The roach was back.
It squatted on the couch, wriggling in place and flicking it's antennae at her. A cold glare from the ceiling light licked the lacquer of its back in a chilling caress.
It was big. Bigger than any cockroach she had seen before. Bigger than she had thought possible.
Horrifyingly, it was almost four feet long.
And getting bigger.
Watching her with hungry eyes, it clicked it's mandibles into a fervent rhythm.
Blinking hard, Stacey tried to banish the sight. To tell herself that it wasn't real.
The wet sound it made as it moved told her otherwise.
She could hear the guttural swallowing of its throat as the roach opened and shut its jaws; smell the pungent and sour aroma of its bile.
More than that she could feel its presence in the room with her. It repulsed her, like the inverse point of a magnet.
But if that was true then, given the polarising properties of magnets, did that mean that she was just like the creature? A horrifying and disgusting roach.
The throb of her headache pulsed beneath her scalp and fingers of dryness crawled up her throat. The parched sensation caused her to gag. Retching into her mouth, the ache raced through her hairs and acid burned her oesophagus.
Limbs arching into spindled movement, the roach came for her. It crawled down onto the floor and snapped towards her.
Her socks slipped over the laminate and she scrambled back. Back. Back.
As far away as she could get.
Into the corner of the room.
Beside her, a vase toppled from its table and was obliterated by the floor. A shard of china sunk into her hand and pain screamed up her arm.
Panic setting in, she tried to increase the distance. She tried to get away.
Her back found the wall.
She could go no further.
The sound of her heartbeat eclipsed everything. It roared in her ears, like the beating of a hummingbird's wings. Rapid breaths trembled through her. Her eyes started to lose focus; her vision blurring with the tears.
The roach was definitely closer.
Its feelers brushed her face.
A whimper escaped her lips.
Please, she thought, begging to anyone that would listen. Please make it go away. Please make it stop!
But it didn't. It crawled ever closer, and soon it was on top of her.
Stacey could feel its weight bearing down on her. Heavy and oppressive, its presence added to her fear, and she realised that she was paralysed.
Whimpers escaped her mouth.
No more! Please!
The stench was overpowering and she could feel its putrid breath on her face.
Finally she screamed.
An ugly sound escaped her lips. The chilling scream of pure terror.
Stacey tasted blood in her mouth, from where the force of the scream had torn her throat.
Still the roach sat on her. It didn't flinch. It barely moved, save for the click of its jaws.
The sour heat of its breath pressed into her face as it spoke.
She screamed again. And again. And again.
Her limbs thrashed as she tried to buck it off of her.
It's legs gripping her with a horrifying strength, it refused to be moved. The roach held her tight and immobilised.
"No!" she screamed back, the tears stinging her eyes and blinding her. "No! No! No! No! No!"
It began to shake her. The strength of it terrified her. She knew that, if it wanted to, it could rip her apart.
Stacey continued to scream. To fight. To cry. But it did little good. Escape was impossible. It was too strong.
She was going to die.
She was going to die.
As Adrian Freeman held his daughter, and called her name to no avail, he knew that they were past the point of no return.
This was only the latest episode in five years, but it was by far the most violent.
What Stacey was seeing, he had no idea. He didn't know what went on in her head when the hallucinations hit.
But what he did know was that it couldn't continue.
Not like this.
She needed help.
More than he could give.
Someone to care for her. To make sure that she took her pills. To give her the care she needed.
Fighting against the power in her thin arms, he held her as gently as he could manage. He had to, incase she ended up hurting herself even worse.
The sound of her screams ringing in his ears, as he waited it out, he made up his mind.
He would call them in the morning.