nightmarish euphoria

The shadow creeping in the corner of his eye made Jake shiver. It wrapped around his ankles, whispering in his ear... Somehow, he just knew what it was. Be it the sable feathers, the ubiquitous voice, the distinctive stench of rotting death, it just had to be it.

"The raven..." Whispered Jake, emerald eyes growing wide.

All he could do...was run.

For but a moment, the girl pulled herself away from the keyboard, stretching her sore fingers. She had been writing for hours now, yet only a fraction of the entire story was done. Grasping the mug that lay at her side, she took a hardy sip, grimacing as the disgusting, gritty liquid slithered down her throat. For eight hours now, she had been running on nothing but insomnia and caffeine, the pure aspiration to write driving her near insanity. Yet it was a good insanity, if there was such a thing. It was the kind of insanity that haunted daydreams and crafted nightmares, the kind that whispered and cackled in dark corners. It was the kind that preoccupied the girl day and night.

Smoky gray eyes scanned the computer screen, illuminated by its radiant glow. The generic, nondescript, twelve point font blurred as she struggled to read them. Squinting, the girl only found it harder to make them out. The letters' shapes morphed into distorted, crippled monsters, bent and disfigured. The girl grunted and tried to rub the sleep from those smoky orbs, to no avail.

Instead, she tiled her chair back and stared at her ceiling, stark white save for the various clippings and articles that had been tacked there. She had searched through periodicals, newspapers, magazines, even websites to find everything worth including to the mounting collection, many of it her own work. Months of that collecting had been spent waiting, somewhat intolerantly, for the letter that would confirm the fact that her literature had indeed been published. The waiting was unbearable — she would practically assault the mailman to rip through the packages and parcels, only to find nothing. But satisfaction was sure to arise after that notification was finally received...and it was received often, for this girl was no trite author. She smiled smugly, tired eyes daring to close themselves. Her head nodded, thoughts stopping halfway to succumb to fatigue.

Nightmarish euphoria consumed her, making her scream in pain and agony. The shadows lurched for her, grasping at her naked and bruised body; hissing and jeering, cooing and coaxing. An odd cold swept over her, all senses suddenly dieing. But silently, she could hear the flapping of wings echo somewhere in the distance.


The girl didn't know how long she had been asleep, the shrill cry woke her back up abruptly. Ehren wiped a cold blanket of sweat from her forehead, immediately noticing that she was shaking all over. She sat up, rubbing the spot where her neck had been uncomfortably resting against the back of the computer chair. Her vision returned, eyes drifting to the hall. Through her open door, a flickering shadow stood in the golden light coming from downstairs.

"Ehren? Are you sleeping up there?"

The words were slurred and dim, and Ehren shook her head in slight amusement, curly blonde locks tossing chaotically. It seemed the old bag was up on one of her usual drinking binges again...

"Yeah, Mom, I'm asleep."

"Okay...just...make sure your snoring doesn't wake your father..."

The voice faded into distant mumbles, and Ehren turned back to her novel, still waiting for hero n the computer screen. Now, she could see better, the words clear and distinct. But one passage, written in small, neat font not her own, disturbed her.

Ah, brilliant. You've got me absolutely enchanted here...won't you please write more?

Ehren shook her head again, but this time in surprise. She didn't write that...unless her fingers were moving in their sleep?

She highlighted the text and tried to delete it, pressing lightly on the backspace key. The text stayed, still highlighted on the stark white screen. Ehren pressed it again, this time a bit harder — it was an old computer; the buttons often didn't respond to one gentle touch. Yet still, the paragraph remained defiantly on the page. Ehren's pale brow furrowed, and she thumped her finger against the key again. Then, in anger, she slammed her fist against the keyboard, yet received nothing but a satisfying thud in return.

The flattering praise remained.

"The hell..." Ehren rubbed her temples, trying to find out what was wrong. The thoughts raced through her head, trying to find sanctuary within a rational answer. Yet they found none.

Ehren shivered, climbing out of her chair. Her entire body was numb, rigid, refusing to answer as her computer had. All would come together in the morning, she decided. She would awake feeling normal, albeit a bit lethargic. But it would have been a dream, a fantasy crafted by her own exhaustion.

Ehren left her computer on, her writing blazing like a fire in darkness. She looked at the novel one last time, knowing that it would upset her sleep in any case. The paragraph would be gone in them morning, along with any odd haunting.

As she climbed wearily into bed, Ehren tried to assemble the puzzle, finding logical explanations to such a phenomenon. She had been hacked. Her younger was playing a trick on her. She was going insane.

The last one seemed the most credible, but then again, Ehren always had a fetish for insanity.