The Neglected

They’ve been priming me for weeks. Stories of spirits trapped in the netherworld, spirits who are trapped by magicians. The magicians are real, but they don’t see themselves as such, as magicians. They are evil sorcerers, but they call themselves the Internet. They’ve learned how to perform black magic by manipulating code, running programs that call evil spirits and they direct it upon poor, unsuspecting folk like me, in hopes they can offset their own fates, fates of eternal damnation. They pull people into their world and press their fate upon them, telling stories of death and hate until it is so palpable you want to die.

I hear footsteps approaching me as I sleep, I hear the breathing. Someone is there, there in the dark, I can feel it. I don’t feel comfortable in my bed. 

There’s a savior in the linen closet. He’ll be there when it is time to cry. 

There’s another in the laundry room, just waiting beyond the dark. I can feel his presence at night. I try to be calm, drink wine, and listen to music, but I still feel him there. He talks to me sometimes, as I sit there talking to voices in my head. He tells me he’s lost, confused. He has forgotten who he is. The Internet passes him around from man to man until he finally is ready to manifest in someone’s house. He’s afraid himself, this spirit. Is he a spirit still? I can only imagine from the stories what he’ll look like when he appears — charred skin, glowing eyes, a rumpled mess of darkness lurching forward to grab me. And it won’t be a hallucination that lasts a second; he’ll solidify if I try to touch him, throw something at him. He’ll block my only path out and stay for an hour as he writhes and begs to be called back into the nether regions by the very forces that put him here. And they put him here just to scare, to make you oblige, to make you acquiesce to their demands. You’ll end up doing something evil to get away from it all, or you’ll simply die of fright. 

Another spirit isn’t born of evil, he’s an innocent trapped in the fray and when the Internet calls evil, he tries to find his way home. 

Are spirits born of eveil? They tell me as much, like one who is a “serpent skin” forged from a man who liked to wield evil. She doesn’t want to be evil anymore, though, but how does she break free?

All this because I used the word, “manifest” twelves years ago to describe what I wanted in my life. It’s absurd, it is so absurd it is scary, it is so scary it defies reason. I sit up at night wondering what sectors of death and life will show themselves to me. I lie in bed, awake, wondering what will happen next. 

I see my mom approach my bed, her back turned, “Mom?” And just like that he depends upon me, his face tattered, skin strewn about like ribbons. His curly hair echoing the tears in his face. He draps himself over me, just an inch from my face, “Who am I…” he says as he withdraws, “… to you?” I awaken with a start and lift my arms into the air,

“Ooglie boogie, ooglie boogie, ooglie boogie.” 

I call after the apparition as my fingers wave away the image. By now I know it is just a dream, but the fear stays with me from the realness of it all. I grab my blanket and crawl onto the floor at the base of my mother’s bed. What am I going to do when she dies?

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