He’d spent days walking at different speeds; fast then slow, slow then fast Never stopping Sometimes he was so desperate to get away that he would run, flat out, through the crowds “No, leave me alone.”

People side-stepped, always staring “There’s that madman running again.”

Once he actually knocked someone over Kept running Couldn’t stop Must get away.

It was no good, though No matter where he was, how fast he moved, it always found him Everywhere he looked he could see it Painted onto the sides of buildings, lying in the streets.

When he walked at night he kept to the darker streets Walking into the light he’d find it waiting Have to run back, screaming.

At home, he sat with all the lights off He felt more at ease when he couldn’t see it But no matter what, when he had his eyes tight shut, his hands over his ears, his body crunched like a foetus, it was always there He could feel its hand on his shoulder Tap Tap Tap.

Warm breath blanketing his neck Moisture ran the length of his spine He quivered.

Hedgehogged, in a ball, an icy chill surrounded him The whole room sighed Headlights glinted through the window His every muscle clenched, drawing him deep into his own centre An army of blackness, all shapes and sizes, littered the room.

The dark figure crawled out from beneath him It grew, stretching across the walls, over the ceiling.

Huge hands slashed across the room The car drifted past the window, sucking all the light from the room The darkness closed in over him All was black.

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