Uninvited

June’s theme was They Come at Night.

Synopsis

Reclusive Daniel is fascinated with the life of his neighbour, Jenny. When he starts getting nightly visits from an ominous creature, he soon realises that he may be the only one who can defeat the real monster.

Uninvited

by Ian Williams

It was a Tuesday when It first visited me in the dead of night. I remember it clearly. It was the same day my neighbours had begun to fight worse than usual. I heard their argument through my paper-thin walls, from the first mumbled insult to the last punch–the husband was a drunken lout who lashed out all too often.

The time I was supposed to be spending counting my pennies and checking they were all still there, I was listening in instead, with my ear up against the wall. This argument was about who the girl, called Jenny, had been out drinking with that day. Her husband–I always missed his name–was demanding she tell him, ‘or I’ll beat it out of you’, he’d said.

She was a friendly woman, she didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. I’d often seen her greeting people when she left for work each morning. Of course, I’d never spoken to her, I doubt she knew I even existed. I watched through my window as she left and then returned each day. She’d be home around six most nights, but sometimes not until way past ten. Those were the nights I heard them fight.

That Tuesday was different, though. The hitting would start almost as soon as Jenny walked through the door and then settle down an hour or so later, at which point I’d hear her slam the bedroom door and cry herself to sleep. But on that cold winter’s evening the hitting hadn’t stopped.

I cried for her that night. I’d listened from the very start of it, slumped up against my wall like I was glued to it. I could hear that she was in pain. I imagined her pretty face covered in purple bruises and three times its normal size. I saw her missing teeth, her gums blackened by blood and her clothes torn to shreds; and I fell asleep with tears streaming down my face.

I’m my dreams I’m a brave man, one never too scared to face a fight head on. I could pick up cars and toss them hundreds of feet away, could fly like Superman, could read peoples’ faces without any problems. People looked normal in my dreams, not the emotionless things I watched from behind my curtains.

The times I feel strong enough to step outside my door, I’m immediately overcome with a sense of doom. My body tightens to the point I can’t move a muscle. I stand there, staring at the exit only two apartments away from mine. It’s as if gravity suddenly increases the second I enter the real world. But I’m too weak to fight it, so I fall back through my door and kick it shut.

I stay in and watch others live their lives. Most times I can enjoy TV if no one is around to watch. Although I don’t like what they say on most shows. I hate the messages they send out. They don’t know that I can hear them, either. I do my best to ignore them telling me where to go and what to do. It means I often prefer a blank screen. That or to count my pennies again–I’ll keep counting them until I’m sure none are going missing.

Usually, after hearing Jenny and her husband fighting, things go back to normal the next day, just something quickly forgotten. Only this time it didn’t. That last fight had upset the balance somehow. I hadn’t realised at the time, but a bad energy had begun to form. Things were twisting into something perverse, something made of pure evil.

Unfortunately, that kind of darkness attracts attention.

That night, I saw the energy manifest itself in my apartment. I was still propped up against the wall, with the TV sound turned off. I stirred when something rustled behind me. I always sleep with my mouth open, so by that time in the early hours I was drenched in saliva. The dribble hung from my mouth in thick strands and I had to shake it off my hand.

Following the sound, I slowly sat up and twisted my head around, toward the small kitchen area. There was nothing there. I told myself I was just hearing things, that was all. I’d had an emotional evening and the stress of hearing Jenny’s fighting had me on edge.

However much I told myself this, I knew it wasn’t true. Evil had come knocking at my door.

A look at the clock told me it was nearly three in the morning, not a time I’m unfamiliar with. Some terrible bouts of insomnia can keep me busy until well after that time. But I had been asleep before the strange sound.

I heard it again, like an injured bird trying to flap its wings. Whatever it was, it was now in my bedroom. There was a smell in the room I hadn’t experienced before too. If it was an animal, then it was dying of something terrible, something that was eating it from the inside out.

