A person faces their biggest fear. Will they survive?
|I have a confession to make: There's a ghost in my head. He won't let me go anywhere or do anything for fear that I will get someone sick. I call him "Bruno". |
As I reached the front door one night to get food I felt a chill permeate my body. A shadow appeared before me, staring back at me with balls of fire where eyes should have been. Bruno whispered, "Don't even think about it. You will get someone in the store sick and kill them."
"Bruno, I've had eleven tests and two doctors tell me I have nothing to give. Go away!" I tried to push him out of my consciousness.
"What about that headache you've had for the last two years? Headaches are a covid symptom. You could sit next to an elderly person and get them killed! You have to stay home."
"I just tested negative for the eleventh time! Go screw yourself!"
"You can test negative and still have it. You don't want to be responsible for someone's death, do you?"
"I've listened to you for too long. I can't let you stop me from living my life!" I tried to slap him, but my hand passed through his being.
"You will obey me or suffer the consequences!" Bruno raised his pitchfork and wacked me with it. I felt lightheaded for a moment and closed my eyes.
When I opened them, I looked around. I saw file cabinets everywhere and a huge window to the left. The walls had thousands of photos of past events in my life. I opened one of the cabinets and found memories from my childhood. Another cabinet yielded the moves for my upcoming dance performance recently rehearsed. Still another had a list of everyone I had ever met with their faces included. Glancing around the room, I noticed it was a mess. Bruno reclined on a couch. "Where the hell is this?" I wondered aloud.
"We are in your mind," answered Bruno. "I took up residence here quite some time ago. I must say, it's quite hospitable!"
"You can't stay here any more! You have to leave now!" I said.
"Make me! I will stay as long as I like." He picked up a cigar and smoked it. I heard an alarm go off from the smoke. It produced the sensation of anxiety.
"So that's how you control my mental state," I muttered.
"You aren't supposed to know that," said Bruno, sweeping his cigar ashes under a rug. "I have been agitating people like you for millennia, and you expect me to leave just like that. Ha!"
"So you're in other people's minds, too?"
"Oh yes. Millions. I even lived in Martin Luther's mind. I got to terrorize him. It was so fun!" He leaned back on the couch and lit another cigar. As he did so my pulse began to race.
"Stop it!" I cried.
"You can't make me, " Bruno taunted. He dropped a cigarette at his feet and became a ball of fire. "I will never leave you alone! Your only escape is to kill yourself. Do it before I ruin your life!"
With my heart racing, I searched around my mind for something I could use to extinguish him. I saw a fire extinguisher labeled, "Anxiety medicine". I grabbed it and aimed it at the blaze. "I have you, you don't have me!" I said.
The flames began to die down, then flared up again.
"You don't scare me," I told him.
"Yes I do, and I will until your last breath!"
"Even if I can't get rid of you, I can manage you. I refuse to let you run my life any more." I sprayed the extinguisher and opened my eyes.
Looking up at the ceiling, I had a feeling of victory. To this day, Bruno still haunts me like the specter he is. I have to extinguish him again and again...
"If a man harbors any sort of fear, it percolates through all his thinking, damages his personality, makes him landlord to a ghost.
- Lloyd C. Douglas
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