This story is by Jennifer K Seigworth and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“I would like to introduce you to someone” she said in a haunting tone. “In fact, I have you to thank for her presence here. Beware, my love, she is a dark and shadowy beast.”
“Who is she?” Simon said, turning his head back and forth, nervously.
“She’s right here,” Nadia snickered. “Don’t bother looking around, you will not see her…. but, I promise, you will feel her.”
“I must warn you, Simon, there are times that she suddenly arrives and slips over my eyes clouding my vision. Not unlike how you feel with this blindfold over your eyes. On my better days, I only feel her as she slithers up my spine like a rush of hot and cold at once. Just like you used to arrive and startle me from my sleep to fulfill your own drunken needs.”
A scream came from Simon as Nadia ran the red-hot metal rod up Simon’s bare back. “Aaaagghhh!! Noooo! Stooop!!” Nadia silently stalked around and jabbed Simon with the branding iron on his ribcage. Then seared small areas on his back and stomach when he least expected it. “please, please Nadia…” he whimpered.
“Thanks to you and your constant torment, I never know when I will suddenly feel her slither from my spine to the top of my head and down into my mind, she slinks and shrouds. Her dark fingers push down through the back of my neck locking my shoulders in place with the weight of 1,000 pounds. That burdensome load branches out and weighs down my chest so I find it hard to breathe.”
A stifled moan of pain is heard coming from Simon’s throat.
“Are you finding it hard to breathe, Simon?” Nadia watched as her almost two-hundred pound Blood Python began her death wrap around Simon’s neck and shoulders. “Don’t scream, now, my love, Tiny doesn’t like that. She might move too quickly, and we want to take our time….you know you like it. Remember those words, Simon?”
“Tiny is somewhat aggressive. She isn’t your typical python, she is a Blood Python. I chose her especially for you. She is extra-large in width for supreme strength. Her breed has been known to snap necks before suffocating their victims, so you’re going to want to take slow, deep breaths…don’t be too jumpy. We wouldn’t want our fun to be over too fast.”
“Are you finding it hard to focus? You can’t think clearly? Yess…that is her.” Nadia smiles at the sight of Simon suffering the way she had under his control and abuse.
“When my shadowy beast is not spinning doubt in my brain, she is making me want to sleep to block the pain. She invades my thoughts, and even my prayers. She cuts off my thoughts before I can process them into anything useful. I cannot even hold down a normal job.”
Nadia’s unshakable monster has been with her since she was seventeen years old. She has invaded her dreams and kept her up at night. Simon was Nadia’s first love, and he shattered her. His mental and physical abuse bringing on the slithering monster of fear: anxiety and depression. Nadia’s monster spoke of shame and dread in her mind and never ceased.
“She is ruthless and merciless, and she is my own to bear…but, today I will share her with you, her creator.”
“What… happened to you? You were kind…gentle…” Simon groaned, “you..could..never…hurt..”
“You know, Simon” Nadia spoke over Simon’s mutterings, “After a while, it has become normal for me to have conversations with my monster. She tells me that I am worthless. She tells me that I am unlovable. She only allows me to see the ugly in me. She makes my eyes only see the beauty in others- until they do me harm, like you did. Then, she tells me I do not deserve any better.”
“Oh, yes- she likes to tell me that everyone I allow to get close to me wants to do me harm- even family and true friends. She tells me they judge me. I can’t even leave my house anymore without fear of someone or something lurking to do me harm.” Nadia moved hauntingly close to Simon’s face, “How are you feeling right now? Can you relate to that fear? Is it choking the life out of you, yet? Hmmm…I know that feeling well.”
“I was only seventeen! You were twenty-six and loved by my family! You promised my dying father, that you would love me and protect me!” Nadia gave Tiny a light pat and she squeezed a little tighter.
“Hmmfft!” was all that could be heard from Simon.
Simon had known Nadia’s older siblings for years, but was in the military while Nadia was growing up. Simon saw Nadia at the local fair that summer of her seventeenth birthday he decided he had to have her. Her long, flowing, golden-brown hair and big brown, innocent eyes were like a freshly ripened apple; just begging to be plucked from the tree.
“You took advantage of my young naivety, playing games with my mind. I gave you everything, every part of me. You held me and comforted me, then, you turned on me. You did not want me to have friends, you forbade me to go to my graduation ceremony, because I was seated between two male classmates. When I went anyway, you slammed my head into the wall afterward.”
“At times I worked up the courage to leave you, you would beg me to stay saying my father would want us together. This was repeated along with daily beatings and mind games for over a year. Even with my 4.0 grade point average, college opportunities slipped away from me. You owned me. And my monster was growing- as you spoke in tune.”
“Still with me, Simon?” Nadia nudged Tiny, who squeezed a little tighter around Simon’s neck and shoulders.
“Fmf You!” was all Nadia could make out from his covered mouth.
“Now, now- don’t be rude. Unlike you- I don’t want my prey to fight back. I simply want you to feel the way I have felt since you ruined me. After you almost killed me- and my brothers found out what you had been doing to me for the past year-you finally disappeared. I foolishly began running from one relationship to the next and the next. This monster came along and seemed to take form inside of every man that I was with. There was the same treatment, the same abuse, the same torment, just with a different face. And each time, it was somehow my fault.”
“Thankfully, I was given two beautiful children in my first marriage. They are always will be my strength and my light. I found a way to be strong for them. I became a warrior for them. I buried my monster and stood on her head with my sword and my shield!”
Nadia smacked the metal rod down across Simon’s knuckles, “Aaaghhhh!!” he cried.
“Oh, silly Simon, then you made a grave mistake! You approached my daughter and tried to tell her you were her father?” Nadia chuckled, “That is why I had to come for you. My children are off limits….”
The room was suddenly silent. Simon moaned an inaudible plea, wondering if Nadia was still there. After several minutes, Nadia crept up behind Simon, and softly ran her fingernail up the back of his arm. She felt him jump and twitch. “You never know if she will caress you or kill you, my love.”
She chuckled and began to uncoil Tiny, starting with her tail. “C’mon girl, I wouldn’t feed you such trash. I have a nice big rat for you, way better than this filth.”
Simon gasped for air, and then began to sob. Nadia removed the blindfold. Simon looked around the dark, dank smelling basement. He recognized this place….it was the house he lived in when hiding from Nadia’s brothers. He didn’t think anyone knew where he had been there-only relocating because of a structural problem. “How did you find this place?” Simon choked, “It isn’t safe to be down here under this house… it could fall, crushing us any minute.”
“Simon, I live in fear every day of things that I cannot see…this unstable house doesn’t frighten me. I am prepared for that which I can see. I have a planned escape just in case. I knew you had lived here and why you moved. I kept my radar on you, so I could be prepared if you ever tried to slither back into my life. I could no longer wonder when you might strike. I moved one step ahead. And now, you can sit here in torment tied to that chair, wondering when this house might fall on you. You will hear every creak and shift while you wait to be found. Maybe the demolition crew will come tomorrow? Maybe nobody will come for you. What is your monster saying?”