Horror Writers Association

MHI: EXPOSED by Jesse Rosenbaum


Trigger Warning: This piece addresses mental health

The HWA is pleased to launch its Mental Health Initiative, a coordinated roll-out of events, resources, and activities intended to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. The initiative, run by the organization’s Wellness Committee, launches in June, and includes the following blog posts from Of Horror and Hope, a downloadable anthology of poems, flash fiction, and personal reflections on mental health by HWA members.


Jesse Rosenbaum

The voice in my head returned as I frustratingly stared at the blinking cursor on the empty page.

“I don’t know why you keep trying. No one wants to read your drivel. You know that don’t you?” it said.

Annoyed, I pursed my lips and shut my eyes tight before I responded. “I’m not listening to you.”

Still, the voice persisted, “There’s a reason that screen is blank, and that reason is you lack imagination and skill.”

I slammed my hand down onto the top of the desk. “Shut up!” I yelled aloud.

The voice just laughed at me. “The more you deny me, the more you fight, the weaker you get as I drain you of your confidence and motivation. Surely, you must have noticed. Keep it up because your struggle just makes me stronger like those vampires you so love to read about.”

“I’m stronger than you think,” I rebutted.

Defiantly, I started to type my thoughts down into the computer and for the first time in an exceptionally long time, I sensed a hesitation in the voice as it replied, “What are you doing right now?” Then, I heard worry. “What’s happening? Something feels different.”

I smiled as I continued typing. “You like to refer to yourself as a vampire. Well, I am doing the one thing vampires hate; I’m exposing you to the light of day by writing you into my story.”

Panic set in for the voice. “You can’t do that. Stop it now!”

“It’s too late,” I said with a smirk, “Now the world will see you for the powerless leech that you are. You have no power over me anymore. You won’t make me feel inadequate anymore and, just like the vampires I read about, you die in the daylight.”


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