I crept up to the closed door. Pressing my ear up against it, I listened in for more noise. And there it was again, the sound of a creature in the final, painful moments of death. Well, hurry up and die dear friend. I need my rest, I thought.

Bin-bags are kept under the sink, so I grabbed one and opened it quietly, along with a dustpan. It was okay to be dealing with this at such a late hour, I had plenty of time before others would be up and I would begin my routine of watching them through my window again.

When I returned to the bedroom door the sound had ended. I was grateful not to have to chase the creature around the room. All I had to do was scoop it up and chuck it into the bag. It could wait with the rest of my rubbish in the corner of the room, for the rare occasion that I made it to the exit, where I’d throw it out and run back to safety.

I pushed open the bedroom door a little–I’m not sure why I was still so worried–and peered inside. It was quiet, as expected. It had to be safe to enter, so I did. That’s when the voice in my head told me off. It knew something was wrong, it always does. It berated me for being so cavalier, for leaping without looking first. I’d agreed I’d made a mistake the second I saw what was in that room, waiting for me.

The thing took up most of the room. It rose up from behind my bed, a thin bodied thing with arms as long as the rest of its body and a head perched atop an articulated neck. The legs, like a stick-insect’s, were too thin and weak to take the full weight, yet somehow, they were. To keep its head from touching the ceiling, it had arched its neck, so its face was a good metre or two in front of its body.

I watched, trapped in place, as the thing reached out its arms to touch the opposing walls. Its head moved like a fifth limb, attached on the end of a long, knuckled neck. When it noticed me standing in the open doorway, it swung its head around to meet me. The air became stuck in my throat the second our eyes met.

There was nothing but blackness to the creature’s eyes. I couldn’t see anything but my own face and the room reflecting back. The life behind its eyes was one of darkness, a darkness I quickly became lost in. My mind could have tumbled straight into that empty void and continued to sink for hours, if not for the sudden realisation that I was being watched back.

The bag and dustpan fell from my grip and landed by my feet. That sound made the creature’s neck snap straight up, retracting the head into the safe reach of its long arms. I’d startled it.

“Please, don’t be afraid, I won’t…”

My words faltered. They were cut short by a vicious strike to the side of my face. The thing then leapt across the bed and draw right up close to me, it’s face now all I could see. I saw skin, but it wasn’t like mine. Up close I could see it moving, like a viscous fluid. I wanted to touch it.

It opened its mouth and a blinding light followed. My eyes burned and my skin began to melt away. It dripped onto my hands; a reddish liquid that seeped through my fingers and splashed onto the floor. The pain was excruciating. I felt myself becoming the same as the creature. My skin wasn’t a solid thing, it was something between solid and liquid. Even my hands were changing, becoming long and thin. A pressure around my neck had become too much to take. I was losing consciousness.

At that point, I was certain my body was going to fall to pieces. But worse was to come. My mind exploded with paranoid thoughts when the creature screamed at me, with the voice of Jenny from next door.

That’s when I finally lost it. I slapped my hands to my face, felt the liquid that had replaced it and screamed back. I’d put so much force into it that I’d completely run out of breath. I collapsed on the floor and said goodbye to the world.

The next thing I remember feeling is dampness on my hand. I kicked out my legs and thrust my arms as far away as I could, in case the thing was still there. But there was no need. There was nothing there. My apartment was empty, except for me. I opened my eyes slowly and then confirmed it finally.

Somehow, I was back against the wall, where I’d been before the creature had appeared. I guessed I’d crawled there before losing consciousness. I’d managed to close the door behind me too. There was no way I was going to open it again, that door would remain shut to me. The memory couldn’t hurt me if I just ignored it.

For the rest of that day I concentrated on one thing only; pushing the image of the creature as far away from my mind as possible. The only time I got close to my bedroom door after that was to lock it tight.

