The fear had gotten inside me and now that it had gotten into me it wasn’t going to leave. I knew that when it happened all these years ago and I still know it now. I knew then what I know very well still – the fear is here to stay. Even in the good days I can feel it there somewhere inside me scurrying around like a living creature. Running here and running there. I sometimes wonder what it looks like, this little fear-creature. Sometimes it seems to me that it would be a porcupine, and at other times I fancy it to be a racoon-like creature with big black rings around its eyes and oddly human hands that it keeps wringing nervously as it paces back and forth.
Needless to say I myself have myself have turned into a fearful creature in the years since the fear got into me that day. I live a kind of half-life, a kind of twilight life. I rarely come out of the shadows into the light of day because I’m too afraid of the bad thing happening. I prefer to hide. Even thinking about the bad thing makes me break out in a sweat. Thinking about the bad thing turns me into a mass of quivering jelly, scuttling nervously from one hiding place to another. The hiding places are in my mind. I have all sorts of dark places in my mind where I can hide, little nooks and crannies, little boltholes. Actually my whole mind is just one big bolthole and I’m holed up in it fulltime. I’m holed up in the bolthole of my incorrigibly suspicious mind. What a life. What a bloody life. It’s no life at all.
Fear is a crippling thing – you might as well forget about it, once the fear gets a grip on you. Life, I mean. It’s no life to be forever holed up in the bolthole of your incorrigibly suspicious mind. It’s no life to be jumping from one shadow to the next the whole time. Frightened even to breathe. Eeking out some kind of ridiculous charade of life. Which isn’t even worth the effort of trying to preserve. But of course you’re too frightened not to. Or rather I am. I’m trapped in this situation where I have to go on trying to save a life that I don’t even like. A life that isn’t a life, but only some kind of joke.
I don’t even look normal any more – I have lost the human form. That’s what happens when you hide in the shadows too long. Sometimes when you see me I will appear as a flittery furtive kind of a thing, barely visible at the periphery of your vision. When you turn to look at me full on I will disappear. At other times you will see me fleeing in your dreams. A scrawny gangly elongated shape of a man with impossibly long skinny legs and the head of a frightened chicken. And at other times again I may appear as a lawyer or politician or stockbroker.
And the thing that I can’t get over is that I used to be a hero. I used to be a battle-hardened warrior. I used to be fearless. Demons and vampires would back down in confusion when they saw me coming. Psychic parasites and predators would scatter in confusion before me like the cowardly low-life they are. They’ll eat you alive if you show weakness but at the same time they’ll run away squealing with fear if they see that you’re not afraid. And now I’m one of them. I’m a deteriorated personality shell. It’s when I get to thinking like this that I really hate myself. I cannot bear this knowledge, the knowledge of my hideous degradation. How did I fall so low? How did I let this happen to me?