By Adam Dixon
I can’t turn on the light. I just can’t. I simply cannot risk seeing it again. Everyone knows that they can’t get you if you don’t see them. I’ll wash my hands in the dark, that way I won’t have to look. She’s taken down the bin liner I taped over it this afternoon; next time I’ll use nails. She doesn’t understand, but how can she? I mean, why should a grown man have such an irrational, crippling fear? It doesn’t make sense. She hasn’t seen it, but I have. I know it’s there.
I step into the bathroom slowly, my bare feet losing warmth to the cold tiles. Three steps and I’m at the toilet. My business is shortly concluded, I flush and move towards the sink. My eyes are lowered. I know she’s taken it down, and I hate her for it. It is my only protection. I turn on the taps with shaking hands, the thrill of dread running up my spine. I keep my head down, concentrating. I’ve nearly caught myself looking a few time before, almost seeing something in the corner of my eye… I will not look up! Warm water and lavender-scented suds calm me somewhat, but my shoulder-blades itch. I know it is there. But I won’t look up. I won’t…
A cat screeches into the twilight on the street somewhere. Startled, I look up.
It’s there! I’ve looked into the mirror and I can see it behind me! My wide eyes are pale moons in the glass, and over my shoulder stands the shadowy figure of my nightmares. It is tall and its eyes are a match for mine. Its grin is rictus, its outstretched hand a claw. I open my mouth to scream, to wake her up. She’s only across the hallway! But it’s too late. The claw pierces my shoulder and the darkness swallows me.