They arrived with the warming weather. Small, mindless, and insignificant—or so I first believed. I thought they would disappear without any effort on my part, so I never bothered seeking a cure. I blamed the heat and considered them a passing nuisance. Now, in winter, they have grown bolder and more abundant. I try to ignore them but they are there, here, hovering. Their dreadful crimson bodies float about the room. Their inhuman, iris-less eyes mock me as they flit about on black wings. The little horrors they perform: crawling on my face whenever I look in the mirror and teasing when I am close to knives. In futility, I swat at them, trying to drive them away. For every one I manage to crush, thirteen more seem to appear. Nothing I have done lessens them. No powder, pill, or potion has alleviated me of their presence. They are multiplying, breeding in my food, so I no longer wish to eat, and bathing in my drinks, to taunt me further with thirst. At night, I pray for relief from these fiends. Instead, when the lights are extinguished, these evil lives converge upon me. They swarm and whisper into my subconscious: Drink more red wine- open a bottle now. Spend your savings on pomegranates and persimmons. In these gray winter mornings, in rooms already perfumed with overripe fruit, I find that I do crave exotic fruit and by evening I have spent my budget on Merlot and more bananas than one person could consume. Still they bedevil me. I open all the windows to let in the frigid winter air hoping to give them egress or to freeze them dead, but only I seem to suffer the cold. I have taken to leaving vast bowls of wine about, trying to trap them, but they treat me as their poison-taster and only drink from vessels I have held to my own lips. In my fear that other people will learn of my shameful secret, I no longer keep company with others. Unwillingly, I have become their serf and servant. I plead with them—my masters, yet they are pitiless. I battle on–for my freedom and my sanity. They are winning the war.