It’s cold in here.
My arms are wrapped so tight around my legs I feel like they’ll cut right through my shin bones. I consider letting go but I can’t. I’m too afraid. It’s like the cold will catch me. Eat me, if I let go. Like it has fingers and it’s tickling my back. I shudder at the thought of it because I can feel something touching my back and it does feel like fingers.
But I’m alone so that’s not possible. I edge myself closer to the wall, so its icy surface is flush with my bare spine. I didn’t want to have to get this close to the source of the cold in fear the proximity would do me in. Would turn me to stone. But now that I am here, the boney parts of my back grinding against the hardest part of the wall, I realize I was wrong. The wall is not the problem.
The cold is coming from somewhere else.
I readjust the grip around my knees, palms cupping the sharpest peaks of my elbows. There are no windows in this room. There used to be–I think–but my memory is foggy now, like Vaseline on a mirror; I should see what is reflected back but it’s all milky and wrong. It’s backwards isn’t it? When did it switch? I closed my eyes so long ago I can’t remember. My bones chatter against my veins, my muscles. My nerves. My head hurts from clenching. It’s gotten to the point where I have to latch my teeth together to keep them from jack-hammering.
“Did you see it?”
It. I hear these voices all the time. Sometimes they are curious but most of the time they are just shrill, life-damning screams. I would plug my ears but I can’t let go cause… well, cause of the cold. The exquisite cold that seemed to have just come out of nowhere, without warning. The cold that has been with me so long I forget what the sun smells like. I wish I could remember because maybe then I could get out of here. Out of this darkness that was once a soft yellow room. Or was it blue? Or Black. Everything is black now.
A hand presses against my forehead.
A human hand. I know because I can feel blood pumping through the center of it. Maybe if I opened my eyes I would see who it was. But the problem is: I know I’m alone. I entered this room alone. We all enter this room alone. That’s the shit part of it all, and I–we–should have known, cause that part was never the mystery. The secret. That part was always on the table; you leave the room alone and you enter the room alone. It was just something we–I–took for granted. I just never expected to get stuck here. To get trapped in the cold, in the black. In the in between.
It’s stupid as hell though.
When you think about it, because it was always right there in front of us. The truth, hiding under the guise of silly words, names. Excuses. I never believed in it. Not until now. Not until I came to understand what being haunted meant. But I suppose no one can know. No one outside of the room. How could they? The truth is hidden in a reversal so maniacal no one could see it.
No one alive, at least.
Because no one alive could ever comprehend the fact that they are the ones doing the haunting. The talking, the touching. The screaming. And we, the ghosts, are trapped in this room. Holding on for dear life. Holding on as long as we can before the cold swallows us whole.