My usual routine no longer held my attention. The curtains never parted that day, not even when I heard Jenny leave for work a little late. I’d heard her voice exit the creatures mouth, so even watching her caused me a mental anguish I struggled to cope with. I just rocked back and forth until night time came around again.

If I see anything tonight, I’m leaving for good. It was a nice thought, but not one I believed I could go through with. However disturbing my previous night had been, my fear of the outside was still worse. It left me with only one other option; I’d have to pretend my bedroom didn’t exist. That part of the apartment was no longer mine.

And so, when I heard movement in the bedroom that next night, I tried my best to ignore it. It was the same as before, but this time with even more. I could hear the thing actually breaking in through the window. It broke the lock, slid down the window and then stepped inside. I saw it all in my head.

Without thinking about it seeing me, I poked my head between the curtains to see. I begged the heavens for it to be a burglar and nothing more. Maybe someone had figured the place was empty because of how quite it was.

The one remaining limb, as long as my entire body, slowly disappeared through the window. My skin crawled at the sound of its bones clicking as the leg was bent all out of shape to fit inside the room. I imagined it in there, with its head up against the ceiling and its long, skeletal arms swinging into things.

Then the door handle turned. The thing wasn’t content with invading just the bedroom, now it wanted to see the rest of the apartment. I wasn’t going to let it in. I grabbed the door knob and spun it back the other way, forgetting that it was locked anyway.

It soon gave up and everything went quite for a short while. I took a step back and waited for another sound. The thing was still in there, but what was it doing? More importantly, why had it picked my apartment over everyone else’s?

Just when I thought I’d made it through the worst of it, a tapping at the door broke the silence. The creature’s fingers were sharp implements and with each tap against the wood I could hear them digging in.

I couldn’t take it anymore. “What do you want?”

Not one single cell in my body expected a reply to come, but one did.

“You, Daniel, we want you.” As before, it was Jenny’s voice I heard. The thing seemed determined to upset me. Using her voice was a cruel trick.

“Please, go away. I don’t want you here.”

“But we want to be here. Here is nice.”

I could hear the door giving way to the creature’s finger, bit by bit, like a tiny drill boring its way through the wood. There was nothing I could do to keep it out.

“I’m warning you,” I said, feeling a surge of anger at the invading force. “If you don’t leave me alone, then I’ll…”

“You’ll what, Daniel? We’re here to help you. Don’t you want our help?”

“No, I don’t need you here. Please, just go.”

But the thing wasn’t listening to my pleas. It continued to drill into the door until a small hole had appeared. Through it came a beam of light so bright I had to look away. I knew what was coming next, yet I could do nothing to prevent it.

The finger slowly extended out of the hole and approached me. Somehow it was now over a metre long, with six knuckles where before there had only been one. I watched as it explored the air between us, as though it could smell my presence nearby.

“Won’t you let me in?” The creature said behind the door. Jenny’s voice made it a pitiful sounding request. But I wouldn’t fall for the trick. “We know what’s stopping you. It’s that bitch Jenny, isn’t it?”

It was only a finger, I told myself. What harm could it do? It was no threat to me.

I sidestepped away from the door and headed for the kitchen, not allowing my feet to make any sound at all. There I found my carving knife. I slid the knife out of the wooden block it sat in and returned to the door, where things had gotten even worse. Now the hole had expanded to allow the creatures arm inside the room, just one long limb stretched out like it was made from elastic.

“I don’t want to see you anymore,” I said, the steel blade taping against the side of my leg.

“What are you doing with that knife, Daniel? Are you going to stick it in Jenny? You’d like that, wouldn’t you. Well, maybe we can do it for you.”

I didn’t reply. Instead, I swung the knife as fast and hard as I could, straight into the arm. The knife cut through it with ease, slicing the arm off at a second elbow. Blood spurted and covered me. It was red blood, like a human’s too. I’d expected something otherworldly to seep out.

