Eyes gaze at me longingly from between the wooden panels of the attics northern wall. I ignore them and continue folding the laundry. It's eyes follow my hands as I stack towels inside a worn brown basket on top of the washing machine. I've lived here alone since my parents died last year and I inherited my childhood home. The eyes, I think, are only a recent occurrence. The truth is, they could have been here the whole time, I just didn't notice them until recently. My head wants to say that it's only a creative response to living alone, but It feels different.
As I descend the stairs the thing moves along the wall, getting a better view. Before I take the last step I stare right back at it. Two empty points seemingly floating in the blackness. I'm not afraid, my parents are dead, and I'm not afraid. A low growl bites the warm, wet air in front of me. I sneer right back. Whatever you are, I'm not afraid.
When I sleep the creature worms it's way into my dreams, but it can't hurt me. It's not like Freddy Kruger, for all I know it's just afraid and fighting to be heard. Maybe I'm doing the same thing. Tonight I'm suspended in the air by some invisible force around my legs. Below me is the ocean stretching out for eternity in every direction. Out of the water a pale, dead face, the size of a whale, erupts from the waves to swallow me. Right before it's cracked lips close I recognize the face as my father. When I wake up, I calmly go downstairs to the kitchen and make a cup of coffee. I guess you could say that it's all becoming routine.
I take sips of the warm, caramel liquid and let it warm my throat. Somethings not right, the flavor is a little off. When I look inside the cup, the light brown color of the creamer is being swallowed up by a dark circle. When I put my finger into the cup, it's cold as ice. My finger is covered in a thick layer of blood; something is breathing into my ear. In the reflection of my chrome mug I see a distorted face covered in scars, but I'm not afraid.
So the bad news is that Tor didn't accept my short story, but it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I've read that the life of a writer is filled with disappointment, I'm just now finding it out first hand. Hopefully, with a little research, some of the ideas that I'm posting on this blog will become something in time. The above piece is part of a series that I keep coming back to about dark things in dark places. Shadows in the dark. It's funny because I don't believe in ghosts, which makes it even more terrifying for me to imagine something skulking around in places where I assume nothing exists.