picture prompt.

Shannon Holmes

Alive

She stands in the doorway, looking forwards towards her dark future, which is devoid of hope. The setting sun shines in the background, illuminating her, but the darkness of the room casts a shadow, so only her shape is visible. As she sinks to her knees, one word sounds from her hoarse throat in a shrill scream. "ALIVEEEEE!", and with this final sentiment the heavy brick door slams behind her leaving her in pure blackness, so intense that it feels like not a shred of light is to be found anywhere in the world

A young girl sat in a dark room. Though it was a warm night, she shivered, shadows dancing in her mind. Everywhere she looked, were the demons of her past, brought to life in a very real way. Morbid thoughts flashed across her consciousness. Though she knew it was all a result of her twisted mind, to her, somehow, it was not just imagination. In a way, that was true, for who's to say what's real or not?

For years, that dark room was her hell and her sanctuary. She escaped from the blinding light of her illusion of happiness into the darkness which showed her true self. Every night, her imagination raced, showing her fantastic and gruesome things. Everywhere she looked, she saw unearthly creatures. The chaos that her mind became could no longer distinguish reality from fiction. She slowly fell apart, her desolate mind collapsing in on itself, sinking slowly into madness.

Slowly, her night terror spread. Her monsters started appearing to her all the time, and she started to retreat from the world of reality into the world of her own mind. To her, life was just a dream and her fear was real.

She was 15 when the spirits started appearing to her. At first it was in a small way; a strange figure in the back of the room in class, a movement out of the corner of her eye. It only happened occasionally and didn't last long. Then, on her 16th birthday, a spirit spoke to her.

She saw the creature out of the corner of her eye. It was merely a black shape, just barely distinguishable as a human form. She had no fear of it; she had lived her life seeing creatures and monsters everywhere she looked, and this was just more intense, more real. Always before, she had ignored them as she had learned to, but this time something made her turn her head, just slightly, until the creature was in perfect view. It was not so much dark as absent of light. The pure blackness made it so that she couldn't look at it too hard, for her eyes watered and burned. It had a vaguely human shape, but its body seemed to move freely of itself, as though it had no bones or joints.

She wasn't at all afraid, just frustrated. She longed to be like the other teenagers in her school. They took life lightly, and seemed to have no problems further then who was going to ask them to prom, and who had the best clothes or cars. She wondered when the visions and things she saw would let her be, and let her live that kind of life.

A voice, which seemed to surround her and fill her with a sort of dread, came from the general vicinity of the dark creature. "But you know…that if we left you…you would have nothing left to fill you…nothing left to remind you that you are…alive." The voice was quiet, but she didn't have to strain to hear it. It seemed to almost go straight to her brain, as though the words were her own thoughts. Her eyes dropped to the floor, knowing that this statement was true. Her visions, her "hallucinations" broke her down but also kept her going. She would no longer exist without these things; she would fade away to nothing.

After that the demonic creature seemed to fade away. Things were different after that though; the spirits came to her more frequently, and stayed longer. They told her things; in the beginning they told her how special, how amazing she was. Then it quickly turned sour. They began to call her worthless, ugly, disgusting. Her already fractured mind became nothing more than a black hole, nothing but bleak despair.

Eventually it became too much. Everywhere she looked was a vision, showing her that she'd never amount to anything. Every time someone near her spoke, their cruel words echoed in her mind, blocking out the sounds of reality. Her head constantly ached and her thoughts continuously raced. She was a disaster waiting to happen, and one day it did.

She had spent an agonizing night tossing and turning, unable to sleep. The shadows of the dark loomed over her, seeming to grow until they encompassed and enshrouded her. When she finally drifted off, her dreams were of the malicious beings that haunted her daily existence.

Morning came too early. The bright light that streamed through her window hurt her eyes and her head. Her mother came into her room, screaming and cursing, telling her she would be late for school. When that didn't work she got a slap across the face. This woke her up and she grudgingly headed to school.

Everything seemed fine for the first few periods of her day. Then the inevitable happened; an apparition appeared to her in the middle of class, and someone noticed her strange behavior. A girl, one of the 'popular' crowd, a stereotypical cheerleader, dating the captain of the football team, spoke under her breath. "Freak."

The girl's- our black hero's- head snapped up. Her eyes, black as the night sky shone with hate. Her voice, which she used very scarcely, came out in a rough whisper. "I'm a freak?"

The other girl giggled in a malicious way. "You think you're not? With your freaky green eyes, living in your own little world, having conversations when nobody's there. You're the craziest kid in this school. What the hell is wrong with you?"

"No, what's wrong with you?" Her voice became stronger. "You sit there, inside the shell that they built for you. You can't even see what's really there." She heard a snicker and turned to see a dark phantom in the corner of the room.

The voice which seemed to materialize straight in her head spoke. "But what do you see that's really there? You see us; but are we all in your mind? Admit it; you really don't know. And you're in the shell we built for you…which is stronger, much, much stronger then the shell of society's expectations. Come on, it's time to show them, and yourself, what's really there."

A strange sensation overtook her, and she lost her grip on reality. She no longer had control over her body, and it seemed to move in jerking motions as she stood up. Her eyes glowed with a fire that had never graced them before. Her mouth, usually exceedingly grim spread into a wide smirk. Her normally bitter thoughts danced in her head. She felt- for the first time- alive.

She laughed, and it was the laugh of a childhood that had been suppressed for too long. The childish joy in her heart came out and she laughed and laughed until her laughter turned until giggling and faded, until her sides ached and not a breath was left in her lungs.

The cheerleader giggled too, but of course she was not laughing with her but rather at her. "Psycho." she muttered.

Slowly, the laughter and amusement turned into rage. Fury bubbled up in her heart and in her mind, until it spilled over into her body. Adrenaline coursed under her skin and her heart raced. Unable to stop herself, she ran forwards and grabbed the nearest thing she saw; a compass. Before she knew it, her hand was coming up and jamming the thing into the girl's eye socket. Blood spurted out of the punctured eyeball. A scream echoed from the cheerleader's mouth, and echoed over and over again in then girl's mind. The scream slowly died away and the cheerleader fell to the floor, the thing sticking out of her eye.

The assailant ran. She ran until her breathing was labored and she reached a dilapidated brick farmhouse, abandoned years ago. Without thinking she threw herself into the door, and it opened with ease. She stood in the doorway, and her scream echoed, though there was no one around to hear it. The heavy brick door slammed shut, and left her alone with her agony.

This is where our story ends, with our hero, a 16 and a half year old girl, alone in the dark. No one is there to comfort her, as no one ever was. She has lived a life of pain and terror, which has not even come close to preparing her for the reality that has finally hit her. Her body is found months later by a construction crew who enter the farmhouse to start rebuilding, dead of starvation and perhaps a broken heart. She lived her life in the dark, and ended it there too. She never left the hell that she led her life in, and is remembered only by the readers of this story, and a girl who spends the rest of her life half blind, no longer 'hot' or 'popular.' She should be remembered as a lost soul, though strong enough to live with her pain, but I'm afraid that she will forever be known as the 'freak', the 'psycho' that everyone despised and no one understood. Maybe in death, she's alive as she never was in life.