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Dear Diary: Ember's Account

By J. L. GreenPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 15 min read
Dear Diary: Ember's Account
Photo by Obed Hernández on Unsplash

Dear Diary,

At the behest of my doctor, I have decided to get this journal so I can keep track of my day and moods as I start on a new medication. Which is actually a really smart idea, because things can feel hazy between the bouts of being down, the spurts of anxiety, and the mountain of school work.

So, here we go. It's day 1. I have not noticed anything as of now. Fingers crossed it doesn't take long to see a difference in my mood.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 2 - I noticed I am not wanting to eat as much but that's hardly new. I am also nauseous on-and-off (not pregnant!) which can be from the medicine. It isn't too bad and hopefully it will pass as my body gets used to it.

Side note: Party Hall is driving me insane. The dorms have quiet hours for a reason! I can hear people moving around above my room but I don't want to be that person that smacks the ceiling with a broom, ya know?

Will contemplate how to handle this without becoming the social pariah on campus.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 3 - Ho boy. The pharmacist said there could be some gut issues with this medication, such as diarrhea, but I kind of laughed that off.

I should not have.

Note to self: Don't trust any gas. Even if you're confident about it! Wait at least a month before we try trusting again. We got lucky that we were in the dorm this time, and that Julie wasn't here. She's cool but I don't know if she'd be that cool about her roommate crapping her pants.

Hopefully this will pass, or I won't be able to stay on this med.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 4 - No new symptoms.

Though I have noticed that there's a nasty bug going around campus. A lot of people just have the look of illness about them. Lots of shorts and short sleeve shirts, which isn't all that unusual this time of year, but I find it odd that I'm one of a minority of people in a sweater. (Come to think of it, could this be from the medicine too? I'll have to google later.)

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 7 - No new symptoms over the last few days. Well. Unless I can blame last nights sleep paralysis on it. The paralysis demon was hunched on my desk, a shape barely distinguishable from the darkness around it, except for glowing green eyes (which turned out to be the light from my charger). But that's not new, per se. Okay, maybe I can't blame it on that.

Oh! Side note: Party Hall must have gotten a verbal beat-down because they have been respecting the quiet hours. First time all year there was near silence by 10pm. Oddly enough, I almost couldn't sleep without the noise.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 10 - I may have missed some days but that's only because things have been weird around campus. I know I haven't been here too long, but crossing campus everyday gives you a feel of what is supposed to be there: canopies for the clubs promoting their stuff, people tossing a ball around, groups hanging out at the quad, people milling about and chatting with others. Mostly it's just noise.

So the silence hits hard. It is more striking on the nerves than a thunderous uproar.

Or maybe I'm paranoid? I googled and it said an increase in paranoid thoughts can happen but that's more likely in people with bipolar disorder or if they had paranoid thoughts to begin with. I'm not bipolar (as far as I know) and I wasn't having-

~~

Day 13 - Okay, I didn't get to finish day 10 because Julie came back to the dorm in an absolute state. She was dry heaving from crying so hard and had blood dribbling down her chin with no wound in sight.

It took some time, but after she calmed down she said she went to visit her boyfriend (one of the dill-holes in Party Hall that I'm not quite sure I can keep calling Party Hall at this point. It's been near silent with only the sound of footsteps every now and then).

He hadn't been answering her texts or calls. When she saw him, he was pale; beyond just what being sick would look like. He hadn't asked how she was, hadn't done any of his usual banter. He'd leaned in for a kiss and "kissed like a fish". His mouth was open, his tongue invading hers, almost smothering her. Just...wrong.

When she tried to pull away, he'd grabbed the back of her head and cemented her to the spot. Then she tasted something that wasn't saliva.

His mouth on hers was solid and when she refused to swallow whatever the stuff was, he'd plugged her nose. Literally was going to choke her out if she didn't drink, and I guess once he was happy with her, he pulled away.

He'd bitten his tongue until it was bleeding.

She'd swallowed his blood.

She spent the next three days sicker than I've ever seen anyone before. Couldn't leave her bed, hallucinating, fevers through the roof. I talked to the RA multiple times but she told me not to call an ambulance.

