I’m often wondering what’s next in this void, as I sit here, staring blanking knowing that the inevitable is near. I've begun ahead of myself though, starting in the middle of a story that has yet to end but whose beginning is that of any other story. Normal. Normal in sense that it’s much like your own story or that of anyone else’s in this world. The only difference is in my own story I choose to read between the lines. A mistake I wholly regret but not one I’m afraid to share; company in madness is something I have so often longed for.

Average as I am, albeit gifted or slightly above average is what I considered myself. A gift of being able to piece things to together, pulling abstract thoughts from the air, a magician conjuring something from almost nothingness, from so very little, these somethings are ideas. This all spanned from a simple idea, the cyclic nature of the universe. Nothing is every truly destroyed in this world just moving from one state to another. The soul/spirit or whatever it is, if it does exist what happens to it after we die, in a never wasting universe. How is the soul recycled? That idea is what started this all, a walk down a road to madness.

Reincarnation is what came to mind, taking into account only this dimension or realm of existence. Eastern philosophies speak of the soul’s constant renewal and rebirth in other bodies but what would determine that a new just created soul inhabits a body as opposed to an older long one. That’s another part of the theory; souls are constantly created as can be observed when looking at birth-rate vs death rate, that was my belief. The greater question is what happens to the soul after the body dies.

Researching further I talked to religious leaders, ESPs, psychics and the like. Reading stories of those claiming to be able to communicate with the dead. Most turned out to be fakes, just people really good at observing and weaving a story to match what they see. Then I heard of a blind channeler, and elderly woman with leukaemia by the name of Martha. After going through about 50 tricksters and a few thousand dollars you would have to assume I was even more sceptical than ever but what pulled me to her was a force I couldn’t explain but what can I say, the spirits compelled me.

I tracked her down to her house halfway across the country. She was a woman well-off, no family alive to bequeath her estate to. I had spoken to the nurse who took care of her, saying I admired her work and would love to do an article for tabloid newspaper about the supernatural, a lie yes but I needed to at least get my foot in the door. The answer was no. I was determined to talk to her though, so I showed up at her house anyway. Despite her nurse protests she was happy to speak to me, we spoke about her, childhood, teenage years, eventually getting to the topic of her gifts.

She chalked it up to basic perceptions on a heightened level. Noting the chills you would feel for no reason, putting things together with ease, seeing things and how the connected in a way that remained me of myself. I asked about souls and reincarnation which is where it got interesting. She applauded my basic deductions. When I got to the question of who gets reincarnated, she gave an interesting theory or what I only thought was a theory at the time. Souls being like energy it would be accurate to say only the ones with enough energy to bond to a new-born can get reincarnated. Kind of like enough energy is needed to change state. Upon asking where they get that energy, she told me it slowly builds over time. The greater the energy the more the soul can be felt, even by normal people and interact with the living. And as crazy at is sounded I believed her, I don’t know why but something told me it was true.

It was a good talk and I felt a bit wiser than when I had first set out to meet her, but that gut feeling that told me she wasn’t lying also lead me believe she wasn't being fully honest but I shook it off.

I admitted to her I was no journalist but her response was calmly, “I already knew.”

She had just wanted to share her story, she sat up in bed and hugged me as I was about to leave. I remember the chill I feel from that hug, my body or maybe even my soul telling me something was wrong.

I asked her if there was anything I could do to show my appreciation; she eerily responded, “You already have.”

A few days later I got a call saying she had died and left something to me, five hundred thousand dollars and an old necklace. I had no idea why until I fell asleep that night. She visited my dream not in the form of a benevolent spirit but a malevolent one. The dark shadowy figure that I knew was her soul began as such.

“Thank you my child, that money and necklace, just consider them payment,” her voice was still that of a sweet older lady but it still shook my core.

“Payment for what?” I retorted.

“Why your soul of course, or more correctly, its energy.”

It all started to make sense now, the chill I felt, the feeling she wasn’t telling the whole truth, all of it fell into place.

“There is another way, a quicker way to gather energy, isn’t there? Taking it.”

She didn’t need to answer, I already knew I was right.

“That sharp perception of your my child, always at work. Then you must have felt it in that hug, me latching to your soul, slowly leeching it.”

“So you’re here to kill me then?” I could feel a weakening in my mind.

“No I just didn’t want to wait from to long so I’ll just leech your soul of energy so I can come back all that much faster, you won’t die instantly just slip away slowly.”

“Why me though?”

“I felt your soul and it was strong so I called to you, you were the one stupid enough to answer.”

I woke up sweating, seeing shadows that looked like her, getting vision of her, hallucinations, night terrors. Haunting me drains me faster it seems. It was back to researching to see if I could counter her, and retain some of my soul hopefully.

It’s been three year since, mediation has steeled my mind against her, I don’t get the vision anymore but I hear her in my waking and see her in my dreams stills. I know she’s there, sending the occasional chill as though she’s running her hand down my spine, the voices and dreams slowly breaking my psyche, driving me mad. My only defence is staying awake, I hardly sleep nowadays but I know she’s getting stronger, must have done this to others. She must be draining them too.

Soon she’ll break me, but not before someone like me reads this, not before you read this, not before your curiosity gets the better of you. You feel that chill, and you’ll seek me out, and I will use you like she used me. I’ll use you to fight her. Hurry up, I need you, I won’t last much longer.

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