Her body convulsed as the fork entered, making great holes in her back, blood seeping out of the wounds and oozing down her back, thick and black, like tar. The fisherman thought he was going to be sick, staggering backwards, away from the sight.
‘It’s not real,’ he told himself. ‘She’s not real, none of this is.’ He looked away as the woman’s body curled in on itself and she dropped to her knees, a horrible gargling sound coming from her throat. The fisherman closed his eyes repeating to himself that none of this was real, it was all in his mind. He rested his head against the wall, the surface cold and sticky to the touch, his breathing coming out in waves, making his head spin as he gasped for air.
‘You thought it was going to be that easy?’ Her voice said, sending shivers of terror down the fisherman’s spine. He didn’t want to look around but something made him, forcing him to open his eyes and turn his face away from the wall. He wished he could close his eyes and erase the image that was in front of him. She was standing there, the fork in her hand, thick black blood hanging from its prongs and sliding down the handle.
‘She isn’t real,’ he muttered to himself as she advanced on him. ‘She should be dead so she can’t be real.’
‘I wish you could be more imaginative sometimes,’ Venus said when she was only few feet away from the fisherman. ‘It gets a bit boring after a while.’
‘You’re an hallucination, a creation of my mind, you can’t get bored,’ he said, fear griping him as he smelt her breath, reminding him of the salty smell of the sea and rotting fish mixed into one, making his stomach clench into a tight knot.
‘You poor little fool,’ she hissed into his face. ‘Of course I’m real. If I weren’t real would I be able to do this?’ Her hand shot out and closed itself around the fisherman’s neck, lifting him up from the floor. His eyes widened as he found he couldn’t breathe, his feet thrashing around a foot from the floor. Her crab-like bony fingers tightened their grip, making the fisherman gasp.
He thought he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen, panic taking hold of every part of his body, his hands scrabbling at her fingers, hoping to loosen their vicelike grip and his feet kicking, desperately searching for any kind of hold that would allow him to take some of the pressure away from his neck.
‘You don’t control me,’ she said mockingly, laughing at his pathetic attempts to escape. ‘I’m as real as you are.’
The fisherman couldn’t retaliate; he had no breath with which to speak. His vision started to blur, her thin, pale face slipping in and out of focus, making her appear even more terrifying than he had originally thought.
Please let her spare me, he prayed as he felt consciousness slipping away from him.
The ground came racing up towards him and his eyes opened, frantically looking around the room. He was alone. The dog was standing next to him, his head on one side looking down at his master.
‘Are you alright?’ A hand was placed on the fisherman’s shoulder and he spun around, backing away from this new figure, scared that he would be attacked again.
This time the figure was a man. He was reaching out to the fisherman with strong human hands, which looked out of place on the ends of his arms, which were covered in iridescent scales. Water was dripping from his hair, which had the same appearance and texture of seaweed, creating a growing puddle on the floor. But his face was kind, his eyes the same green-blue colour you only see after a big storm and his skin sparkling like sand in the sun.
‘I’m sorry about my sister,’ the man said. ‘I didn’t mean for her to behave like this.’
‘You can’t say that because she’s not real,’ the fisherman said defiantly. ‘You’re not real either.’
‘To your imagination we are. And as long as you let your imagination stay in control you will never be rid of us. You have to let go.’
‘Of course you can’t,’ Venus’ voice rang in his head. ‘You’re too weak.’ The fisherman’s head spun around, his eyes frantically searching the room for any place the voice might be coming from but found nothing. No sight of Venus.
‘Ignore her,’ the man said, his voice cutting through the fisherman’s panic. ‘If you blot her out she won’t be able to get inside your head.’
‘You poor pathetic nothing,’ the woman’s voice mocked. ‘I would have thought you might have put up some of a fight. Instead you decide to listen to him.’ The fisherman heard a laugh like waves crashing on the shore. ‘You disappoint me.’
‘Don’t let them in,’ the man said insistently. ‘Shut the voices out.’
The fisherman’s head was ringing with hundreds of different voices now, all fighting to be heard. He curled into a ball, his head cradled in his hands, trying to block out the shouts but they only grew louder and louder until suddenly they stopped. He was alone again in his head.
Then there was a knock at the door.