Short Story: Horror Movies with Franklin
A person's sanity is a very delicate thing. Look at me for example - I am trapped in manic fear that makes no sense whatsoever. Fear used to give me an adrenaline rush. Now it keeps me locked in my room with the lights on, the curtains shut, and unable to close my eyes. I know I've lost the plot. I know I need help. But I can't leave. The shadows will get me. I will die, either by something physical, something supernatural, or my own damned fear.
It's 4.38am. I haven't slept in four days. My hair is greasy and clings to my baggy sallow face. My phone lies shattered at the foot of one of the four walls I live on the inside of. The wash basin reeks of excretion despite my efforts to scrub it clean. Or maybe it's my imagination and the basin does smell fresh. Maybe I'm getting close to ending my life like Lady Macbeth. No. Lady Macbeth threw herself off a cliff. Cliffs are outside. I can't go outside.
I've missed so many of my lectures. My parents thought that university would do me the world of good. I wonder how many missed calls I've got from them. I wonder if they're going frantic with worry yet. I can't find out - the phone is broken.
I'm trying to study but I imagine long demonic fingers curling around the hem of my curtains and a face to match the finger opening its maw of a mouth and screeching at me. It's a scary image. That's why the window is locked and my desk is now propped on the windowsill.
Crazy is perfect word to describe me right now. Psychiatric ward is probably the perfect place for me right now. But I can't leave. He'll get me.
I called him Franklin, which doesn't make him sound so scary, but it's merely a deception of sorts. He lingers everywhere. Before I resorted to staying locked in my room, he would follow me wherever I went. I would watch at night as he murdered my shadows with his bare hands, and I would run up to my room, being chased by him. He can't get into my room if the lights are on and I stay awake. I have to stay awake. Or else he'll get me.
I remember nights curled up in bed, trembling as he pressed his cold skinless cheek to mine, feeling the sticky wet flesh and muscle leave a bloody print there for me to remember him by when he eventually left. I would get up in the morning and scrub my skin red raw in the shower, trying to remove him from my skin, from my mind. It never worked.
He burned my clothes once. I wedged some in the crack underneath the door so that he couldn't get in. He retorted with a match.
It's ironic. I used to love horror movies. I was able to eat without batting an eyelid while watching characters being tortured in the Saw movies, or curl up in the middle of an empty cinema and watch psychopaths or supernatural spirits prey on innocent families. I'd read books about rapists and serial killers before I went to bed, and I would write poems and stories with the darkest story-line I could muster up. Horrors, and being scared. They were once my favourite things in life. Ironic.
I beat Franklin. I went outside and imagined shooting him with a M20B1. I watched with my jaw clenched as his rotten body exploded into a flurry of flames and screeching, and the stench of burning flesh reached my nostrils. It smelt good, like freedom.
My parents drove the five hours to the university campus to check on me, and I cried into their chests and told them of Franklin. I told them that he was keeping me prisoner, and that I couldn't escape. That's when my dear father thought up the clever idea as to how I could kill Franklin. After all, Franklin is a figment of my imagination, so I should be the only one able to destroy him.
I kept a firm grip on my father's hand as he led me outside. I could feel eyes on me as the odd puzzled person watched through their window trying to figure out why a nineteen-year-old university student was clinging to her daddy like her life depended on it. They didn't realise that my life really did depend on holding on.
Franklin was waiting for me. He grinned like a bloodthirsty monster (wasn't he just that?) and stretched out his arms towards me. I felt the force of his pull and held even tighter to my daddy's hand, and pushed Franklin away. I caught him off guard with that one - he did not expect it. That's when I imagined the bazooka to materialize in my hands, and I rested it on my shoulder and fired. He's dead. I'm free. My friends are relieved and quite frankly so am I. I have caught up in my lectures and I have a new phone. My parents have decided to stay nearby for a few weeks in case I need them.
I'm gonna be okay. I won.
Franklin is imaginary so he can't just die. He is therefore immortal - an immortal part of me. He knows this, and he knows that he has power over me that way.
He was mad that I shot him. He wanted me to pay.
I'd been enjoying being free of Franklin for about three months. See, he's patient, cunning; he bides his time. My desk in my room was back in the corner where it belonged, and the window from time to time was wide open, letting the cool breeze ventilate the small area. I'd go outside and smile as the wind whipped my hair behind me, and I would laugh - actually laugh - with friends.
And then he tapped me on the shoulder one day.
I froze. He grinned.
He turned me towards the waves.
Jump off that cliff. Like Lady Macbeth.
I stuttered out a no. He silently dragged me to the edge as I kicked and screamed. I could hear my friends shouting and running after us, but he's too fast, too strong.
I didn't beat Franklin. Franklin beat me.