you often get home long after it gets dark. in the winter the dark sets in hours before you get in, and no matter how many layers you wear the cold always seems to bite deep into your skin. you do not bleed. you do not scar. yet the pain never goes away.
when you were a child you dreamed you would be somebody. when you were a teenager success and fame was just one finished novel or video away. when you first stepped out into the world as an adult your dreams were more realistic, and you knew with hard work and determination you could achieve them. but you didn’t.
now every day is a hurdle. there is no reward for your labour. the city is desolate and inhospitable.
ever since you were a child you’ve been afraid of the dark. now, of course, you do not fear the monster under the bed, but at night you still see and hear things. you toss and turn, unable to sleep. you sweat in your bed in your miserable apartment. you wake up in the dead of night fearing for your life. someone is trying to kill me. the building is haunted. the creature is coming for me.
one day you walked home, your eyes fixed on the pavement, and you turned to cross the street. you looked up and took a step out onto the empty road, but you stopped dead in your tracks. there was a man in your window. he wore a hat and a coat. those are my clothes. you could not see his face. he stood perfectly still. he has no face.
this is crazy, i am crazy. he has no face. he has no hands. he is an empty coat, a floating hat. i don’t need the police. i need to be sectioned. i’m scared to be sectioned. i can’t stop working. i have to pay my rent. i can’t become homeless. i have nowhere to go. no one will look after me if i get sick.
you can’t look, but you have to.
no one broke into your apartment. it was all the way you left it. i’m just stressed and seeing things. i’m just confused. the coat and hat he wore are hung up by the door. he didn’t really wear them. i’m just seeing things. i’m just confused.
you can’t eat so you head to bed.
you wake up as you often do, scared, haunted by some nightmare. a dream so real, a dream that claws at your heart. your eyes turn to the door, and the figure standing in it. coat and hat. it doesn’t move. it has no face. it has no face. you stare at it. it stares back. it can’t be real. it isn’t there. you blink your eyes and it is gone. it’s just my dressing gown. i’m just making shapes in my mind.
but now it has got you. every day you see the man in the window, the man by the door. you never wear that coat or that hat. you don’t even touch them. it isn’t real. he isn’t real. he can’t be real. he has no face. he has no face.