The couch housed a being. A body had slumped into the cushion and begun to slump further in.
Daryl couldn’t stand life. Nothing was wrong. The work he did was grand. His social relationships were healthy. However, he failed to see the light in life anymore. At times, it felt as if there was something resting on his shoulder. Something heavy. Something pulling him down. Something watching. Like the monkey resting on ones back.
A shift was made in the couch–Daryl moved to lay down. His feet rested gently on the base of the arm rest, while his head lay on a cushion. His couch was quite large. Closing his eyes, he began to question his quite sudden depression. In the attempt to find the culprit and eradicate it. As Daryl relaxed, he began to feel a tingling on the toes of his left foot. He looked, but nothing was there. Pushing it from his mind, he began searching for answers once more. Once again the tingling occurred. And, once again, nothing. Daryl shifted his foot that held the annoyance away from the edge of the couch. He imagined that someone was tickling his foot in an odd way, but he knew nobody else was home. In fact, he was the only resident. Within the search of answers to his sudden depression, some thoughts came to him. That maybe something he experienced from his past is coming back to birth itself anew into his emotions. To attach itself to his psyche and multiply until something is felt. He remembered his cat, Barley. Barley had died very young and it tore through Daryl. He never got over the death, always blaming himself for it, and it came up every so often. But Daryl didn’t think that was the cause of such severe depression. Memories of Barley flooded his thoughts. The memories that made you smile and tear up. Good remembrances. How Barley would always greet Daryl when he came home. Or, feeding him little bits of sweet desserts when Daryl was in the kitchen. Or, how Barley always slept against Daryl at night–either directly next to him or close by on a neighboring pillow. A smile spread across Daryl’s face. However, as if it was on cue, and as if the good memories led up to this point in a sadistic way, the death of Barley ended the pleasant memories. Like drop of black dye in a clear glass of water.
Tingling spread across the toes of his right foot. Daryl was too deep within his own mind to notice.
The act of his death. The way he died. How Daryl wasn’t there to save him. Or help him. Even just to see him off when he died. That Barley died alone. To be told the way Barley acted in his last moments of life by a neighbor. When his spine was severed, laying there with confusion that beamed out to the world and nothing glanced back. The tingling became fierce. Daryl glanced downward, and this time, he saw something.
It was a being of complete black. Made of darkness. Not a physical being. Its exterior shell emanated a smoky shine. Small tendrils reached outward from its head. Its fingers stretched across and over the arm rest of the couch closest to Daryl’s feet. Only the top half of its head poked over the arm rest. Its eyes were slanted in emotion, as if it were a child that knew it did something wrong but didn’t care. As if it were smiling. Smiling maniacally. Daryl placed a hand on the adjacent couch, the only room that was available, to help himself up, to position himself further away from the dark being. As his hand rested against the other couch, a finger from the black hand rose. Daryl blinked, and the monstrosity was gone. Its hands, its dark glow, its eyes, everything was gone. It was as if nothing was there at all.
Something placed itself onto Daryl’s awkwardly placed hand. Looking up, he saw that the being was there. It had just moved. Now it welcomed itself to the other couch. It sat in a fetal position against the closest seat to Daryl. Its legs blended in with the rest of its body so well, that the only way he could know that the thing had legs was because of its position, and its monstrous feet protruding from the black mass. The finger that raised earlier had now been placed onto his hand. It was indeed smiling. A slight crease was cut across its face. Daryl tried to pull his hand away from the being, but couldn’t. His hand was stuck. It wasn’t the force from the finger, but from something else. An energy of unknown origin was keeping his hand in place. Each pull seemed to amuse the creature. Its teeth began to show from behind the slit. Razors lined the creatures’ unhuman sized mouth. Another blink and it was gone yet again. Daryl’s hand was free, and he was stuck frozen half way off the couch. Struck by what had happened, he didn’t know how he should react, so he slowly stood and walked to the corner of the room, looking from side to side, expecting the creature to return.
Daryl stayed in the corner until the next morning. Even then, he didn’t want to move. It frightened him that the slightest move would summon the demon once more. Throughout his residency in the corner, he moved only a few times. When crawlers found his feet, traveled up to his thigh, and up his underwear, or across his torso, no swatting motion was given. Flyers would land on his nose, taking a peak within, land on his neck, or ear without a shooing motion. The only movement done by Daryl were from nervous twitches. It was three days before he had moved. The occupied corner was infested with urine, fresh and dry which had been clumped into odd formations from the slight movement from his feet. To insects, it was a clumped mountain of piss which greeted their new host–Daryl. What helped keep him there was the image of the being’s face. The smile. And that every night around the same time, a deep, dull laugh would emanate from, what seemed like, the walls. What had finally broke Daryl free of his anxiety was a delivery. Something that he had ordered many days before had finally arrived. The deliverer rang the door bell, knocked on the door, and walked away.
The occurrence of another human broke Daryl from his frozen state. He finally peeled his feet from the sticky, puddled mess he created over time. He cautiously walked to the front door. Every creak and sigh the house produced made Daryl jump the slightest. He finally reached the door, turned the knob, and pulled the door inward. The sun shone through for the first time in days. It pierced his eyes with a sharp pain. Nonetheless, he did not block his eyes from the sun. He enjoyed it. Not the pain, but the shine. It felt as if one lived in dirt for weeks on end, and were welcomed by a newly found river to bathe in. Able to strip away the filth.
As the door stood open slightly, Daryl turned to his shoes to slip his feet into. He planned to walk. Walk until everything was forgotten. He didn’t care if he smelled horrendous. He didn’t care if he had crusted urine caked on the front of his pants and feet. He didn’t care. Daryl knew he needed out of the house. To move out the same week if he needed to. Just as he slipped the first half of his foot in, the front door creaked. Daryl was still fighting to get his foot into the shoe to notice the movement. The collar kept pushing into the shoe with his foot, but wouldn’t flip back up when he attempted to turn it with a wedged finger. Every time Daryl would mumble something out of aggression, the door creaked closer to the frame. Out of impatience, he stood and began to stomp on the ground, exclaiming frustrations as he went, in the attempt to get his foot to fit the shoe comfortably. As he did, the door opened wide. Just as the door moved backward so did Daryl. Screaming out to the heavens, he had flung his head backward. As his head came into reach of the door, it slammed. The very edge of the door slammed across his skull and thundered against the door frame, leaving Daryl in a bloody mess against the floor. His last thought before losing consciousness was, at least I’m now somewhere decently clean.
Laughing came from all around him.
Then, his world turned black.