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The Grey Area of Reality

I'm just a regular teenage boy, worrying about homework, girls and such. At least I wish I were normal.

The world I see differs vastly from what others see. Sometimes when I see large patches of darkness just floating there. Other times I'll see men and animals made from colorful patches of light. And also that eerie voice, whispering, telling me to do the unthinkable.

No one believes me. Even my parents and my therapist has a tough time pretending to believe me. I'm bullied often at school. Most people regard me as a delusional sociopath with no place in America. I never had a friend in my life, as if something within me drove other people away.

That was before I met Turret and Tibia.

On the first day of ninth grade, I was ready to go to the bathroom and think suicidal thoughts, like always. Then, a boy from my homeroom notices me. "A beautiful day to wash your sorrows away," the boy says. He was a short, ginger boy. "Anyways, my name's Turret. Nice to meet ya."

A girl walks out of a bathroom stall. "You shouldn't be here in the boy's bathroom," I point out. "Well, the school can suck it for all I care." the girl exclaims. She was a brown-haired, slender girl. For some reason, no eyebrows. And the darkest eyes I have ever seen. "Anyway, I'm Tibia." she says.

Somehow, just like that, the school bell rings. It's as if time suddenly sped up. That's weird, I thought. I thought school was supposed to make time seem slower! No worries, though, since I was in a poor family and couldn't afford school lunch anyway. As I walk to my next block of the day, I remember one unsettling detail. I couldn't see those kids in the bathroom mirror.

The last few blocks comes and goes just like that. I roast a marshmallow on the Bunsen burner, and my math teacher went on and on about "differences of squares" or something like that. What fun. Something I do notice, however, is that my teachers have grown more and more paranoid, acting rather strangely. In the middle of History, my eyes grow heavy and I drift off.

I wake up and find myself back in the school bathroom. Based on the poor lighting, it's very clearly night. Suddenly, I can no longer move a muscle. Every effort I put in to get out of my standing position. No luck. I manage to turn my head a tiny increment and realise that both Turret and Tibia were in the bathroom. Again, no reflection. They stare at me, eyes expressing more and more concern.

Suddenly, I notice that the shadow in the mouldy corner of the bathroom began to move. I try to scream but no sound comes out. I now realise that it isn't the shadow itself that's moving, it's something in it. It begins to take one step out of the darkness. Something emerges. As I take a closer look at that thing, I make a morbid realization. It's me.

I find that I'm just a disembodied soul, just floating there. The creature is a perfect replica of me. Wait, scratch that. Something feels off. The doppelganger is far, far paler than me. And it has the feeling of dread plastered on his face.

It walks out and towards me. Somehow, it walks through Turret and Tibia uninterrupted, as if they weren't there. Strangely enough, the two friends now have the creepiest grin I have ever seen. As it gets closer, its facial features distort. Its eyes grow darker and darker, before beginning to bleed out of every orifice in its body. Ears, nostril and even the asshole is now a bloody mess. Skin grows redder and redder, then begins to crack and bleed. On its hands, arms and chest erects menacing mouths, with razor-sharp teeth resembling that of a carnivorous plant.

"Sometimes good people don't triumph, Ben." it says. "As you will soon find out, they can suffer a painful and grisly death."

It begins to get closer. "Your teachers tried to warn you, but efforts often go in vain. You will descend into hell, and we can watch the stars together for eternity. I... need... love."

Something inside me just snapped. I let out a world-class scream in the dark, loud enough to put the world out of order. Suddenly, all goes dark.

I wake up. Pitch black. I can wiggle my arms around a little, but I cannot stand up. I'm stuck in a lying position. I feel above me and feel wood. I put two and two together and make the horrible realisation. I've been buried alive.

It's been about fifteen minutes since I woke up. Having a panic attack. Kicking, crying, screaming, banging on the coffin, begging to be let out. I figure that I'm only going to exhaust myself this way. I calm down and look for something I could bust open the coffin with. Brass knuckles? Will have to do. It's a pretty cheap coffin, so breaking it was a cakewalk. I crawl upwards in the dirt and finally manage to emerge from the surface. That was easy, I thought.

Too bad everything was different now. The sky was red, and everyone around me was speaking a different, foreign language. I begin to panic, but decide that it'll do no good. I look around town. I somehow find my school after hours and hours. It was dark by now, but the door wasn't locked. I walk through the empty hallway and into the bathroom. Too bad I wasn't prepared for what I was going to see.

Turret and Tibia were both lying on the floor, collapsed. Their limbs were swollen and blue, with spidery streaks around their neck area. And they both wore a facial expression of absolute terror. I began to mourn. I thought seeing that demon was psychologically painful, but death seems to strike me worse.

My principal bursts in. "Ben, I'm not seeing what you're seeing." I burst into hysterics. "Take it easy. You're in a delusional state." Suddenly, when I think about that, Turret and Tibia cease to exist.

He takes me to his office. "You suffer from schizophrenia, Ben. You've been diagnosed with it when you were three. Your parents hid it from you because they were worried you'd be bullied for it. When you collapsed in the bathroom, I assumed you were dead and didn't want to be held responsible. So, I buried you in a graveyard and made sure the truth never came out." I connect the dots. The schizophrenia must be explaining the light and dark patches, and the suicidal voices screaming and whispering at me.

"Alright, it's time you go home." I walk the streets, knowing with relief that the demon, my weird friends, anything supernatural, was all in my head. It's time to go home.

My parents were stunned when they heard what happened. They claimed I never had schizophrenia, and strangely enough, they have the medical records to prove it. That turned my life back upside down. Now I know that whatever lurked in the dark corner of the bathroom, it's after me. And whatever the motive may be, it has my principal doing its bidding.

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