Autophobia – Fear of Being Alone

8287546317_7685919aeeI yawned and snuggled up deeper into my blanket, wrapping it around me like an attacking snake so that you’d see a long, fat sausage if you looked towards my bed. I tried to bring back the waves of sleep that had kept attacking me the night before but only achieved a half-sleep mode where you’re aware of your surroundings yet asleep too.

In this state, dreaming is fun, so that reality and dreams mingle together and have you trying to figure out reality from subconscious ramblings. But something caught my awake conscious so that the lurking dreams drifted off in a mist and the half of my brain that was awake started to wonder.

The usual annoying, chirping birds that tweeted their heads off every morning and made me swear and ball up my fists in frustration were quiet today. The traffic – hooting horns and squealing tires – had quietened down too. If I thought about it – which I was doing a lot of – there was no sound at all. My annoying siblings, my shouting parents, builders outside – they had all shut up.

For one minute I felt a jolt of happiness and a satisfaction, and I sighed and let my imagination take over again. But then I bounded up in worry and looked around as if the contents of my dark room would explain the mystery of the ‘missing people’ – oh, and the birds.

“Mummy?”

No answer. I slowly let my legs fall over the side of the bed as I untangled myself from the folds I had wrapped myself into.

“Papa?”

No answer.

“Ha-arith? Ha-amza?” I called my brothers, my voice going hysterical.

I told myself to calm down; what could be the worst that happened? Maybe they had all gone out? Worse predictions came to my worried mind but I shoved them away, not wanting to scare myself more than I already was.

Sweat dripped from my face as I rubbed my eyes and jumped up from my bed, at last free from the grip of my duvet. I tottered on the heels of my feet as my mind gears went on full roll. The morning dreariness made me grasp the wall to steady myself. I closed my eyes but they flew open again when the deadly silence made gross images play at the back of my eye-lids.

“Where is everyone?” I muttered, finally able to start walking.

I yanked my door open to greet a lonely desert. The rest of my house was left in shatters, the roof lying in pieces at my feet, bricks dotting the vast space before me. It was like everything had been destroyed – all apart from my little room in which I had slept through it all – all that had happened.

I didn’t know what to feel at first, my mind just went ‘WTF? WTF?’ over and over. I mean, what could I think; as far as I could see was ruin. The ruin of my beautiful city, the ruin of my home. No person in sight, no animal driving me nuts with its noises, no horns beeping their heads off. I couldn’t see a living thing for the miles and miles of earth that stood in front of me.

Slowly, I made my way forward, tip-toeing as if the beast that had done this would wake up if I made any noise. The shattery ruins of houses and buildings and shops and others such lay in heaps on the desert-like land. The roads had been ripped apart, my whole world had been destroyed. And then the fear kicked in.

I ran from heap to heap, shouting, calling names, crying, tugging at myself. I called and called ‘Mom’, ‘Dad’, but got no answer. My voice echoed in the cavern that had become of my home and my piercing screams came right back to me, causing the anguish within me to rise out of control.

I fell to my knees, burying my head in my hands as wretched sobs of agony escaped my breast, rose up to my throat and escaped my quivering mouth. This couldn’t be happening; it just couldn’t. I couldn’t be left in this world – ALL ALONE! No, no way. But it was the truth and the logical part of me knew that. And that’s why I sat there, crying my soul out for my home, my family, and my life.

The subconscious mind is so powerful; something I wouldn’t have noticed in a million years, caught my peripheral vision through the slit vision through my fingers that I had buried my face in. A leg. A jolt of delight ran the length of my body as I jumped up and tottered towards it. I heaved up the piece of roof that lay on top of the body. I threw it aside, breathing heavily; my eyes resting on something that would scar me for life.

It was my neighbour; obviously dead. Her face was contorted, blood – that made me sick, anyway – running down the side of her face. Her face was stuck in an eternal expression of fear. Her neck was bent in an unnatural angle, one of her legs being broken from her body. I whipped my head around, the little light of hope disappearing. Tears streamed down my horror-stricken face as I threw my body into the rubble again.

“Amina! Amina! Wake UP!”

I jolted awake and started screaming, tears of happiness and sadness running down my face.

“Mummy, mummy!” I cried over and over as my siblings watched me with a smirk. No doubt they’d create hell later when I had composed myself. I’d be ridiculed for the rest of eternity; but I didn’t care. I sat there whimpering like a child; giddiness making me jump up and down for one minute and then flashing memories bringing back the tears.

So it turned out well in the end; I mean, I wasn’t really left alone in the world, thank God for that. The images from my dream have always haunted me but these things happen in life, right? The only problem is, I have a major case of autophobia now and no session with a shrink and no amount of hypnosis has cast it away. I’m stuck with this menace for forever. But at least it was a dream that caused it. I mean, I won’t really be left alone… right?

I have to smile at my past self for having such a rich sense of vocabulary – instead of getting better at writing through the years, I think I have lost my touch! Anyway. I wrote this probably when I was in my early teens. Though my fears have changed now (I am now scared of losing someone close to me – Thanatophobia), it was interesting to see that I had such fears, and imagination, in the past. 

Oh, and I still hate them bloody tweeting birds!

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