(Originally posted November 15, 2014)
Two flash fictions this week?
Is this some kind of crazy dream?
But even if it is, I invite you to enjoy it.
With a story called:
The Monster at the End of the Hallway
There is a monster at the end of the hallway. I turned on the light and behold he was there. The fact that I had not noticed him ’til now was, to be frank, baffling. The wood in my house should have given me warning, nothing that large could have walked that silently.
Despite my shock at seeing it, I was not unfamiliar with this creature. It was not the first time I had encountered it. It haunted me, followed me, and mocked me; showing up in the worst places, ruining dates. Visits with my children. It did not care what I was doing, or if it was my week to see them. It always showed up. Not always at the end of my hallway, mind you. It crept and crawled into the most improbable places.
No one else could see him, no one heard him. Or, saw what he did. It was perhaps best that way. What others would think of him… I don’t dare think of. Or, what they would think of me for having him around.
He was, and I promise this is being kind, the ugliest creature I have ever had the displeasure to look upon. His mouth was too wide, his feet too narrow. He looked like a man, but did not look human. His clothing was always filth encrusted. Whatever bodily fluid you would care to name had a place on his shirt, and his mangy jacket. His long, mud-caked pants ripped along the knee and shin; his coarse black hair underneath actively poking through.
But, that was not the ugliest part of him. No, that honor belonged to his hands. They resembled a fly in both motion and surface. They were like gorilla paws, rubbing back and forth; fingers over knuckles, and back again. Occasionally, he would pick up his knife and twirl it around, running it against his palm, and taking a long, entirely unsanitary, lick of its spoils.
When we met, and sadly that occurrence had escalated as of late, we would often have stare-offs like this. His hands it seemed moved independently of the rest of him, so despite the angry glares both of use shot, the fingers still spun. Often, this would only go on a few minutes, and then he would leave. Disappear like a nightmare upon waking, and leave me disgusted.
But today, it seemed he was in no hurry.
This continued contact forms bile in my throat, and I decide to share it with him; working the liquid around in my mouth. He does not seem to notice, or at least care. His glare is unblinking and angry.
What could he possibly be sore about? I didn’t ruin his life. I didn’t ruin his marriage. His kids did not get taken away from him. He was not alone with him.
The ball of liquid sails through the air, and hits him in the chest. It splatters, and slides down, slowly. He does not care, does not flinch. He is too filthy to care. What’s another layer of slime? What is, to a creature like that, another caking of filth?
The stare holds. He does not blink, not once, never. His eyes stay open as if they were stapled to the back of his skull. He once followed me through an entire dinner, staring at me from a fun house mirror. That trip latest almost two hours, yet even with the shrieks of children, and the sounds of the ticket-fed games, he still held that gaze.
Another spit, and then another. If rage can be purged, then I will keep going ‘til every last drop is gone. My mouth goes dry and I stand gasping. He still seems perfectly content. His shoulder moves a bit, a tremor. Like a chuckle that he is holding back, but with no mirth, His stomach rises up and down with deep compresses of air. If I was closer, I’m sure it would have the stench of tooth decay.
The words came from deep within my chest, and burn as they bubble up and through.“LEAVE ME ALONE,” I scream at him, my hands ball up, the knife’s handle pressed up against my palm. The cuts on my hand start to sting, and my blood drips down unto my narrow shoes.
All he does is stare.
My arm stretches back, my muscles tighten up. A pitcher’s stance, followed by a shoulder dislocating throw. The knife soars through the air; the blade spinning end-over-end, catching the light, reflecting it around the room.
It impacts, and broken glass rains down on my carpet.
Leaving me, here, alone.