Written by Bron James
Artwork by Matilda Dawes
As featured in Frisson Comics' Knock Knock: Whispers Beyond the Void
I walk these old hallways every night, alone in my solemn reverie.
It all feels different to me now. The light, the rooms, the paintings which adorn the walls… Though I see them around me, appearing as they always did before, they feel distant somehow. Far removed from the reality I once knew. Another time. Another life. Like I no longer quite belong here.
Everything has grown dense and heavy. The shadows are deeper and darker than the night; the furnishings bulky, immovable objects; the walls and ceilings looming tall around me, making me feel so small, yet also closing in tight around me. At a glance, the world looks the same as it always has, but it all feels as if it’s constricting me, yet also ever just beyond my reach. This place I once called home, the place I found peace and comfort, has become my prison.
Even the air itself feels heavier. Unbreathable. It’s thick and dense to me now. I try to breathe, but I can not draw breath. No air fills my lungs anymore; like drowning without death. My heart feels weighted and solid like stone, keeping me ever bound to this caging reality. And as I walk my nightly path through these corridors, every step feels slow and sluggish, as if I’m wading through an unseen soup.
Though everything feels heavy, I feel lightheaded. I am as detached from myself as I am from the world around me. I know my legs are moving with every slow and dreamlike step, my arms hanging loosely at my sides; I can see them, but I can not feel them. I’d never even noticed how aware I was of my body, until I could no longer feel it. Nothing but the phantom of pins-and-needles tingling in my fingertips, my toes, behind my eyes. A migraine without the pain. Vertigo without the call of gravity. A ceaseless, enveloping fog, shrouding my existence; a veil between me and the world which can not be pierced.
The world around me slips through my fingers with disturbing ease. I can not grasp anything, can not touch anything. My hands pass through things I had once taken for granted; picking up mugs and drinking tea, now forever beyond my grasp no matter how hard I try. It’s as if I am immaterial to the world, but in truth it is this dense world that feels immaterial to me. There is little that holds any worth or joy to me here now, all merely a pale reflection of what I once thought was real.
It feels as if all I need is a breath of fresh air. A light and refreshing rush of energy for the fog to lift. But it never comes. Forever bound within this weighted world I can no longer quite reach. This land of the living where I am no longer welcome.
And the worst of it is, you don’t even know I’m here.
You don’t see me when I’m standing there, right in front of you. I wave my hand in front of your face, but your eyes stare straight through me. I try to talk to you, but you don’t listen to my words. Even when I scream out in the anguish of this never-ending torment, with lungs that bear no breath and a voice which carries no sound, you don’t hear me. I scream and wail and cry through the night, and even though you’re right there, there’s no one around to hear my pain. Only the darkness and shadows. Though we were side by side in life, here I am alone.
Sometimes, if I try hard enough, I can push myself against the world to catch your attention. That cold frisson you feel running down your spine as you sit and read a book; that’s my hand on your shoulder. But you blame it on the draught. That voice you momentarily thought was calling your name, but you dismissed as the wind, was me whispering in your ear. And sometimes, if I put all of my focus and energy into it, I can move objects; nudging pens off of tables, or knocking books or pictures off of shelves. But to you, this is nothing more than a sign that the floorboards are uneven. You don’t even consider that it might be me, let alone how exhausting it is for me to try and let you know that I’m still here with you.
And although it frustrates me, that you no longer see me, no longer hear me, and that it feels like you no longer care… I miss you. I miss feeling like me.
Those nights when you can not sleep, when you whisper my name with mournful remembrance into the dead of night, I am there beside you. And for the briefest of moments, it almost feels like you know; like you’re there with me too. The only feeling that still remains real to me. The only thing of this existence which still holds meaning to my soul.
I wish that you could hear me, see me, feel me as you once did. That I may feel real myself again. To be me again. To relive that life which feels like a distant dream of things which once were. Perhaps then, I will be able to find my peace.
Yet here I remain, unseen and unheard, in perpetual pain of an existence prolonged. Though I may pass through these walls with ease, I can not leave them. My soul unable to venture beyond the bounds of this place we called home, weighted by my heavy heart for a life that once was, but is no more. Trapped within these walls which have now become immaterial to me.
The world I once knew, ever just out of reach. And a world beyond that, which I can not yet pass into. One day, perhaps I will be able to leave this heavy house behind, and discover what awaits for us over the boundless horizon. But until then, I want you to know that I am still here.
Please. I need you to hear me.
All I need is for you to listen closely for my whisper.