I’m scared. I stand at the edge of a precipice, alone, peering into its murky depths. My heartbeat is the only sound piercing the stillness. I gaze into the abyss and it gazes back at me. Inviting me, pulling at my seams. Daring me to plunge. Still I resist. Refuse to leave the dryness of its shore, for the thought of its icy grip on my ankles is enough to remind me why I carved this protective place for myself. The emptiness of the chasm manifests a deep sense of calm, a serene backdrop to this home I’ve found; the gentle embrace of its crushing presence filling my life with certainty, if nothing else - its domain haunted by a watchful and malevolent daemon insistent on keeping me out of harm’s way in the worst way imaginable. I know it and it knows me, for I am its master as much as it is mine. We have found our own version of peace in this place, an armistice of mutual oppression, each one content to play our role as long as the other does not make a move.
Change. My instincts kick into overdrive. Heightened senses, panicked vigilance. It takes me a while to realize why. I can see the clearly the reflection of danger from across. What torments does she wish to inflict upon me? Nonetheless, I know that this, too, is a demon - and demons are predictable. A phantom I’ve conjured is a phantom I know how to dispel. The theory is uncomplicated: I know I must close my eyes and run.. but I am yet paralyzed. Why keep running? Why not just give in? But I see the waters below churning. They can sense the tension in the air. The waves beckon at me, wanting to devour me alive. I know that if I give in, this will spell my end.
I have to find the strength to keep running, somewhere. Yet the more I try moving my muscles, the harder it becomes. Caught in an inverse Zeno’s paradox of progress - wherein every step I try taking depends on me making a seemingly infinite number of smaller steps first. Realizing my helplessness in this struggle, I accept its vanity. I cannot run, I cannot hide. For this demon is a clever one. It tracked my movements for longer than I wished to admit, and has sprung a trap on me in the least expected moment. Now it’s too late to set up additional defenses. It invaded my domain and I cannot simply banish it. No, the only path forwards is war. A hellish maelstrom whence I cannot hope to return unscathed. Gritting my teeth and accepting my fate, I finally regain control over my feet.. only to feel them once again slipping down this slippery slope, towards the onslaught below.
A vain attempt at crying for help, but it reaches only deaf ears and cold stone. I don’t want to tumble down this path. But I have no choice in the matter. Events long set in motion outside my control. Chemicals conspiring against me. Patterns repeating themselves. Invisible daemons running inside the back of my mind. Cycles from which I cannot escape, forever trapped in their spiraling whirlwinds. I wish I could make it stop, but the memory of empty hopes from a time long since gone is keeping the flickering flame of humanity alive far past the end of the age of light, the darkness only seeming to fuel its desire.
If you’re reading this, I don’t know what else to say to you. I wish I could be honest with you. But my prison of lies is a meticulous one. I can only hope that you learn to pierce it with your gaze. Please don’t hurt me too badly.