The scream that followed filled me with dread. While the arm flopped about on the ground like a damn wriggling worm, all I could hear was Jenny. From the sound of it, she was in a huge amount of pain; pain I had caused. All I could do in return was continue to hack at the creature’s limb–what was left of it, anyway.

Light burst through the hole in the door. I was drawn to it, with my knife dripping with blood and shaking in my grip. The light meant something terrible; it meant I was losing this fight. I spun the knife around in my hand and stabbed at the door in a downward arch. Whatever was behind the door was going to be next.

When the hole was big enough, I stopped my attack and peered inside. There was nothing there. The light had stopped. I’d scared the thing off finally. I was sure of it. All that remained of it were the smears of blood now on my bedroom door. Although at least some of it was mine. In my short moment of madness, I’d slit three fingers by gripping the knife awkwardly.

From there I couldn’t see the window, so I wasn’t completely certain the room was empty. But I had no intention of going in there to find out. I settled instead for a little quiet. The time allowed me to find my breath finally, and to lower my pulse rate too. With my mind in a complete mess it was nice to think clearly for a second.

And then I stepped back and felt something touch my foot. I looked down to find the severed limb crawling along the ground. I yelped as it launched itself onto my face and took hold, its finger nails scratching deep ridges into my cheeks. When the skin popped and the fingers continued on through my mouth, I gagged on my tongue and spat up a lump of something unpleasant.

That was the end of it for me. I collapsed in a heap on the floor and watched the world disappear between the creature’s lanky fingers, each one closing around my head like crab claws.

It wasn’t until three in the afternoon that I woke up again, covered in sweat and with a throbbing pain in my hand. The cuts to my fingers were deeper than I’d realised during the ordeal of the night before. Physical pain I could recover from, but what I had seen the previous few nights had hurt me much deeper.

Too many questions hung unanswered for me to ever get over it all. The creature had found a weakness and appeared determined to exploit it until I cracked. Would it return that night too? It wouldn’t have gotten near me if I could have left that fucking apartment far behind. My safe place, my sanctuary had been compromised and it was driving me to despair.

The only escape would come after the thing was dead. Which meant it was up to me, the lonely loser who never leaves his home and who fears the outside world. That thing had to die. I’d almost managed it the previous night. I knew I could do it again.

So, I set a trap; what could go wrong with that?

I didn’t sleep at all that day, not even to clear my mind before my big moment. I was too pumped up. My imagination was out of control and throwing up one horrific image after another. For some reason, I found myself seeing Jenny’s face attached to the end of the creature’s lengthy neck, even when I imagined killing it finally. To say I was rattled would be an understatement of epic proportions; it made me physically sick to think about it.

For most of the day I sat on my sofa and stared at the bedroom door, and the hole I’d clumsily covered with black tape. I waited there until the sun set behind the apartment block opposite mine. I waited as others returned from their day jobs, a routine I used to enjoy watching from my window. There was only one thing I was interested in and that wasn’t due to start until much later in the night.

My one reprieve came when I heard talking outside my door. I snapped back to life when I recognised the voice. Jenny had returned from work, on time. I went to the door and winced to see through the spyhole. She was just on the other side of my door, so close that I could feel my cheeks redden and become flush.

Jenny was chatting away freely to someone on her mobile phone. She still wore her waitress’ outfit, the disgusting yellowy brown one with the white apron. Her hair looked a mess. She kept it in a tight bun during work hours, so by the time she got home it was starting to unravel.

“Yeah, I should be there around nine,” she said. “No, I’ll get changed and sneak out. He’ll never know…”

Who was she talking to? I pondered that with trepidation. Her other half wouldn’t be happy to hear what she was saying. Sneaking out on him was a risky thing to do, especially considering the temper he had.

“Okay, hon. See you soon.” Jenny closed her phone and sighed so loud and with such force that I could swear I felt her breath through the spyhole. She then entered her apartment and disappeared from view.