I kind of wish I had.

Things looked like they were getting worse and she was crying and sweating so heavily she soaked her bed. No medications were helping, and cool towels didn't stay cool for long. She couldn't eat or keep even water down. And in the middle of all this chaos, she kept saying weird things like "it's consuming me" and "make it stop".

Honestly, I was getting ready to call an exorcist.

The one good thing is that her boyfriend didn't try to visit. He's a big guy and I wasn't looking forward to fighting him, because I sure as Hell wasn't letting him in.

Day three (when I had 9-1-1 pre-dialed, just in case) it was like a switch flipped. I had a semi-friend down the hall keep an eye on her while I left for class. When I got back literally three hours later, she was up and about. She looked healthier in every way, except her eyes; they were still glassy and hooded.

But I was relieved.

She was drinking water like she'd been trapped in a desert, and I suppose she had been, in a way. Between the fevers and sweating, she must have been beyond dehydrated. So her going through a gallon of water within a few hours wasn't too shocking.

Sorry, that's a long entry. But yeah, that was my adventure for the week.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 15 - Something is definitely up and I know that I'm not just paranoid. (Okay I'm like, 85% sure I'm not just paranoid).

First off - there is noticeably less people meandering around campus or in class. Well, the classes that haven't been cancelled due to illness. The ones that are there are not acting the same. I mean, I could be reading into things because of how quickly and suddenly Julie got better.

That brings me to point two - Julie.

I find the timing of her sudden severe illness coupled with her sudden recovery all pretty sus. Like she is forced to drink her boyfriends blood and then gets violently ill? She's not a vampire or anything, but I just don't know what to make of that.

Also! She is still with him!

I have seen them walking across campus, and there'll be days when she doesn't come back to the dorm and it's because she spent the night with him.

Like, am I the weirdo who would want absolutely nothing to do with a guy who did that to me? Hell, I'd have pressed charges! There has to be a law against forcing someone to drink your blood.

Yeah. Something is just...not right.

‘Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 17 - Pretty sure Julie is trying to feed me her blood. And yes, that is as disgusting as it sounds.

We've normally taken care of ourselves, food-wise, or we'll go down to the kitchen and make something together and do dishes and what not. She's a good friend and roommate like that.

But lately, she's been offering me food she's made herself (so she says, but she's attached to her boyfriend at the hip lately so I don't believe that). It's been things like burgers or soups, and I know she isn't one for red meat. I, on the other hand, am, and I know that the meat doesn't look right and the broth is dark brown and clotty.

Considering the change in her, I haven't accepted, feigning a stomachache. And I can't really prove it without outright asking, so I'm sort of stuck.

I'm just...confused. Confused and disgusted. What the Hell is going on around campus?

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Day 19 - Okay, things are serious. After refusing another questionable dish from Julie this morning, I noticed something odd.

She stinks. Like 'three-day-old roadkill in the middle of July in Arizona' stink. And it's not just her.

The classes I've managed to go to are so pungent that I can't manage to make it through them. Me and a handful of others have had to leave before the lecture could finish.

The people are starting to act a bit more like people, but only barely. There is chatter around the quad now, but it is hushed. I can't really make out any distinct conversations, not even any over the phone when people tend to shout without realizing it.

All this stress and weirdness is tiring me out. I'm just mentally exhausted. I don't know what to do. Or who I can even tell. This whole thing sounds insane.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

~~

This is a note for me to remember that I'm not crazy. This is proof, should anything happen.

So I took a nap earlier. Slept really well. But I woke up to that disgusting smell, and when I looked, Julie was in the room, sitting on her bed, staring at me. That in itself is weird, but she didn't move; it's like she was frozen.

It startled me. Then I noticed that she had nothing in front of her. No book, bag, homework, laptop. Not even her phone. She was just sitting on the bed, watching me like it was her hobby.

I realized with the sudden pain of a hammer strike that I didn't want to be anywhere near her. As I got dressed, she continued to stare. After a few minutes of me subtly looking over my shoulder or through the curtain of my hair when I was bent over, I realized that she wasn't blinking.

