This series has been inspired by r/WritingPrompts – a place where short stories are born on Reddit. Every time a new story is born, it will appear here as well.
“Since you were born you have received an anonymous letter on the same date every year. The first one stated see you in 35 years and the number has dropped by one year every note since. You just got the last ever letter see you tomorrow“
I will say in this last diary entry that my life has been overall happy. My parents, generally well off, provided for me and I myself have built something out of myself in the realm of literary studies. My life in general has been good and I have scarcely any complaints about it. At least I thought so until the letter I have received – when? This morning? How much time has passed? Oh, my mind is scattered so – and have been receiving since my birth.
For if you read this diary – and all those before it – you will see that every day of my life, ever since my birth, I have been receiving this mysterious letter. With no name and no return address. I now know why and as my life will soon end, I can finally say I understand it all. Alas, understanding appears too much to bear. My mind, always so agile and bright, now is scattered, lost, uncomprehending of the surroundings. As you may note from my writings, my hands are shaking and I believe only the bottle now allows me to put down these last sentences. For I feel if I am to leave this world, I must tell what I saw, must tell what I came to understand and hope, as God being my witness, that I shall not be judged harshly for my weakness.
For it all started – or should I say concluded – this morning. The now final letter has come to me. See you at midnight. That’s all it said, in its usual, lean and elegant handwriting the likes of which I have never seen, although I have witnessed many a style in my days of literary learning. In 35 years I have been receiving these letters, counting down the to mysterious meeting, I was never able to find out where the letters are coming from. And they seem to find me all the time, anywhere I am, any time, any place. Even in my travels, on train or out at sea, I would find a letter mercilessly counting down among my items I carried with me. In all these years, my reactions to these letters changed from burning curiosity of teenagehood (maybe some rich relative is still alive and want me to inherit their fortune?), the quiet determination of studenhood (maybe it is some long experiment conducted by the government?) and a wondering indifference of adulthood (perhaps I shall find out soon enough). Now, I see I should have been stricter over myself. So much stricter…
On the early morning, at the break of autumn dawn, as I woke from my warm bed, I saw the letter already there with a singular message. I must admit, although I feel only fear and self-loathing now, back then I felt curiosity, something like I felt as a teenager when I dedicated much more energy to finding out who was it that sent me these countdowns. The day went by slow, as all do when anticipation encroaches your heart and mind. As midnight approached, I waited in my singular room, trying to read and occupy myself, but all I really did was wait for the bell at the door to ring.
From here on out, I am unsure as to the chronology of the events. Whoever reads this, must decide on their lonesome how the events happened, but I will stay my hand and tell them how I remember them and allow the reality of these happenings be determined by the reader.
As clock ticked to midnight, I was pacing, ready to jump to the door, which never rang. Instead, I heard a tap on the window. My skin crawled and my heart raced, as I lived on a third floor. As I stood there, paralyzed by the impossibility of this occurrence, the tapping repeated. Slowly, with all the heaviness the uncertainty could fill my feet, I moved towards the window. It was dark in the inner courtyard and the moon was covered with thick autumn clouds. I hesitated, but as the tap repeated inches from my face, I jerked back and almost fell. My eyes must have deceived me, for at this time of remembering the scene, I could clearly state there was no one there. I gathered my courage and lifted the window open. For a while, there was nothing there, nothing moving, no nighttime sound seeping into the room. Only now it reads to me as odd and I probably should have been more suspicious – oh the naivete of the curios.
As I leaned over the desk and out the window, it came. The thick darkness that I took for moonless night seeped into my room and enveloped me. It rippled in itself, like the thickest fumes one can imagine, tar and moist, yet cold. I was petrified by the happenings, yet intrigued by the phenomenon I have yet to witness. I reached out, hoping to grasp the rippling darkness in front of me when it happened. An eye, larger than I can describe an eye to be, opened in the darkness. It rotated fast until it zeroed in on me, the blazing, sinister red in burning me all the way to my soul. I wanted to scream, but couldn’t, wanted to run, but my feet were glued to the darkness, paralysis taking over my entire being.
Finally. We meettttt. A voice, oh my Lord, the voice. One, but with thousands ringing within it, so loud and yet felt ringing in my head. Only later I realized that it was I that spoke. My mouth formed into shape necessary to produce the sound, yet my brain did not register it.
Return to meeee. Now the voice was different, coming from somewhere else. More eyes opened in the darkness, some red, some blue, some changing color so fast I couldn’t describe. Then, the pain came. So wrenching it was, I still feel it all over my body. My bones felt broken, my flesh ripped apart as something seeped out of me. It ran out like hot wax and I screamed – I felt my inner flesh melt away and run out of me, so painful it was. And then, after an apparent eternity of this pain, I saw IT. A bulging mountain of red flesh, riddled with eyes – my eyes. All of them looked at me as I gasped for air. I could see the exact green of my eye color and as terrifyingly large mouth formed in the middle of this bulbous mass, I could see the exact shape of thin lips I so often saw in the mirror. It was me.
Welcome home. The outside voice spoke again. Then there was screeching so loud, my ears hurt and my brain fogged over and I believe I have fainted for a while, for when I came to, I saw the bulbous mass gnawing at my bloodied skin, the pain returned as the last pieces of IT came out of me. I screamed, I think, or wanted to scream, yet I can’t recall if I did or tried to run or not. The pain was so great, I wanted it to end. Almost the same way I want all this memory to end now.
I daresay I must have lost consciousness again, for when I came to, I was on the floor in my room, my clothes torn apart and bloodied, my skin pierced, my bones aching and my mind blistered by the experience. I knew it then that what has been present all my life, constantly reminding to me of its presence in form of a letter, was the Evil. The true Evil that accumulated over the years seeped out of myself and attempted to devour me. I felt it in my aching bones and shuddering soul that it was not done.
Now, as I sit here with two candles flickering, second emptying bottle in front of me and write these lines, I can say with certainty that the looming mystery of the letters became clear to me. I was born with Evil within me and throughout all these years, it was waiting, waiting to be forced out by even Greater Evil. Every moment I close my eyes, the myriad of burning eyes, including my own, stare back at me. Somewhere, in the logical corner of my mind, I wonder how many others had this Evil looming over them…but it doesn’t matter now.
I can hear the tapping on the window again. I will not answer this time. The rope is prepared and it will only take moments. The tap repeated. Lord have mercy on my Evil soul.
Picture credit: Ryan McGuire