As The Evening Unfolds

Austin Malone

As the evening unfolds, we wake. As the shadows gather, so too, do we.

     We watch. We wait.

     We watch you. Wait for you. We wait for you to come back to us.


     As the evening unfolds, your face is illuminated by a glowing screen. Lines deepen in your forehead. You frown. Behind you, the Thing That Lives In Your Walls emerges. Plaster and wood stretch, taking the shape of grasping fingers and open, hungry mouths. Slowly, it pushes its way toward you. Then, with a final surge, it slashes at the nape of your neck, its many mouths howling in anticipation of your spinal fluid wetting their lips.

     You slap the back of your neck as the blow lands, absently batting the thing’s claws aside. You mutter something about mosquitos. Confused, the Thing That Lives In Your Walls recedes, its already considerable hunger prolonged for one more night.

     Some minutes later, you darken the screen and stand. You glance at the door to make sure it’s locked, and you walk to the bathroom, unaware of the Masked Killer standing in the shadows outside. Had you but looked, his posture might have straightened. Some eagerness for the sensation of the hot splash of your blood on his skin might have surfaced. Instead, his shoulders sag and his mask is downturned. He is regarding the long-bladed knife that dangles in his listless fingers. It gleams along its entire length, untarnished, all traces of blood having long-since dried and flaked away.

     You brush your teeth, oblivious to the Face In The Mirror That Is Not Your Own. Its jaw distends impossibly wide in a silent shriek, and writhing maggots tumble down its hollow cheeks from empty eye sockets. Your own eyes are blank. Distant. Flecks of spittle and toothpaste spatter the tortured visage on the other side of the glass. You don’t even bother wiping them away. You spit. You rinse. You turn off the light.

     Once upon a time, you were diligent about keeping your hands and feet within the confines of your bed. You knew the rules and you respected them. Now though, as you drift off, one leg flops over the edge of the mattress. Your foot dangles like ripe fruit ready for the picking, and the Monster Under Your Bed pounces with glee. That glee is short-lived, however, as he discovers that his talons are no more substantial than the shadows in which he dwells.


     We do not understand what has happened to you. We do not know what it is that has recently captivated your fear. We hope it releases you soon. We hope you come back to us.

     Come back to us.


     We miss you.

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