Why don't I want to go outside? Why do I constantly linger inside the deep depths of the shadows in my tiny home?
Why do I always draw the curtains closed, never letting a ray of light inside?
I ask myself these questions when I hear a loud knock on the door, an unexpected and ominous sound in this forbidding house, this prison that keeps me from the outside world.
I stealthily creep to the door, with no intention of opening it. No, I just want to peek. To see who would dare to approach such a haunted looking place. My stomach grumbles, and I wince.
I have been surviving on food that is months old. Stale crackers and dusty cans of preserved food that will soon run out.
That is why I have been eating my food sparingly, to stay in my home at least a little bit longer. I don't want to leave this place. Ever. But I will one day.
I am doing my best to make sure that day is far away. My ragged slippers slide on the carpet as I inch closer and closer to the door. I place my grey eye to the peephole, and see... no one.
They have left, because I took my time getting to the door. I frown. That is alright. Yet I yearn to see other human beings.
It has been months and months since I have seen anyone's face besides mine. My memories of other faces are fading.
I can only imagine my face vividly- limp strands of dirty blond hair, sunken and exhausted grey eyes, a dull expression,
and something else- something that lingers in my face that only reveals the slightest hint of why I'm like this. I hear a creak. "Wh-" It came as a raspy whisper.
I have not talked to anyone in a long time. I clear my throat, and try again. "Who's-who's there?" More creaking. I tilt my head, and listen hard. It must be coming from my room.
I'm scared, so I grab a dusty old umbrella that's just lying around, and I tiptoe to my room. "Show yourself!" My voice cracks, and my attempt at sounding brave has failed.
I look around nervously. Someone speaks. "Angela? Oh, thank God you're alright!" I'm even more on edge now. The voice is male. But... it's familiar.
It belongs to Mark, someone who used to be in my class at school, until I suddenly stopped showing up without a word.
My grey gaze rests on a 17 year old boy with brown hair and relieved blue eyes. He has on just a purple shirt and blue jeans, along with a pair of ragged white sneakers.
Mark shifts uncomfortably, probably because of my unsettling intense gaze.
"Mark? Why are you here?" I speak these words slowly, as though speaking to a child, or saying a new phrase for the first time.
Again, it has been many months since I last had human interaction or a glimpse of sunlight. I stiffen. Sunlight. A small patch of light is visible on the ground.
Mark must have opened the window to get in my room.
I let out a sudden shriek, making him flinch, and I demand, "Close the curtains! Close the curtains now!" Mark hurries to do this with a baffled expression as I freak out and breathe heavily.
"Th-thank you," I remember to say.
Mark gently asks, "Angela, have you developed agoraphobia or photophobia?" The fear of open spaces or crowds and the fear of light, I recall, remembering a class Mark and I took long ago.
While I didn't enjoy learning about fears people had and suffered from, Mark had taken an interest in the study of phobias,
and was determined to help guide people get past or accept their fears. I roll my eyes at Mark, the way normal people do.
Or at least, normal people do that, don't they? I say loudly, "No way, Mark! You're nuts! I'm not agoraphobic or photophobic." He purses his lips, looking unconvinced.
"Now, what are you doing in my house?" An embarrassed expression appears on his concerned face. "Well, I...
We were all so worried when you stopped coming to school, and so we kinda spied on your house for a few months, and since no one ever came out, ever, I finally got the nerve to knock,
and when you didn't answer... I got super worried that you were dead or terribly injured or something. I panicked, and knew that I had to get in, somehow. But you're alright...
I'm sorry to invade your privacy. I just thought that something really awful happened and that's why. I'm sorry." I stare at him.
Should I act grateful or weirded out? I decide on acting cold. I glare at Mark. "Mark..." But before I can say anything else, I gasp. I hear whispers, or snatches of gossip.
"Oh, the girl..." "She really..." "Unwanted. Alone." "Rejected, a recluse. Forgotten, and losing sanity."
"If only-" "This is outrageous!" "Angela, Angela, sweetie-" The words come like a hurricane to my mind. I'm losing control. I stagger backwards, into the wall. "Weak, weak..."
"Easy prey..." "The poor girl, with no-" "Angela, honey, I'm coming back!" "NO!" I shout loudly. "Stop it, stop! You're not- you can't- you aren't real! I'm imagining you, I am...
Oh, but I'm not. You're real. You're real. But you aren't coming. How can you? You're dead. Mother, don't torment me with false hopes and the whispers of others.
I can't bear it, don't you know?! Stop it- stop talking about me!" I hold my head and wail. Mark inches closer. "Angela, are you schizophrenic?" I stare at him, horrified.
This is why I don't expose myself to the outdoors or to light. Because then, the voices are louder, and the cacophony is more chaotic.
I scream at Mark, "No! I'm not! The voices are real! My mother is coming back!" Mark comes even closer, reaching into his pocket. I knew it, I knew it.
Normal people would think I was insane. But I'm not. I even have proof. But they still would think I'm delusional. That's why I won't go outside.
So they don't try to "protect me for my own good". I quickly bend over to pick up the umbrella I brought upstairs. I must stop Mark. I'm not insane.
So I swing the umbrella into Mark's head. He's knocked out cold. Shocked at myself, I drop the umbrella and back away yet again, falling to my knees. What now?
The end... for now. If you want me to continue, leave a comment for a part 2 to find out what happens next. Does her mother really come back, or is she really insane? What will happen to Mark? And most importantly... what will Angela's fate be?