DP: 1984



You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

No doubt about it being dark. So dark that it felt like being in a sensory deprivation chamber, except that I felt a cold draft on my skin, meaning there had to be some ventilation. Some way out. I have been in this room for at least two hours, not knowing how I got here or what might have happened to lead up to my present predicament. I had felt around the room to check for any other doors in addition to the locked steel door against which I’m leaning now, but all I got was bare concrete wall. There also weren’t any source of light present to add some features to the room, thus accepting complete and utter darkness as reason into which I might succumb mentally. Earlier I heard scuttling noises. I thought it might have been imagination for I did not hear it again. Was I beginning to lose my mind? As the mildewy draft became colder and colder, prickling my skin, the more I became conscious of the fact that all kinds of insects might be climbing out of that vent, into the room. Now the way out seemed more a threat than salvation. My fear of insects, spiders especially, seems even more relevant than having a way out but not being able to see where it is. That is the creator of frustration. That fear kept me where I am, locked into fight or flight position. The first attack occurred on my left arm; a beetle-like sting as sharp legs punctured skin to climb even higher to reach my shoulder. I slapped it off with an involuntary yelp, heard a sharp click as insect met floor, and I ran for the middle of the room, even though I wasn’t sure where I was or what part of the room I crossed when I moved. Was it me who did the moving, or the room? A scuttling noise sounded just as I halted, the sound inspiring fear to boost the rhythm of my heart. The scuttling noise got closer and closer, got louder and louder, until I felt something running up my jeans with a weight that meant BIG. Big. I screamed and tried to slap it off, but it avoided my hand like a skilled soldier, climbing higher ever so faster. From the corner of my eye, something started to glow. I ignored the glow and kept on slapping at the insect, now nearing my heaving chest. Finally my hand obliterated something hairy, and I shook the remains from my hand. Cold currents of electricity pushed through my entire body as I realized what might be happening. I turned my head to follow the glow, growing brighter as other sources joined the first. Soon, the entire chamber was alight with a soft blue illumination, generated by the huge backsides of hundreds of fireflies. Now, as beautiful as they are, observing from a safe distance with somewhere to run to might something happen, seems like a good way to go, but in here, locked away with the pests, they seem more malevolent. However, I did not know just how malevolent when I saw that every inch of every four walls surrounding me was covered with every species of insects I know, and some I haven’t seen before in my life. They were crawling around each other, over each other, staining the floor with life, enclosing the ceiling above me, locking me away in cold, hard fear instead of a simple room with a ventilation system now covered by insects. Sweat drowned me, irrational fear sent shivers up and down my body and released some pressure from my bladder. Soon, soon every insect would sense the presence of life within their obvious domain, one single organism small enough to attack as a unison. With that thought I screamed high murder (something behind me imitated my scream) and I ran for a piece of wall the insects has left uncovered. My survival instinct at its best, I scraped at the insects, looking for the vent out of which they crawled, scraped at them, killing most, killing, most. The blue light flickered for a moment before all was as dark as when I woke up. I ended my frantic search as silence dole the next hand. My breathing was hard, my heart like someone at the door. Their silence taunted me, prolonged my agony. I could feel their breathing on my skin. I could feel their eyes puncturing my soul, scrutinizing the delicates inside. I felt their presence as if clinging to me. They will not take me alive. I don’t know what this sick game entails for anyone outside looking in, but I ain’t gonna play. I’ll fight. They will pay . . . I listened. I watched the dark. I waited. I felt. I screamed.