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Waking up is simply a transformation into another dream. Even in the dark I can make out fuzzy outlines of familiar things in the room: the poster with cats, the wooden chair, the nightstand and the clock on it, all shaking back and forth with the jitter in my eyes.

Through the hazy lines pain seeps into my consciousness. My shins are bursting with a dull throbbing feeling, which turns into a searing ache as it approaches the knee. The knees, like every joint in my body, are being rubbed with caustics. As you go higher, the legs, especially the right one, have a deep gnawing inside of them, occasionally like squirming maggots but recently more like rats, or perhaps boars.

My arms, shoulders and upper back are being pounded with incessant piano hammers that occasionally hit the perfect key to sear a nerve. My stomach is filled with boiling liquid, which I guess is needed to power the steamroller that keeps flattening my head. Even my eyes and mouth are smoldering like hot coals. My hands are clamped into deformed claws, withered flowerbuds of flesh.

I am waiting for the door to open, for a woman to come in. Yesterday it was the one with the gentle steps, so today it will be the one who hates me. She will wipe the drool off my cheeks and even though she does not speak, she will make a little sneering whiff in disgust. She should be elated that today she does not have to clean any vomit.

I need to urinate, which means she will have to push my bladder as I lie flat on my back. I am lucky that this morning I do not have to defecate and have someone wipe me. Then I will be washed with sponges, which feels as if someone is tearing wounds into me. I am holding out hope she will not shave me, but she probably will.

In my previous life I had to wake up early every morning. My wife would sleep in late, but I loved mornings, particularly the rosy morning sunlight. My favorite times of the year were in the spring and fall, when I could watch sunset while driving to work. I have no idea what month it is now. There are no seasons, no different times of the day. Darkness and pain know no variation or color.

Today I will be wearing my sunglasses to shield the world from having the slightest contact with me. Even the smallest glimpse of light would burn my eyes and blind me. I will have to endure people touching me to move me from my bed, sending jolts of agony throughout my body as they move me like a rigid puppet.

I will be taken from my home and exhibited as a specimen. Some of the audience will find me scary, others may be fascinated, but you can trust on them all showing contempt and pity. They do not see a human being in front of them.

I cannot form words, I cannot make a sound aside from the faintest of grunts. Some shreds of consciousness remain, yet even those are fuzzy and dim as the outlines in my room. The body is not what holds me as a prisoner, it is the consciousness, and when it finally goes out, that moment I will be free.
Just in time for Halloween, my first horror(?) story.

About a decade ago I read most books by Stephen King (except for his non-horror ones, which I found terribly dull), but this is the first time I tried my hand at writing horror. I figured that many people with CFS/ME and other similar illnesses live lives that are far more nightmarish than zombies, vampires or werewolves could ever be.

Clearly it wasn't an easy task, as it took me over a year to finish this story, despite reading several guides, tips, tutorials etc to writing horror. Still I'm not 100% sure if this is horror or just macabre/dark/whatever.

Just to put the minds of people who think all fiction is autobiographical (I've had my fair share of them...), this isn't. My illness has luckily never been nearly this severe, but I know people whose lives are very similar to this.
:iconshurakai-zero:
Shurakai-Zero Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2010
It wouldn’t register for most people as horror in the classical sense, but there’s a certain creeping dread that comes from the sense of realism you’ve managed to inject into this. What makes it scary for me is its plausibility.
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:icondiamondie:
diamondie Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010  Professional Writer
Thanks. That was what I was aiming for, especially since I found a very insightful forum thread with writers discussing what makes horror horrifying, and several folks said that things that can really happen are far scarier than the slimy blob/bugbear/werewolf kind. Plausibility and invocation of different senses were considered two important factors and that's where I aimed, trying to keep a balance between realism and not being too gross (e.g. on the olfactory front).
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