Wed. Dec 8th, 2021
Dan Debuque
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor | | + posts

Dan Debuque is a fifth-year English major with a minor in Film Criticism.

There has always been… something behind me.

I never gave it a name, it seemed safer not to. Whatever it is, I’d rather it be formless, less familiar. And what is a name, if not identity and form? But, like a name, it has been with me my entire life, passive but permanent. I hesitate to call it an entity, maybe a presence is more fitting. 

To explain the presence is more difficult. I think of it like a waking sleep paralysis. It constantly exists on the periphery of my vision, but always behind me. When I first became aware of the presence as a child, I was more curious than fearful. My parents were unbothered, positing that it must be my grandfather’s spirit watching over me. It appeased me at the time, but as I grew older I became certain it was something else. I sensed no familial guardianship. I sensed nothing at all, as if it was simply existing without purpose.

However, that changed tonight.

The past few weeks, I’ve noticed a shift in the presence’s behavior. I’ve felt it moving, always towards me. It is not consistent, but I’ve found that it follows a pattern or behavior; moving only when I am especially stressed, anxious or asleep. What disturbs me most is that this seems to suggest it reacts to my vulnerable states. Naturally, these states have only increased when I became aware of the presence’s momentum. And I dreamed more.

Last night, I dreamed of myself in a shimmering room. I could not actually see the walls, but I knew they existed. In front of me a column of light shone through me, casting a shadow on the opposite wall. I turned to examine my shadow, which took shape as a perfect recreation of my form, albeit in deep black. A black so intense it seemed to shine as any light would. And like any light, it seemed to project towards me, refracting and perforating me. I turned back to the column of light to see it had also taken my form, and just as the luminous figure began to lumber forward, I awoke.

I am not clever enough to analyze this dream as anything other than my mind attempting to make sense of my circumstances, but even still, it has consumed my thoughts since. The presence fed off it as well, and it has taken a steady gait that has not ceased. 

I tell you all of this simply because I have no other options.  Even now, the presence presses directly behind me, still refusing to be seen but now overwhelming my bedroom with its aura. I can only wait, and I feel an odd sense of curiosity. I want to understand. 

As if to respond, the presence reacts. Its appendages, I am unsure if they are arms or otherwise, begin to wrap themselves around my own arms. Against my instincts, I feel both comforted and invaded by the sensation. The appendages enter my arms, and the presence’s body follows suit, coalescing into my own like two raindrops meeting on a windowpane. At that moment, I suddenly knew the name of the presence, igniting my synapses as if I knew it from the beginning. 

And in truth, I always did know. Its name is my name.



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