The Enemy

My name is Anniki, but everyone calls me Niki. I'm a sophomore at Bellaire High School. While other teenagers worry about their looks, friends and grades, it's not the same with me. I carry an imprecation. Everyday I have to fight a feckless battle in a pandemonium of my own.

I can never tell when it's going to strike. It's as if it is autonomous. And whenever it chooses to attack me, my feeble resistance is no match for it. It swallows me up whole, and I transcend reality.

I feel strangely soporific, and when I open my eyes again, it's dark. That's when I know that it's got me. Now there is no turning back.

The next thing I know, I'm underground, my temerarious friend Dirk by my side. The light from our flashlights indicates a passage just ahead of us. I play my light on the chamber we're in. Dirt floor and crumbling walls surround us. Dirk walks down the narrow passage, and I follow him. My zigzag pendant swings on my bare neck. The metal feels cold and alien.

It seems like forever, and the passage never ends. It only widens, slowly, but noticeable. I get more and more bored by the minute. I try to start a conversation, but Dirk is too excited to follow what I'm saying. I stare at the dirt floor.

Mum. She would always listen to me. She would always respond with incredible alacrity to any question or problem I took to her. She was a paragon to me.

Suddenly I smell the familiar smell of pineapple pizza. I could vision the bread-maker as it prepared the dough, and then Daddy spreading the miry mixture in a baking sheet. An open can of pineapple slices stood open on the counter and the smell was so rich, and so clear, I could almost taste the pineapple flavor.

Then I realize what is happening - I am homesick. Somehow I know we've been in this cave for a long time - perhaps too long. Even the acerb taste of oatmeal on weekend mornings sounded good right now, provided that it was Daddy who made it.

We walk into a huge clearing outside the cave now, and the pellucid sky greets us. Dirk continued on walking, but I paused to admire nature in its pristine state. Antelopes grazing by the lake were not at all disturbed by our presence.

A few steps ahead of me, Dirk stops. I come up to his side feeling that my heart stopped beating. What stands ahead of us might have easily come out of an R.L. Stine version of 'The Ox-Bow Incident'. A pack of creatures tower seven feet in front of us, sanguinary expressions on their faces. Their bodies are human, with missing patches of skin ugly chafes.

Luckily, the creatures do not see us. We dive behind some impervious greenery and waylay for the creatures to make their move, whichever one it was going to be. I know deep inside, that we were going to have to fight them. I let my mind fill up with odium.

I remembered Natasha. It was so long ago, but then, I don't forgive nor forget. She has to be the most licentious and vindictive person that has ever lived. She was jealous of me and made no effort to hide it. She was mean and intolerant to everyone who was different or not as vulpine as she was.

My thoughts are interrupted by Dirk's hand on my arm. I look up and see one of the creatures towering over us. It swings out with its hand and its extremely long fingernails lacerate my throat and neck. I feel the heat of my blood as it flows uncontrollably from the wound. I am slightly aware of Dirk's voice and his hand still gripping my arm. The heat is intensifying - I am burning up fast. This might have been something like what Joan of

Arc might have felt, I was thinking.

Then I felt something strangely horrifying. It was as if the world expatiated me to the coldness of space. My body felt light and it was as if I was floating. But this did not last long. I felt a million presences around me, as if I had sailed into an oil droplet. Then I realized. The poor souls of unfortunates like myself serried in this lonely corner of the universe, long forgotten. Now I knew how it felt to die.

I opened my eyes and I was back in my room. My head hurt and I felt weak. I go through this every day, and no matter how hard I try, my autonomous imagination wins every battle. My most hated enemy is myself.