The sunlight mocked her. Its dancing spirals of light, a vicious mime of all that she was not. She drew the heavy drapes across the bay windows, casting long, dark silhouettes across the parquet floor. She returned to her position at the far end of the tiny room, as far from the slanting shadow of light creeping through the central gap in the curtains as she could get. She perched on the edge of a velveteen armchair like a fragile finch, poised to take flight at any moment. Her long, auburn hair framed her ashen face, obscuring her dark eyes as she bowed her head, hands clasped together, focused on the movement of her fingers. Agitated.
She stood up abruptly.
He loomed over her, staring down. His breath rasping. Cold and heavy. He followed her; watching voicelessly with hollow, haunting eyes. She could feel them clawing at her back.
She paced the room counting her heartbeats. Her left hand instinctively reaching for her right wrist. Sign of life. Tick. Tick. Tick. It made her want to vomit. She tried to think of herself before him. Before he had violated her. She searched the recesses of memory. She could not remember. Why couldn’t she remember?
Even on lighter days, she had always known him. He was always there. Relentless. Waiting in the angles. Pervasive. Loitering.
Today, she did not have the energy for a fight. He would have it his way. She had already succumbed.
She returned to her perch. What else to do?
He was gleeful almost. His form shifting and swirling like a dark tempest; revelling in the despair of a destroyed land. A dance macabre for the dead and dying. She refused to turn towards him, casting her eyes to the floor, searching for something, anything else to focus on. The criss-cross of the dark wood held her attention as she followed their jagged joining lines across the room. Their uniform pattern a momentary release.
He is still there. She can feel his breath.
Seconds passed to the steady pulse of a metronome. Time tick, tick, tick. Her thoughts.
She finally looked up, her eyes meeting his.
"Why won't you leave me alone?" she pleaded silently, her irises heavy with the water weight of emotionlessness. Emptiness spilled down her ashen cheeks. Saltless.
He has no answer.
Instead, he reached out, a shadowy tendril extending toward her, as if to offer some semblance of comfort. She flinched at his touch, but she knew escape was impossible. She could not muster the strength to fight him; he was a formidable adversary. An insidious presence infiltrating her thought, toying with her mind. It was a game to him. Part of the amusement of it all.
He continued to watch, his malevolence a constant torment. He laughed sardonically as he revelled in her suffering, in the way she crumbled beneath the weight of his influence. It was satisfying to him.
In an attempt at salvation she fumbled for the remote control, pointing it like a revolver at the ageing TV in the far corner of the room. Voices. The noise hurt her physically. Bursting into her head like a tidal wave, crashing through her. The waves thrash and kick and scream. She turns off the machine and tosses the remote on the floor. It is futile to resist.
Hours passed in agonising silence, the room growing darker as the slit of daylight filtered into night. The room seemed to close in around her, claustrophobic. Airless. She could barely breathe. Tick. Tick. Tick. “Mamma called it the blues” she thinks bitterly as exhaustion engulfs her and she sinks into his weight.
He watches her with cold, unfeeling eyes. The victor.
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