I checked my watch; it was eight-fifteen. It was a relief to know that Jenny would be elsewhere when I faced off against my enemy. It could say what it wanted, could use Jenny’s voice until it was red in the face and I wouldn’t care. She would be safe while I chopped the fucker into tiny pieces and wrapped its corpse in black bags. The bin-men could deal with its remains for all I cared.

As with any plan, it didn’t go right. By nine I started to worry. Jenny hadn’t left yet. She was supposed to have met her mystery friend by then. What was going on? I was certain things were going against me again, but I couldn’t yet see how.

Sitting facing the blank TV screen, the same carving knife from the night before in my hands, I considered my options. Waiting no longer seemed the best way to go, I had to summon the thing myself this time. I worried it had followed up on its threat of before, to hurt Jenny. I wasn’t going to let it do that.

There was only one way I could think of to draw out the evil once again. I approached the bedroom door, the place it had appeared the first time. That room was a desecrated piece of land to me now, but I had to see inside still. I would never use it again after what had stood over my bed. I’d burn it down and start over again before I did that.

The door knob made my hand itch, the sensation of touching it again like an allergic reaction to my skin. I persisted despite the discomfort and twisted until the lock clicked open. The door popped inwards. I paused before pushing it the rest of the way, conscious of how badly this had gone the last time.

With one shove, I forced the door aside and stood strong, ready to fend off an attack with my knife swinging fast in front of me. I kept my eyes closed in case the light blinded me into submission again. Thankfully, none of it came. The room was empty, the window was shut and not a single living thing existed in there but me.

Wasn’t that a good sign? I knew the thing would return, it was just a matter of time. My summoning had ended the moment I’d entered the bedroom and nothing had happened. Surely that was all it required of me, to see me showing an interest rather than plain trouser-soiling fear?

“Well, I’m here,” I said to the empty room.

“Over here, Daniel.” The reply made my neck hairs stand on end. I swore it was right behind me.

With the knife, I slashed and swung as I turned, determined to take the creature by surprise. All I hit was clear air behind me. It was playing tricks on me again.

“Come here, come to the window, Daniel.”

What the fuck are you playing at, Daniel? Get the hell out of there.

Again, the creature spoke. “We want to show you something.”

I opened the curtains in the lounge all the way, for the first time in years, and looked out onto an empty street. It was quiet, as it always was in the evenings. Everyone went about their business as normal. The only one not following the same routine was me, searching for an evil entity out my window.

“Over here.”

Following the voice–not Jenny’s this time, thankfully–my eyes soon fell upon a shadow moving up the side of the building. I jumped away as its face entered the light, with those black pits for eyes reflecting nothing. The thing was climbing right up the building toward my window. When it reached my floor it almost blocked out the streetlamp nearby. It straddled my window using its four stick-limbs to anchor it to the concrete.

“A knife? Really, Daniel.” I could see its lips moving, but they were unformed things, like clay shapes too wet to be sustained.

“This ends tonight,” I mumbled in a low tone.

“Oh, it does, does it, Daniel?” The creature pressed its face up against the glass and ogled my room. Its voice then became a deep groan. “It ends when we fucking say it does.” A split second later it had moved to the right and now held on to the wall by one arm. How it had moved so suddenly, I’ll never be able to say; it was just in one position one minute, and then it was somewhere else. “There’s still so much fun to have. Is Jenny in?”

I stormed toward the window and slammed my fist into it. “You leave her alone. I’m warning you.”

“You’re full of shit, Daniel. We can do what we like with her and you’d never do a thing.”

“I will, I’ll stop you.”

“How? You can’t even step foot outside your front door. You’re pathetic.”

Once again, the creature changed its position in a flash of movement. It was edging closer to Jenny’s window next door and all I could do was watch.

“Please, if you want me, fine, but don’t touch Jenny.”

The thing stared at me for a few seconds before answering. “No. We’re bored of you, Daniel. I wonder what she’ll taste like.”

