Leeches. Leeches everywhere. Not covering every centimeter of every surface, but everywhere I go, I always see a few.
I walk to the bathroom and there are two on the counter top. Flip up the toilet seat and there is one on the other side. Back in my room I find them hiding in plain sight on my computer monitors, and behind clothes and other things disorderly strewn about the floor. I don’t find any in my bed.
I make a point to visit as many places and rooms I can just to see if I can find any leeches there. My car, the garage, I check the refrigerator, not for food, but for leeches. Everywhere I go, I am greeted by the presence of a few leeches preceding my arrival.
They don’t seem to move. They are like movie set props, maybe they only exist in their own reality, but I know they are real. I don’t dare touch them. I don’t disturb them, but I don’t trust them.
In my backyard I can see them, those little black dots on the trees. They are lined up in a convenient path. One tree, one leech; onward they go into the vanishing point of the forest, and I follow their trail for over an hour until the woods’ dominion ends, giving way to a house with washed out yellow siding, dehydrated moss, and speckles of dried mud.
I walk in and I can hear something toward the back end of the house. I walk up the steps that bear a deceptive familiarity, and enter a large bedroom with two partially blinded doors that appear to lead to a balcony. A little bit of light slips into the room, enough to see that none of my companions are with me in this room. I don’t remember seeing any leeches since I’ve been in this house. The sound of a repeating, almost grumbling motion is coming from beyond those doors, so I beyond them.
We are on a deck, looking out, fifty feet above a canopy of treetops. While out there, everything is soaked in green, up here, everything has a yellow tint. There is rocking chair in front of me. It’s a drunken device, and it can’t make up its mind on its balance; continually threatening to keel over in each direction. From the back, it almost appears that a giant leech is slumped in the chair, but as I approach it and swing to the other side, I see an old man instead of a giant leech.
I stand directly before him, and we look at each other. I’m not sure if he sees me. He has two tiny leeches on each of his temples, and another where his neck meets his chest. I can’t seem to maintain eye contact with him. My eyes act like an enraged bee, swooping in at all different angles, but breaking off just as our pupils touch. I eventually drop my gaze and climb up to his several times before I manage to hold it. As if it were the draw bridge to my mind, the lower half of my jaw drops. I’m gaping as if I’m about to say something, but I know I have no words. Still I try to muster, but as I motion for speech nothing is heard except the sound of birds and their chicks chattering in the distance.
I keep trying, but I can only produce distant chirping. An exposed window, my mouth stays open, and I realize I can’t move my tongue. I feel something there. Just as I’m about to try to swallow my hand in an effort to rid my tongue of what constricts it I look back to the old man. The chair remains, but he’s gone. Meanwhile, half my hand is in my mouth, and I don’t know where I am.
Leeches. Leeches everywhere.