Encounter With a Black-Eyed Child by Rebecca Milne

They want me to be ok, they tell me it was nothing, but I know what I saw. I saw it.

They want me to be ok, they tell me it was nothing, but I know what I saw. I saw it. I’ve been stuck in this asylum for months and they go through the “it’s not real” talk every day. I want to believe it but every day it finds it’s way back into my mind. I feel more vulnerable wearing white. They’ll find me again easy. I only caught a glimpse last time, this time our game of hide and seek will finally be finished. He will have found me. This endless game of hide and seek I thought would’ve ended years ago. He keeps showing up. At school. Every time I moved to a new house. When I couldn’t sleep at night he was always there, secretly watching me. I thought he couldn’t break into hospitals, let alone follow me into the asylum they put me in a month ago. All the practitioners were sick of my ravings.

I peek out of the pane of glass that looks out onto the corridor. The other patients are asleep but as I gaze out, the light flickers. A voice springs at the back of my head. “Where are you?”  It asks. It’s looking for me. It’s going to find me. Its voice calls again, closer and higher pitch. “Where are you?” I think I hear footsteps but I see no one there. I hear it laugh, its horrid childish laugh. “I know where you’re hiding” I shake uneasily but do not dare move a muscle. It’s here.

I feel a gust of wind from behind me, everything feels cold. I hear a voice sounding like it’s directly in front of me. “found you” The demonic child is near me. I turn around with my eyes closed and when I open them, I fall into the darkness of its face. It laughs but not move its mouth. It smiles up at me, grinning and with its big black eyes staring into mine. I’ve been haunted by that face for over ten years. Why did I let it in? I thought it was going to be friendly. But its eyes. Its eyes, they draw you in. The child persona is a mask, in case their spotted. He looked so innocent, all nineteenth century sailor suite and hat, he didn’t look over six, why then am I paranoid? It’s a child?

“Hello old friend, how did you find me?” I ask. The voice appears again as the child is still fixed on my face grinning and reaching up to touch my shoulder. “I’ll always find you, you’ll always let me in. I know you” I shudder and blink and the child is gone.

“Where are you?” I call. That horrid laugh begins again. Taunting me. I start screaming. I cannot seem to get its eyes out of my head.

The psychiatrists are worried about me. I tell them “it’s a game”. I tell them “they’re a friend”, “an old friend”. They ask why I always say the same story. Its because that’s what he keeps telling me, for me to be free I need to believe he exists but accept he’ll probably never leave me.

I’m in the room and talking to the doctor but then the light flickers again and slowly I hear the voice again. “You didn’t find me… I found you. Shall we play a different game?” it seems to be coming from the corner of the room but that’s ridiculous, surely the doctor would have heard it. Unless…

The white coat fades in the flickering of the light and starts becoming black. I look at the psychiatrists face as it morphs and shrinks  into a child’s grinning face. The creature asks again, whilst staring and grinning at me from across the room.

“Shall we play a different game?” its shrill high voice penetrates my mind. I no longer have any other choice other than to play the demonic child’s game, I am not myself after all and I cannot escape my asylum or this prison. I am trapped…

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