It Follows

Everywhere he went, it followed – a spectral raptor hovering just overhead, forever awaiting his falter.

He glimpsed it at the office, nesting in the endless spreadsheets and pie-charts; he sensed it at the mall, flitting between the faces of the crowd; he felt it even at home, perched atop his mantel, bearing down on his domestic bliss. He felt it watching, sizing him up from the shadows, mocking him. He couldn’t shake it, couldn’t relax, couldn’t sleep. The only time he truly felt safe was when he was out on the town, protected by the laughter of his friends, the hallowed sound warding it off like a protective charm. But still he felt its gaze, eyes glinting out the blackness, circling, waiting.

Waiting for when he was alone again, separated from the herd, to swoop down on his psyche and feast on its rotting insecurity. To tear the flesh from his content, leaving only bone; a hollow skeleton of doubt, organs removed, scraps of rancid meat the last vestige of anything resembling certainty. The paranoia seeped down to his core; beneath a placid surface his mind raced with anxieties. Deeper still he plumbed the depths of his soul, searching for answers: what was he missing? The day grew dark as he pondered it, as though he were causing the world’s descent into blackness. But dawn carried fresh hope over the horizon, and with it a semblance of sanity returned, his ego healed, his heart rejuvenated. Ready again to face the world. Ready to retake the reins. Ready to check his phone to see if anyone had gotten up to anything last night. Only to find it there, staring back with ravenous eyes, ready to swallow him whole. The FOMO.