It Wants In [Flash Fiction]
Its claws rake at the windows of my soul, sharp talons searching, exploring, hunting for the tiniest crack to exploit. Formless It drifts, alert for one moment of weakness, poised—perpetually—to strike.
It whispers, a scratchy voice which penetrates the walls of my mind. I walk into a room full of strangers, and It tells me, They think you’re ugly. When I’m asked what I think of a friend’s new music video, It snaps, Complete garbage! I swallow annoyance over some perceived slight at work, and It devours the sentiment, gorging Itself on what I’m torn between not being able to say and what I want to say.
Jailer. Host. Chauffeur. It knows me by many names, but I know It only as some indefinable monster. Some dark reflection that lurks within the shadows of consciousness and never, ever rests. I hide It behind a mask of false smiles and vague pleasantries, drown It in a thousand half-full glasses and shroud It within the stifling embrace of poorly-stitched silver linings.
The mask works, for a time. The world sees the smiles, the silver-linings, the half-full glasses, and is none the wiser. But there are two people the mask can’t fool; myself, and the shadow lurking behind it. Each day, when I wake up, I fix the mask in place. All I know for sure is that It wants in, and I don’t know what will happen to me if It ever finds that crack.
Today’s flash fiction was written for one of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Friday prompts, another “pick your title out of these ten and write something coherent” affair.
The shadowy image above seems to originate somewhere here, but I can’t find a proper page source or license. If you know where attribution belongs, please let me know!