There’s a short tale that I read long ago,
And over many years it’s stayed with me,
It tells of a creature (a beast from below?)
That no one could touch and no one could see.
It tortured a hapless, desperate soul ,
Who suffered daily alone and in dread
Of the cold, damp, clammy, tormenting troll,
Small and invisible atop his head.
Why did it torment him? He couldn’t say;
It came upon him one night in a dream;
In the morning it hadn’t gone away;
Clasping and scratching and making him scream
As it whispered dark words into his ears;
Cold food for thought on which temptation feeds;
It knew all his secrets and deepest fears,
And it urged him on to terrible deeds.
The story begins in a prison cell;
A man in a straitjacket there resides;
In a chair opposite there sits as well
A learned doctor in whom he confides.
Tell me, says the doctor, when did it start;
When did these terrible urges begin?
Prompting the man in restraints to impart
How he was led to unspeakable sin.
I was asleep when the demon first came
(For such he is though I knew it not then),
Don’t be afraid, he said, Enoch’s my name,
We’re friends and you’re the luckiest of men.
Can you describe? asks the doctor amused,
Enoch’s appearance, his body, his face?
I can’t tell you that, says the man, bemused,
He’s invisible and he leaves no trace.
He whispers to me all day and all night;
On top of my head he scratches and claws;
He threatens with anger malice and spite;
With ceaseless relentlessness he implores.
And so I commit the most heinous crimes,
Such as the ones that have led me to here,
And though I’m now in the darkest of times,
If I defy him he’ll kill me I fear.
Tell me what Enoch is saying right now,
Says the doctor, laughing inside the while;
He’s been with the psychopath for an hour,
All the while hiding a cynical smile.
His patient, upon consulting the air,
Says, Enoch’s asked me to give him to you;
The doctor says, really? that seems quite fair,
Let me have Enoch for a day or two.
To which the patient happily complies;
He bends his head for the doctor to take
Enoch away; there’s relief in his eyes;
The doctor ,he knows, thinks Enoch’s a fake.
And the doctor, as if placing a hat
On top of his head, asks, how do you feel?
And his patient smilingly answers that
He no longer needs to beat, rape or kill.
Two days have passed by. The prisoner’s slept
The most peaceful of sleeps he’s had in years;
He touches the place that Enoch had kept;
Strangely he misses his voice in his ears,
For he was alone before Enoch came,
And now his friend isn’t there anymore.
There’s no fear now, but it isn’t the same;
With Enoch there he felt better for sure.
The cell door opens; the doctor comes in;
Stands at the foot of the prisoner’s bed;
His face is frozen in a rictus grin,
As he repeats what the prisoner said:
He says that I’m the luckiest of men;
For God’s sake, please help me what have you done?
He tells me to go into town and then
Go on a rampage with a knife or gun.
He says if I don’t, he’ll rupture my brain;
He’ll kill me unless I do what he says;
Oh please, help me please, I can’t bear this pain;
Take him back, I haven’t slept for two days.
The prisoner says, now you know it’s true;
Enoch is real and he’ll never return;
Not now he’s attached himself onto you,
Just do what he says or your brain he’ll burn.
No! Says the doctor, Enoch isn’t real;
This madness is somehow your wicked plan.
My purpose in life’s to cure and heal;
I’m not like you, I’m a peaceful, good man.
Then blood escapes from his nostrils and eyes;
Shocked and terrified, he falls to the floor,
He shakes with convulsions and slowly dies;
Lies stiff as assistants come through the door.
And as they come in, a streak of white light
Flies from the floor, to the prisoner’s bed;
Quick as a flash, beyond all human sight,
Enoch returns to the top of his head.
The prisoner now looks shocked in dismay;
I really don’t know what happened, he says.
The assistants take the doctor away;
What could have killed him is anyone’s guess.
An autopsy reveals the cause of death:
An aneurysm; an internal bleed;
Natural causes gave him his last breath,
And further inquiries need not proceed.
The prisoner’s since been declared insane;
The deceased’s report prevailed in the end,
It told of a man’s delusional brain,
And his phantasmal invisible friend .