I’m not sure if it was the rain that woke me up or the fact that I couldn’t breathe, but whatever it was I’m awake now and I know sleep won’t come again tonight. Sitting up I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and press my feet into the cold floor.
“Ground yourself, focus on the cold.” Looking through the gap in the curtain I know it’s early. “Great the sun’s not even up yet and I’m already talking to myself, should be a great fucking day at this rate.” I sigh and push myself towards the window, knowing that fresh air will help.
“It won’t help.” A raspy voice says from the chair in the corner. “They say talking to yourself is a sign that you’re going crazy.”
“Fuck you, and who says that?” I don’t need to turn around to know who is in my room, we’ve met before.
“Save it dickhead, I know what you’re trying to do and it won’t work. Why are you even here?”
“I always forget how sweet you can be in my company.” A chuckle bubbles from the dark. “But, to answer your question, I’m here because you keep inviting me back.”
“I don’t…” I whisper, knowing even as the words leave my lips it’s a lie.
“You don’t…what? You don’t invite me in? You don’t want me here? Oh, I see. We’re in the denial phase again. What fun!”
Looking down, I scowl at my white knuckles and slowly peel my fingers from the sill. I know how this goes, we’ve played this game before. Every time it’s the same, a battle of wills, who can outlast the other. Steeling my face, I spin around to look at my tormentor.
“Not bad, you were quicker this time, but judging by the fact that I’m still here it’s not good enough. A for effort though.” Through the darkness, I can’t make out his face but I know he’s smiling.
“You actually enjoy this, don’t you? At least I don’t get off on people’s misery, I’d say that makes you crazier than me.” I know it’s petulant but I don’t have many options here.
“I never claimed sanity, I leave that to you.” The shadow shifts somehow growing darker and continues. “You might as well put that face away, it doesn’t scare me. Especially not when I know what lies beyond it, all those feelings you hide from everyone, you can’t hide them from me.” The shadow stops talking as suddenly as he started.
“While you were rambling about how good at your job you are, I remembered the most important thing.” Taking a deep breath, I walk away from the window and step in front of the shadow. “If I invited you then it stands to reason I can kick your ass out.”
“Well, well, well…look who came to play.” Rising from the chair he circles me, applauding my newfound confidence before bending to whisper in my ear. “Well played this time, but I’ll be back you know I will. I’m always waiting, watching, biding my time…I’m always just beyond the veil.”