I messaged my friend Evan an SOS (he's the only one I've talked to recently that seems normal). He wanted me to meet him in the library.

I don't think I've ever dressed faster than I did then. Julie was giving me such major creeps. It was truly ominous; like if I stayed too long in the room, she'd decide to act and I didn't want to find out what she'd do if that happened.

When I met Evan at the library, he seemed like his usual self and I couldn't have been more relieved.

The feeling didn't last.

We secluded ourselves in a little study room at the back of the library, away from prying eyes and the all-consuming stench. When he asked about the SOS, I wanted to spill everything that I've noticed, but stopped myself (I didn't need him thinking I've lost my marbles). I stuck to what had just happened instead; why I was desperate to be out of the dorm.

Evan then confessed that he had noticed the strange occurrences on campus but hadn't said anything for fear of being found crazy. I laughed; the dramatic irony. He also mentioned that he didn't know who he could tell. Not when it seemed like everyone was changing.

We left the library a total of one time to go get lunch from the cafe and then to go to the bathroom. We squirreled our food away in our bags, snuck it in, and stayed in the cubby. It felt like the only safe space.

As the daylight faded, I dreaded the librarian coming around to kick us out. But she didn't. 6pm turned to 7 to 8 to 10. By the time it was midnight, we realized that no one was coming.

Which was just another oddity to add to the list.

I'd fallen asleep at some point and woke up to Evan poking my head.

"Em...Em...look at this."

His voice was no more than a whisper. At first I couldn't place where I was, because the room was dark, but when I went to stand he had a hard grip on my wrist and yanked me back down. My angry yell died on my lips when I saw his eyes. They were wide and terrified.

His hushed voice nearly trembled. "No. Just look."

He was crouched in front of the window with only his eyes peeking up above the sill. I slid from my chair and knelt beside him. The third floor window faced the quad (we chose this spot for that specific reason), and despite the moon being the only light source, I could see that there was a huge gathering of people on the grass. So many that I couldn't count; they all blurred together.

They were standing shoulder to shoulder, forming several circular rings that got smaller and smaller until there was no distinguishing the spaces in the center.

And they were swaying. Perfectly in unison. A flurry of goosebumps erupted along my arms at the sight and the hair at the back of my neck popped straight up.

For at least five minutes they all swayed in eerie harmony. Suddenly they stopped, all at once, almost as if reality glitched.

Whoever was in the middle put their arms in the air and threw their face up to the light of the moon. The rest followed suit, just a sea of arms coming up.

"What the Hell?"

I jumped at the noise. I'd completely forgotten that Evan was there.

When I looked to him, he still had that horrified grimace on his face. He barely spared a glance at me.

I pulled out my phone, intending to take a video, and let the camera focus before pressing start. Turns out, that...was a mistake.

The light on my phone burst to life, glaring against the window like a beacon. Evan smacked the phone to the ground before I could even blink.

I scrambled to turn the light off, Evan muttering frantically beside me, and when I peeked out the window, every single person was turned, looking up.

The one in the center had their hand pointing at us.

Evan's grip on my arm was tight and moist; sweaty.

"We have to go!"

We slung our bags over our shoulders and booked it. I don't think I've ever moved so fast. The stairs were a blur, and when I missed the second to last step on the last flight, I landed wrong on my foot. It twisted and immediately flared with pain.

Evan hardly paused. I don't think he would have, even if the ankle was broken. He was working on pure fear and adrenaline; same as me. Which is why I didn't stop either.

The campus was empty. Blissfully. Thankfully.

We got to the junction of where we usually part; him to his dorm, me to mine.

Here, we stopped.

"Can you walk?" he asked, eyeing my ankle.

I put some pressure on it, the sting of a thousand hornets coming to life beneath my skin, and I hissed. I think I can walk. If I said no, would he risk himself to get me to my dorm? If I said yes, would I be able to make it myself?

