In My Head

Drawing of of two distorted red beings, not quite human-shaped, with large open mouths. Caption reads: "I never actually saw the things."

In My Head short story by Iris Carden

I’m not psychic. I’ve been told that all my life. It’s all in my head. I’ve never actually seen those horrible things, those beings with their huge open mouths sucking life from people. I’ve only imagined them. I just have a very active imagination.

When I was a child I didn’t see those creatures gathering around my teacher, moments before she collapsed and was rushed away by ambulance, to never return. I only imagined them. It was a way to try to make sense of what was happening, the school counsellor said.

I didn’t see them later, surrounding my grandmother just before she was hospitalised that last time. My mother told me to remember what the counsellor was said. It wasn’t real, it was just my child-brain try to cope with something so big and scary as death.

In high school, I only imagined them when a girl in my class drowned during our swimming lesson. They didn’t really surround her and pull her down, I just imagined it. My parents and a psychologist told me I just imagined it, and they were the experts. They would know.

Of course, I couldn’t have seen them surround the driver of that car the other day, just before he ran off the road straight into a power pole. I spent my life being told by people who should know that those things weren’t real, so they mustn’t have been.

I didn’t see them again just now, before my boss clutched his chest and collapsed. No-one else in the office saw anything except his apparent heart attack. Anything else can’t have been real.

No-one else saw these things and neither did I. I only imagined them. I am not psychic. I have been told that over and over, so I know I can’t have seen them.

I didn’t see them then. Not when the teacher yelled at me; not when my grandmother called me a spoilt brat, not when my school bully pulled down my swimsuit, not when that driver cut me off in traffic, and not now when my boss called me incompetent.

I only imagined them. They were not there, so I could not have seen them. I definitely could not have summoned them.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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