And with that the creature was gone, vanished as I watched on helplessly. The next sound I heard tore my insides to shreds.

“No, no, don’t hurt me, please.” Jenny’s voice was strained, like someone had her by the throat and was starting to squeeze ever so slightly. “I … I didn’t mean it.”

What could I do? I wasn’t the superhero I often dreamt I was. I was pathetic, just like the creature said I was. There was nothing I could do or say to stop it. The world outside my small apartment was full of hidden dangers that scared the life out of me. Stepping over the threshold and into the hallway felt to me like I was jumping into a void of incalculable size. I knew for sure I’d die if I stayed out there for too long.

I dropped to my knees with the first painful strike on the other side of the wall, as Jenny’s body was thrown against it. My eyes streamed with angered and frustrated tears. They were rancid tears too, full of bile and hatred towards an unknown evil. I had become only a container for thoughts so dark that they were spilling out of me like an overflowing sink. I was about to burst with the pressure.

“Stop. I can’t … I … can’t … breath…” Jenny’s cries were becoming quieter with every second. The life was being squeezed out of her body with each breath she missed. I could hear her trying to gasp, could feel the same breathlessness in my own chest.

You’ve got to try something, I told myself; as if it could ever be that easy.

Through the walls I heard a cackle of a laugh. Was the thing enjoying killing Jenny, or was it just to torture me? I found the question a hard one to answer. There was no reason for any of it to be happening. Yet I was the focus of this evil. Poor Jenny had enough to deal with, what with her abusive husband hitting her every chance he got. She didn’t deserve any of it.

Which reminded me; where was Jenny’s husband? Surely, he was there with her and would stop the creature’s brutal attack? Then again, he was a bastard to her, so maybe he was standing there watching it happen, with the same glee on his face too. Maybe he would bury the body afterwards, to save the creature the bother. Were the two in collusion all along?

The paranoia was suffocating me slowly as I knelt and sobbed. I knew I had to do something. Except, what was there to do? Call the police? No, by the time they got there Jenny would already be dead. Besides, what would I tell them? They would never believe me.

I stopped and straightened up when everything went quiet. The fear that the creature had already killed Jenny then took over. Had I left it too long to do something?

That’s when I heard slapping footsteps heading toward the front door of Jenny’s apartment, followed by a loud scream. Jenny had broken free somehow and was running for the exit, to escape the evil finally. She made it most of the way before I heard the tapping of the creature’s lanky limbs on the wooden floor as it chased after her.

Without thinking, I leapt to my feet and raced to my own door, the knife gripped tightly in my hand. I took the handle and threw the door open. The hallway greeted me like a spike in the side of my head. My cranium throbbed and the world spun all around me.

I’d barely stuck my foot an inch out the door before everything seemed to turn on me. The lights glared at me, their buzzing like a demented laugh. The garish, flowery wallpaper’s colours melted into and floated over each other. Worst of all, the floor appeared to be moving away from me.

Another scream caught my attention and forced me to take a step into the hallway. Even with the knowledge that the floor could not be alive and trying to avoid my feet, I couldn’t see anything different. The evil had seeped, no infected, other parts of the building, not just my room. It was breaking down the very structure of my own reality and I could see it happening. What would remain after the infection had taken over was nothing more than the dead, rotting flesh of a corpse. I could feel it happening inside me already.

There was only one way it was going to end now; the evil had won and all that was left was to lie down and let it roll over me. I’d put up as much of a fight as I could and it had still won in the end.

A door slammed. I turned to my left and saw Jenny, covered in dark bruises and bleeding from her nose, running down the corridor. Her clothing was ripped and most of her bra was showing. She was dressed to impress, by the looks of her sparkly dress–one now in pieces. The creature had done a number on her though, leaving her a hysterical mess.

