There is a goddamn monster in my room, and nobody can see it except for me.
It’s strange, how I noticed it. You’d think that if you came home to some spindly demon creature on the ceiling in your bedroom, you’d be pretty quick to run from the house screaming for a priest. Well, for me, that’s not what happened, because I didn’t see it – not all at once.
At first, it was just a flash of gray here and there, barely darker than the bland shade of my walls. It flitted in my peripheral vision and it was sinfully easy to convince myself that it was a shadow.
Next came the eyes, staring at me in the darkness. I thought I was dreaming them for a long time. They were white with tiny black pinpricks for pupils. They stared at me with a void intensity that reminded me of some quote I’d read years ago, something about the dangers of staring into the abyss. This was an abyss, these eyes, and the suggestion of sentience gave me chills.
I felt the presence next. It was suffocating, the feeling of sharing my room with this… thing. This thing that I couldn’t see, and then I realized that I couldn’t see it because I didn’t want to – I was actively forcing myself to ignore it. I’d been ignoring it for a long time, even though I could always feel it, somewhere deep inside me, in the parts of me that I don’t look at too closely. I’d always known it was there.
As soon as I had this epiphany, of sorts, I could see it very clearly.
I’d like to call it human, but it wasn’t. I’d like to call it beast, but it wasn’t quite that either. It could have been human, if its arms and legs hadn’t been quite so… gnarled. The bones twisted and bent in ways that wasn’t quite natural. Its gray skin was sunken against the bones so that I could see in sharp relief every twist and turn of its internal organs. They pulsed. I didn’t like that. Its face was little more than a skull – there was no cartilage to form a nose, so two gaping holes dripping mucous formed the nostrils.
It had made a home for itself at the corner of my ceiling, gripping the wall with its malformed fingers and toes like some kind of fucked up spider. It looked like Gollum and Shelob from Lord of the Rings had hate sex and spawned it in the depths of some cave in Middle Earth.
As soon as I saw the damned thing, I couldn’t stop seeing it. I began to panic when I realized that I’d been living with it for a long time – and there was no way in hell it was a benign presence. It looked at me with hatred and hunger, like it would devour me and then vomit up my remains out of spite.
I tried telling my parents.
I pulled my mom into my room first, shrieking and crying, pointing to where the thing was perched on the ceiling.
“It’s there, it’s there, don’t you see it, it’s going to kill me!”
My mother furrowed her brow, wrinkled her nose, and placed her hand on my forehead to see if I had a fever.
I went to my father next, begging for his gun so I could shoot it.
“I have to kill it before it kills me!”
He looked disquieted, something I’d never seen in him before, and he started keeping the keys to the gun safe on his person at all times.
I tried my best to make them see – honest, I did. I pointed and screamed, I sketched it and described it over and over. They just shook their heads, their eyes a little lost as they looked at their crazy daughter.
Nobody could see it. Nobody but me.
I learned to live with the thing in my room.
It wasn’t like I wanted to, but everyone called me crazy when I tried to talk about it. I tried shooing it out on my own, but I couldn’t do it. I knew I’d never get rid of it without help. I’d have to seek out someone who could help me, someone who would believe me – until then, I’d just have to live with the damned thing.
And it was damned, to be sure.
In an effort to make it less frightening, I tried giving it a name. I thought of naming it something ordinary like Craig or Daniel, but that actually made it creepier – like it was something once human devolved into something else. I found myself searching through my family photo albums, wondering if I would happen upon a name that fit. It jumped out at me from an old black and white photo – Sylvanus. It was a family name, one that I’d never really liked. It suited my monster just fine.
I don’t know when I started to think of it as my monster.
Living with it wasn’t easy. I had never seen it eat, and after awhile I realized why. The longer it stayed, the more lethargic I felt, as though I was dead on my feet. When I wasn’t at school, I was sleeping up to twelve hours a day. No matter how much caffeine I drank, how much I worked out, how much I slept, I was always tired.
It had to be living off my energy.
I tried sleeping in other rooms of the house, but if I did, it would just follow me. There was something disquieting about seeing it scuttle across the living room ceiling that convinced me that I might as well just stay in my room.
I began to lose my appetite, which suited me just fine. I stopped eating almost entirely, as it were. It was a show of defiance, in a way – the thing couldn’t eat energy that I didn’t have. Somewhere in my slowly-dimming mind, I realized that by starving it I was also starving myself, but that didn’t upset me, not really. I hated it, and so I would persevere through my own pain and sickness.
I began searching for more ways to drain my own energy.
I picked up a knife on my way back from school one day. It was almost freeing, sliding it into my skin and drawing out my blood. I thought that if I bled, I could entice the thing towards me – all monsters crave blood, don’t they? – and I’d be able to stab it. It didn’t work, it just stared at me with infuriating impassivity. The bloodletting was a quick drain on my energy, so I kept doing it, hoping to kill the thing faster.
I never gave much thought to the idea that I might be dying, too.
I may have slept a lot, but I didn’t sleep well while Sylvanus was in my room.
Can you blame me? With something like that watching you sleep, well, it’s no wonder that I had strange, terrible nightmares. Ones full of poison and bitterness and terrible, oppressive darkness.
I thought it was my own mind succumbing to the dark thing that had taken residence in my life.
Then, one night…
I’d woken from a start for no real reason, or so I thought. I was lying on my side, my face half pressed into the pillow as I began to realize that something was terribly wrong.
Something heavy had settled on top of me.
My breath hitched in my throat as though to scream, and I would have if another strange feeling hadn’t stopped me.
Something slimy and wet began to snake its way into my ear canal. My ear burned and itched as though it had just been bitten by a million fire ants, and feverish darkness assaulted my senses.
I screamed, my arm shooting out to push the thing off of me.
It was Sylvanus – that much didn’t surprise me. What did shock me was the vision of a long, rotted tongue hanging out of its mouth, dangling a full foot from its maw.
It scuttled back up the wall to its perch, leaving me to digest the fact that it had been licking the inside of my ear, tasting my thoughts, changing them with its poison.
I leaned over the side of my bed and vomited.
Nobody believes me.
Even as I sit here in my room, with Sylvanus’ gaze heavy on my shoulders, I know that there is no way I can convince anybody that it exists. They’d say it’s all in my head, that if I just ignore it, it will go away.
But they don’t know Sylvanus like I do.
I don’t know what to do now. I wish I could tell you that I have a plan, a miraculous solution to this living nightmare. But I know that even you won’t believe me, whoever you are that’s reading this. You probably think I’m crazy, too.
There’s something that’s been nagging at me, as I think myself in circles trying desperately to solve this puzzle that is my life. The more I think about it, the more certain I become, and the sicker I feel.
There is a goddamn monster in my room, and maybe, just maybe, it’s a part of me.