The Woman in Black

I’m being watched. Ever since I got home from… I can’t escape the constant surveillance, or something more sinister than that. Stalked. Yes, maybe that is a more correct term to use. Every movement made, every word uttered, every expression produced are under intense scrutiny of that woman in black. But my mother and my brother told me that there is no such thing as that woman in black. For their sake, for now, I agree to act like it is only my imagination. 

So let me rephrase what I just said in case they find this little secret, this little corner of my brain. 

I feel like I’m being watched. Remember, this is only between you and I. 

I don’t want to go back to that place. I believe their intentions are good, that they want to protect me from myself but that in itself is wrong. It is not I that is harmful to myself but she, the woman in black. But they refuse to believe me, oh, how stubborn they are! Can you see how I am so troubled by this? My family does not want to listen to me yet they say they know what is best for me. 

But you, my loyal friends. If you are reading this from the yellow pages of my book, which I believe you would find later once I am long gone, when that woman in black has already taken me into her arms, it is because I trust you to listen. You would see that I am not lying to anybody, not even and especially not the doctors. 

Let me start with the beginning, when the woman first visited me in my dreams. It was a rainy night in December 2018 and I was woken up to the sound of a shrill; high-pitched, ear-piercing scream, and it was the voice of a woman. I was lying on my side at the time, looking blindly in the dark. I didn’t want to turn around. I didn’t want to look at who or what it was. And it was still screaming! But my head turned against my will as if someone just grabbed me by my neck and snapped it, forcing me to look at her. 

There she was, standing at the foot of my bed, a pitch black robe clung to her body, as black as those eyes staring into my soul, screaming bloody murder. Nevertheless, I started yelling at the top of my lungs and the louder I got, the louder she seemed to be, almost like she was mocking me. My mother ran into my room and switched the lights on, chasing the figure away and she pulled me into her arms. I was crying by then, completely startled by what I just saw.

“What the hell happened?” She asked me. What she didn’t know at the moment was that she would regret asking that question. Because right after I told her about the woman in black, I felt her arms undoing themselves around me and a mother’s hug losing their warmth. It was in that second she started to lose her daughter.

This happened several more times; I woke up to the woman screaming at the foot of my bed or sometimes she would even be hovering above me, inches away from my face. Oh the smell of her rotting skin! Every single time, I would tell the same story to my mother or my brother, but not once did they believe me. It got to a point where they installed a security camera in my room. Not so I could prove to them that there was something watching me in the dark, but to prove to me that I was going out of my mind. And in that case, they won. 

When we watched the footage the next morning, all it showed was me waking up with a start and suddenly screaming. But I know the woman was there. She was right there in the room and she is right here in the room with me as I am writing this down. After her victory of convincing my family I was no more than a lunatic, she became more daring, tormenting not only in my sleep but also in my wake. She started following me around, standing in the corner of rooms or in the backseat of the car or under the sofa. The woman in black became my reflection and my shadow. 

In October 2019 I was submitted to a psychiatric hospital after…

And now here we are. A lot has changed in the month I was away and more changes happen in the months that follow. I don’t think my family understands what really happened to me and I am not sure I do either. But I can see that they are being careful with me. For every meal, my mother would call me to eat in the kitchen with her and my brother when she normally wouldn’t have batted an eyelash if I skipped dinner or eat the food in my room. She put a note on the fridge that says ‘take your meds’ and will still remind me daily to take them. My brother tries and makes conversations with me, even on things we normally don’t talk about. Everything is nice and all and I know they’re trying to tell me that I am the same person as I was before but they are lying.

I see it in the way my mother stands at the door instead of coming in when she wakes me up in the morning. No more gentle nudge on the shoulder but a cold ‘wake up’ just a few feet away from my bed, a few feet away from where the woman in black stands. I see it in the way small talks are made in passing, on the way to or from his bedroom my brother and I will converse before he disappears again. But during dinner he will stay silent as if talking while sitting next to me is too much for him. I see it in the way we only have two knives left in the kitchen, both are barely 4 inches long that I don’t feel comfortable using them for cooking. But I am no longer allowed to cook. They are being careful because they are afraid of me. 

But they have no reason to be scared of me. The enemy isn’t me, but that woman in black. You see how cruel she is, turning my family against me. Maybe that is her game, to get me alone, so utterly alone that not one soul in this world would listen to my cry as she takes me away. Why, yes. I know she wants to take me away because why else would she torment me like this? She wants me to accompany her because she, too, is alone in that realm. One lonely soul for another. 

That is, my friends, the truth of my loss to madness. But I am not mad, of course. It is only loneliness that seems to mark me as a lunatic because my family doesn’t trust me anymore. Once you find this piece of writing I hope you will believe that I am not insane, that the woman in black is real, and maybe then I will no longer be alone.

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