3. Emily - A Birdlike Mask


Am I awake?

Am I dreaming?

These thoughts pass through my mind like a turntable.

I am no longer able to distinguish what is real and what is not.

I am not sure when my sleep begins or ends anymore. There is definitely something wrong.

The other day, I was walking alone in the woods behind my apartment again.

I saw a man.

Not unusual along the trails and with my recent mental state. There was something about his presence that stopped me dead in my tracks.

I went to grab my phone to snap a photograph; a second goes by.

I look up.

He isn't there anymore.

The worst part of seeing this, and I know it sounds crazy, but

I could have sworn that he had a birdlike mask on.

My memory is distorted, differently depicted every single time that I relive the moment.

Sometimes his body moves like a shadow. Other times he is still,

a statue.

I can't get it out of my head.

I have secluded myself from my family and friends.

It has been weeks.

My phone is filled with messages that I fear to respond to.

There are knocks at my door that I cannot bare to answer.

Even literature and films that I used to immerse myself in during states of isolation connect back to the Man in the Long Coat.

Or this man in the woods with the mask.

It's almost as if my beloved culture has been rewritten in favor of this nightmare that I am living...

or not living.

The only relief I have is my camera.

I got it back from the shop;

it still does not work right.

It is worse than before.

The repair company could not find a single issue with it.

I am still using it,

drawn to it;

even broken,

It speaks worlds beyond what I can type here.

I managed to take a few shots in the woods that day. They are not my usual style.

I am compelled by something within.