creatures stare all over me. I can tell it’s not enough and that it wants more… I look over to Mom. She’s lying next to him, just crying. I have to think of her…
I face the creature in the face and I force my mouth to stretch into a smile.
“Everything is okay. Stay happy. Keep smiling. Stay positive.”