I didn't have the time to really weigh my options, not when the marching of hundreds of footfalls came echoing down the path. A single bend in the sidewalk and corner of a building is what kept us out of sight.

"Yes," I finally said (in truth, it took a mere few seconds to answer).

He nodded once, like he heard me but not truly. The wheels in his head were turning quite visibly in his eyes.

"Good. Keep your phone on you, charged, and on silent at all times. Text me if anything happens. Call me if you are in danger."

I swallowed the sand that suddenly filled my throat. "Okay."

He looked at me and actually saw me. I don't know if it was the heat of the moment, the rush of adrenaline, or the chill of fear, but something possessed him to lean forward and cup my cheeks in his hands.

He kissed me, square on the lips like a desperate man. And I kissed him back.

Then I tasted it. Something that wasn't saliva.

I...I didn't dare think. I jerked out of his hold, spitting until my mouth was dry, and saw blood dribbling down his chin. His blood. To my horror, and his, he looked surprised. He coughed, more blood came out.

"Evan?" I whimpered.

God, what kind of human emotional reaction was that? He got blood in my mouth, may well be one of these weirdos we're running from, and I pause to check on him? But...he doesn't seem like he is...one of them. Please, don't let him be.

He wiped his chin and I could see the sweat forming on his brows.

"Oh God," he muttered.

With one last terror-filled glance at me, he turned and ran toward his dorm.

I ran to mine.

And here I am, hiding behind the many boxes under my bed, waiting. I took seven minutes in the bathroom to manually purge my stomach, brush my teeth, swallow at least a quarter of a bottle of Listerine, a swig of vodka, and have been hiding ever since.

Evan hasn't messaged me back. Not to any of the seven texts I've sent in the hour since we parted ways.

He had looked so genuinely shocked, I don't think he was one of them, trying to make me one too. I think...well, I don't know what I think.

~~~~

I fell asleep at some point, but the smell woke me up again. Julie, and her boyfriend unfortunately, came back. I've no doubt that they were amidst the sea of human-shells from the quad.

They said nothing, but I could see their legs moving and their shadows shifting as they paced the room. (I'm lucky I had a stash of grandma's hand-crocheted blankets I could bury myself under and watch through the holes.)

They ruffled through my belongings. Turned back my covers. Tossed the pillows aside. Checked the closet. Almost like they were looking for me? But they couldn't have known that I was the one in the library...right?

Julie looked under my bed. Twice.

It took everything in my power to keep from yelping in surprise.

She'd leaned over, stony faced, not blinking, and wide-eyed with nothing going on behind them; not a single thought. If she saw me, she didn't react.

I dared not breathe too loudly until they left.

Then, my phone came to life. A text, from Evan!

'Hey. Ember. Lets meet up. Preference?'

I stared, confused, and sent back a simple, 'What?'

'How else can I say this? Ember. Larry's is open. Pretty sure that'll be good. Meet there. Evening."

That didn't make much more sense. I'm conflicted. I don't want to meet him, but I don't want to leave him either. Not if he's well enough to text. Heaven knows Julie hadn't been.

But...the look on his face. The blood. The sweat.

Can I really write all that off as a coincidence?

Can I abandon him when he may need my help?

(My last normal friend.)

What do I do?

~~~~

Dear Diary,

Here we are, day 22. Everything is fine. Looking back, I can see a spiral in my mental state. Paranoia.

Meeting with him turned out to be good. Evan was fine.

Hah, things got weird for a bit. Eventually, they calmed down. Like, almost normal. Pretty much.

Maybe it was all in my head. Entangled with a new medication, I might have blown this whole thing out of proportion.

However. Evan apologized for the kiss. Likewise, for the texts. Probably came from him feeling a little sickly.

Must be that time of year. Everything is fine.

'Til Tomorrow,

Ember

Short StorythrillerPsychologicalMystery

About the Creator

J. L. Green

I've been writing for fun since I was a preteen and haven’t stopped since. I tend to favor the darker/angsty/thriller type of themes. Here’s to hoping readers enjoy my work, and those that don't find something they do.

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    J. L. GreenWritten by J. L. Green

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