The Pleasures of Obsession

Blinking away the sleep from my eyes, I lifted my head up wearily. It seemed as if I had fallen asleep over the book I was studying the previous night. I felt around for the candle that had lighted the darkness of the windowless room. It was a mere stub, it had burnt out long ago. I guessed it must have been daytime then. I massaged the back of my aching neck and let out a groan that sounded like an insubstantial whisper. Working through the night, I had lost most of any energy I had had. I had eaten and drunk very little the day before or even the days before that.

Moving my head around to loosen the muscles of my neck, my eyes scanned the darkness. The dark brought no feelings of oppression, fear or doom in me. I knew the comforting presence hidden unseen: My books. I had painstakingly collected every last of them. They were carefully shelved, kept in pristine condition, read and re-read. By me. I had nothing but them and their company. They were good friends, asking for next to nothing, always there and giving all that you would expect. Most importantly, they were always there. You could rely on them. They would never stab you unexpectedly with venomous daggers in the back.

I got up hesitantly, hoping to go regain my energy and another candle. The mere action took a great amount out of me, almost sending me to my seat again. My chair seemed to be made of solid rock; it took me a paramount effort to push it away. I took shuddering steps towards where I knew the door was, leaning on the wall for support rather than guidance. Feeling for the handle, I felt the cool, unfeeling metal beneath my hand. Finding it, I tried to turn it. Getting into a position with more leverage, I tried again. Nothing. Somehow, the mechanism operating it had jammed, perhaps from the expansion resulting of change in temperature. It did not matter. What faced me now was a daunting prospect. This room had been designed to keep no one from intruding and stealing the treasures within. I made it so that I could think of no way to get in. I completely forgot about wanting to go out. I had no way of leaving it and with my energy sapped state, there was no way I could think of any way to escape. Brute force would not work. Nothing would.

No one would help me. I relished my isolation in reading and took measures against any one disturbing me. It was very unlikely I would be found. I had no friends or family to visit me. They were gone, banished as I slowly culled them out of my life one by one, preferring to live in the world between the covers of my books rather than the harsh realities they represented. All of them had disappeared, to my infinite pleasure. No one would disturb me now. Or help me.

I was going to die here in this room. I looked at the darkness with horror; seeing my books in my mind. They did not seem like the perfect friends I had thought them to be. My death would be a horrifying one. As my energy painfully would recede, I would see visions and illusions. They would be a mix dominated by my dread-filled imagination, increasing my dread and thus increasing their horror in a vicious cycle. I would go insane and die as starvation ripped the last breath out of me.

I wanted to laugh, bitterly. It was ridiculous that I would die in this way. Trapped in my most prized room with my most prized collections. Because there was no one to save me! Because I had prized them too much! Because I had let them suck everything out of me, even the desire to live normally. I barely ate or slept because I was too engrossed in what I was reading, barely noticing my bodily needs until my vision grew blurry or I had fallen asleep. That was why I could not force upon the door.

A lesson had been taught to me and since, I, soon to be dead and insane, could make no use of it, I would pass it on. Shakily, I got up. Without realizing it, I had slid to the floor overcome with despair and hopelessness. Feeling my way, I resumed my seat. There, I felt for my inkwell and a sheet of parchment. My hands shook dreadfully with weakness. In the dark, I wrote as carefully as I could with those two impediments a very brief, almost scientific, description of what had occurred to me. I signed at the end with my name. My only show of any feeling were my last words:

'Obsession Kills. Hideously.'