I Smiled But The Smile Wasn’t Mine

When I awoke I was riddled with demons. I had been asleep. They must have moved in, taken me over because they could see that no one was using me. They were having a party.

 

The Smilers were back in town. Smiling for all they were worth, smiling all the while. I smiled too but the smile wouldn’t stay on my face. It kept sliding off. I laughed when I heard that the Smilers were back in town but I didn’t mean it…

 

I laughed a lot when I heard that the demons were back in town but I was riddled with Smilers. They were running amok – they had grey, drawn-looking faces and thin lips. They wore mauve lipstick. “Hey demon,” I called out bravely, “What’s your name?” But I wasn’t brave, not really. I was quaking. The Fear had gotten inside me and it wouldn’t shift. It had got lodged inside me and I couldn’t cough it up.

 

That’s what life is like when you’re in the Fear World,” a voice whispered with terrible hoarse intimacy in my head, “you have to expect it. You have to learn to expect the expected…” It was the Voice of Corruption but it was also my voice. It was telling me all about the Fear World. You learn very quickly when you’re in the Fear World! There’s no limit to how quickly you can learn. It’s uncanny how fast you adapt. You learn the rules very quickly indeed when you find yourself in the Fear World – you learn them in a flash. It’s as if you always knew them. You learn to expect the expected – you expected the expected because that’s the only thing that’s ever going to happen…

 

The Fear World is the world that you never know until you know it and then it’s as if you’ve known it forever. Does that make sense to you? It makes sense to me, anyway. Nothing ever made sense quicker. When you’re in the Fear World it’s as if you’ve been there forever. It’s as if you never left. Your fear fits you so well – it fits you like a suit made for you in Savile Row! Does it ever fit you! It suits you down to the ground – it should do because it’s yours! It was made for you by the best tailor there is…

 

It comes back to you in a flash when you’re in the Fear World. You know it better than you ever knew anything. You remember it instantly – it’s as if you never forgot it. You know the run of it. You know the run of it so very well but there’s nothing to know really. Not so much to know, when you get down to it. You know to expect the expected because it was always going to happen. Because it happens forever and always will. Because it never doesn’t happen. There’s a basic familiarity there and that’s putting it mildly…

 

I walk through the streets like a thing possessed. “Let me tell you about the Fear World” I cry out to people as they pass me by, but no one wants to know. They walk by me quickly. They’re pretending that I’m not there, pretending that they can’t see me. Maybe they can’t. The Smilers are back in town with their long broken finger nails and their thin cracked lips. They’re smiling for all they’re worth. I smile too but the smile isn’t mine…

 

 

 

 

 

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