This work was previously featured on The Enigmatic Monster Project; it is the first part of a planned series.
She left her body, dazed, confused. At the other end of the room her body was slumped against the wall. A bright red gash stood in stark contrast with her lemon yellow shirt. From her left ear all the way down to her navel oozed a line of blood onto the bleached-white linoleum. Her face was blurred, as if it had never been.
It was odd how one could feel so free and yet so unfinished at the same time. The body had served as a varnish for her soul; from the corner of her eye she caught herself in a mirror. A shadow stared back at her.
Having the ability to feel things outside of her body was different. Right now she felt a level of anxiety that was so much more intimate with her than if she were alive. Now that everything was bared for the cosmos to gawk at, there was nothing to hide, and Anxiety–pure emotion personified–was given free reign over her. Slowly it began to break away from her corpse, a distinct hum radiating from the thing as it crawled to her, the spirit. A morbid fascination stole over her as she watched.
When It was close enough it began to grope her.
And then it began to dig inside of her.
The Anxiety moved with a such a violent fervour that she was forced to dart away. Running was a mistake. It was useless because there was no where to go, which served as encouragement for the rabid beast. Anxiety just came back again with renewed vigour.
Then it reached the the spot where the choicest of morsels hid–the place where every unsavoury aspect became her–in a crack upon her soul. She did not relish that, in fact it tasted sour, like acid. And she hated it. All she could do was flit back and forth, not unlike a caged bird.
Anxiety’s mouth grew wide, a hiss escaping its great maw, conveying deep-seated frustration. For the first time it had been forced to show something other than its namesake. The creature hunched in on itself, quivering with rage now. Rage coloured the creature, who had been no more than a grey shadow moments before, into a poisonous shade of blue. Blue became purple and purple became red. Then without warning the colour shift began anew, this time erratic.
As the changes slowed to a stop Anxiety’s hunch became severe, more akin to a folding-in on itself than a hunch. It was creating a cocoon. In the flickering lights of the kitchen she saw the cocoon shell glitter, obsidian-like. Beneath the shell she caught a flicker, the creature inside very much alive. She inched closer and spied the outline of a nymph.
For the first time since she had died she could breath. In its frenzy Anxiety had given her the chance to escape. There was no doubt in her mind that it still lusted for her, nor was there any doubt that it would violate her if given the chance.
For the second time since her death she looked into the mirror. Why did she have a mirror in the kitchen? She couldn’t recall. Deep within the glass was the shadow.
The shadow was her.
Without the glamour of flesh or bone she was grey, the same grey as a pigeon. In the kitchen light she even caught an iridescent shimmer.
Was being grey so bad? When she was raised she had been raised to believe in absolutes, blessed truths and abject lies, black and white . . . When she could think for herself she realized that it was all a lie. Life was not black and white. Sometimes it was the shimmering green of a hummingbird, the fiery orange of a tiger, the brazen sheen of an eagle’s eye . . . And sometimes it was a muted grey, like a pigeon.
No. There was nothing wrong with this.
She gave the obsidian cocoon a farewell glance. When she had said her goodbyes she kissed her body on each cheek, and found the open window above the sink. She flew into the night sky, free for the moment. She knew that as soon as Anxiety emerged it would be on the search for her. It was not a pleasant thought. Even more unpleasant was knowing that it would not be the same: Anxiety would evolve into something else.
Anxiety always did. After having its fill of angst it would crave something of more substance. Before it killed her that had been the air from her lungs, the hormones of fear, the tissues of her brain, and then her blood. Perhaps that was why she saw no face, because there wasn’t one to be seen. What had she kissed then? Her skull?
In all of this there was something which was not quite right. Throughout her life she had always experienced Anxiety as a feeling. Feelings didn’t kill, they didn’t lust after you. Whatever had attacked her–
–No. No! A new breed of thought–tasteless, ominous–reared an ugly head at her. None of it stuck, as if she were incapable of comprehension. Fear made her waiver in the sky until all control was lost to her and she dropped like a rock. The thought of closing her eyes did cross her mind, but when she saw the woman below her she couldn’t. A woman below her, looking up at her, and a black aura.
No, not just black. The aura radiated from the woman, much like sun rays, only with an obsidian glitter, eerily cocoon-like. Even with her lack of body she still felt the instinctive tightening of her chest. I can’t breath!