When she reached the fire escape she pushed and shoved as hard a she could to open it, but it wouldn’t budge. She then turned to bashing on the doors of other apartments. No one answered. They were either too scared to answer, or just not in. Only I was there, with my door wide open and my mouth agape at the sight of her distress.

Her eyes fell on mine just as the creature emerged from her apartment. It extended one leg out through the door first, then followed with an arm, to pull itself the rest of the way. The head appeared before the second half of its body, moving about the ceiling on its knuckled neck without much concern for what the rest of it was doing.

It turned to face me, smiled, then slowly walked over to Jenny. Her eyes were wide and her hands were raised out in front of her.

“I’m sorry,” she said. Why apologise to the thing? I thought. She went on, though. “I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that, I’m sorry, please.”

The creature swung its long right arm and slapped Jenny across the face. It then took her by the throat and held her against the wall. Drawing as close to her as possible, the thing just watched as her face became red, then purple, and her eyes bulged.

I’d seen all I could stand. While the light in Jenny’s eyes slowly faded, like a sunset over a massacre, I raised my knife and ran forward. I didn’t aim, I just ran, straight into the back of the creature. The knife dug in deep, so I twisted and withdrew, before repeating. My momentum had pushed the knife in all the way up to the handle. My hands were once again covered in blood–red blood.

“Mother fucker!” the creature roared. Its head snaked its way around Jenny so it could face me directly. “Daniel, what have you done?”

Ignoring the voice–my voice this time–I thrust the knife in again, and again, and again. I kept on going all while the thing screamed in agony and threw punch after punch into my body. I didn’t stop stabbing even when Jenny begged me to. All I saw was the evil shrinking in front of me, bit by bit. With each new bloody hole I made in the things torso, I felt it leaving this world and returning to the one it belonged to.

Blood gushed as I severed an artery, spraying my face and upper body in warm fluid. Nothing was going to stop my attack until every drop had left the fucker’s veins–if it even had such things inside its vile body.

But a hand on my shoulder stopped me mid-stab, with the knife hovering above my head. The blood dripped from my chin in thick strands of sticky liquid as I turned slowly to look into Jenny’s shocked face. For some reason, she appeared to be full of sorrow.

“He’s dead, you can stop now,” she said.

I didn’t understand her at first. It took me a while to realise she wanted me to stop. My arm still felt the need to plummet the knife into the creature’s flesh. She had a power over me that overwhelmed any other.

Soon, all I could think were peaceful thoughts. She’d flicked the switch inside my head and turned off the murderous side entirely. All I could do was stare into her eyes. The crimson hand mark around her throat caught the light. I dare not look at it, in case it ignited the anger again.

She fell back, landing hard on her backside, and cried. The creature’s body kept her attention. She seemed unable to look away, or to look at me.

Long lines of blood ran up the surrounding wall, making patterns with the flower wallpaper. I followed each line as we sat in silence. I enjoyed studying them and seeing how they had turned into something so pretty. My artwork was crude, but effective. I’d turned the creature inside out and painted its essence all over the place. My art installation was for everyone to see too.

After a long enough amount of time that I’d become completely lost to the bloody patterns, blue flashing lights appeared through the window of the emergency exit ahead of me. Still I couldn’t take my eyes off the designs I’d somehow made with the creature’s blood. I had no idea if Jenny was there with me or not, I’d lost track of her too.

The police had arrived, and now it was up to me to explain what had been going on. I told them about the first night I saw the creature, when Jenny and her husband had been arguing; I told them about my fight with it, and I told them how I’d finally killed it with my kitchen knife. I gave them the truth and let them do with it what they wanted.

But I knew I was right. After all, the creature’s body was there for them all to find.

It still didn’t stop them looking at me oddly, though. Even Jenny did now. When I saw her eyes move away as I looked at her, my mind flipped over like a capsized boat. They had to have believed me. Couldn’t they see the damn thing’s corpse there, right in front of them?

 

 

THE END