The term claustrophobic meant very little to me. After all I hadn’t felt it before. How could I be sure? I have never been alone in a small closed room before.
I had seen friends rush out of a lift, an enclosed place or room, their faces beaded with balls of sweat registered panic. Their voice almost lost. They claim to have limited supply of air. Somehow, I found their stories amusing. The one which made me begin to think most of my friends were nuts(I could’ve been the one who was nuts, who knows?) was when they spoke of demons which they had seen in those enclosed places.
They would narrate how those demons acted, the way it looked like and sometimes what it said. Of course I wasn’t one who believed in demons, hence I found their stories quite amusing and unbelievable.
On a certain day, Fred ran to me in fright. He could hardly catch his breathe. I tried to calm him down at least to make him tell me what had happened.
“relax Fred,” I said. “tell me what happened”.
“I…I..” he stammered, taking deep breathe to help him relax his nerves.
“You did what?” I enquired.
I could see that he was shaking badly, and it would be impossible trying to get him to talk at that moment.
To help him ease his nerves, I offered him a glass of water which he gulped at once and asked for more. I could see that he was beginning to feel better because his breathe had slowed down.
“I had gone to make a call at a phone booth,” Fred began. “I was barely midway into my call when I felt the door bolted from outside. I dismissed it as nothing….,” he paused to have his gaze meet mine. I’m sure he had doubts if I was paying attention and was probably deciding whether to continue or not.
“so what happened, Fred?” I asked obviously to make him continue his tall-tale or ‘giraffe tale’ as we jokingly called it as friends.
“Moments after the door had bolted,” he continued. “I felt my lungs becoming empty, then I saw a grey figure. The sclera of its eyes weren’t white. They were grey as clouds. Its fingers, barely having any flesh had numerous tarantulas crawling all over them.”
“why didn’t you yell? Perhaps someone would’ve heard you and come to your rescue” I interrupted. Of course, I hardly believed Fred’s tale, I simply offered my suggestion just to make him think I believed.
“I lost my voice!” Fred cut in.”I could barely speak! It was like the thing was sucking the air out of my lungs. You should’ve have seen its eyes, there was nothing there. Protruding from its belly were numerous squirming things. I’m sure they were his intestines but they had a life of their own — They moved like snakes.”
“It’s okay,” I said.”The most important thing is that you’re safe now. Forget about what you saw, it could’ve been your imaginations”
Fred eyed me when I said that last sentence. I could see from the look on his face that he had decided not to drag the issue further, and was hoping that I experience it myself.
“There’s actually something which makes people in closed places experience panic,” Fred said.”It’s not just because of the limited space. It’s something more. There’s something which makes people claustrophobic…”
“hey, hold it, Fred,” I interrupted.”I know where you’re going. You’re saying what you saw must’ve been a claustrophobe?”
“Yes, If that’s what you call it,” Fred replied then he sighed….
To be continued….