A Hint of Strange, a Novel Prelude

He didn’t know how to take that.  Or where to begin with it.  He only knew that therapy has been a huge part of his life since he was twelve years old – and  up until now nothing else has seemed to take the edge away, that grinding fear in the back of his mind fearing that the “thing”, that abomination to God, whatever to fuck it was, would come back to devour him and destroy whatever semblance of humanity he has been clinging onto since that night.  That horrible night.

This new therapist didn’t seem any different from the rest, never really listening to what he said, only caring about why or how he said things,  never believing his lack of words to describe what really happened that night.  Who could find words to describe that?  None of these desk jockeys could possibly understand what he saw back then- what he knew to be true.  They would go on believing in their fairy tale little worlds where monsters don’t exist outside the minds of their patients, condescendingly explaining away his version of what happened as some sort of abnormal paranoia, or made up stories to reap attention, or any other number of mental conditions they could conjure up from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Surely Daniels’s problem must be there somewhere in the pages of that insanity manual, they think!  Surely Daniel must be abnormal, insane, less than average, not believable in the least!   Fuck them all.

The exception to this latest psychiatrist is that he wants Daniel to submerse himself in that night, to live and relive it, over and over, until his mind becomes completely blank – a fresh canvas, he says.  A fresh canvas?  What does that mean?  Can he somehow bleach out the blood stains of his mother and father, his younger sister, freshen it to new, and paint some new fun, fictional family there on this stained canvas, some kind of new happiness?  It just made no sense.  Reliving that night was only torture to Daniel.  But what to hell?  Nothing else was working.  If for no other reason he could at least use his memories to study the demon, to learn its faults and weaknesses –  so when it does come back – and Danny is certain it will come back – he can destroy it.  So yes, Mr. Therapist, you Freudian prophylactic, Mr. Daniel Thrush has decided to write those nightmarish memoirs, or “problematic memories” as you protest them to be.  So hold on to your hat Sir.  You are about to enter the monster’s lair.


Chapter One:  Way. way before………

First of all, it wasn’t just that night.   That night was the peak though, so to say, on the “Fuck Daniel’s brain” scale…..  Like a Geiger counter Daniel’s senses had been clicking in the background for a bout a year and a half.  At first it was just click, click, click, click.  And then clickety-click, click, click, clickety-click.

Click.  A faint movement in the shadows on late night walks or bicycle rides.  Click.  An imminent sense of being watched, preyed upon, stalked like an animal.  Clickety-Click.  Close friends missing and found dead after telling him about those same shadow people, people who you can never see looking straight at them, but only through the corner of the eye.  When you try to look at them your mind becomes an illusion – did the shadow move around the corner of that house?  Did the shadow just run down the street and hide behind another bush?  It was too fast.  There’s no way to know.

That particular night was just a culmination.  It’s just when the Geiger counter exploded into a molten, smoking mass of pants-shitting fear – because that’s the night the devil finally showed himself to Daniel.  And then stole everything he loved.

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