It Sleeps


by L. P. Stribling

Under a little known bridge somewhere in the hinterlands of the city,

Safe from the cloud of sound created by barges, klaxons, and steel,

Out where farmers are want to let the children roam free in the wild,

It sleeps.

 

By day it sleeps, slumbering to the rhythm drone of the working day,

It’s hunger on a timed cycle, the acids of its stomach race as the sun dips past noon.

And just as the moon yawns from above a midnight horizon,

It sleeps no more.

 

There in the gasping dullness of cool 1 a.m. breeze,

It walks, guided by its carnal clock. It hunts.

It sleeps no more.

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Night Lights


It’s been quite some time since I felt uneasy, in an odd, frightful sort of way. Legitimately unnerved. This morning was when that happened.

We have to put it into perspective, of course. I’m not talking about me feeling completely petrified. Nothing like that. This was more a feeling of just uneasiness and lack-of-knowledge, something which I couldn’t at the time rationally put my finger on, and thereby created a sense of strangeness inside me. Freaky – that’s the word.

I woke up relatively early. The sun hadn’t yet risen and so my bedroom was still dark. Kerrie was still fast asleep beside me, and I decided to go to the bathroom and start getting ready for the day.

When I walked around the bed and turned down the hallway, I saw light coming from underneath the bedroom door. To give you some sort of idea of the set-up of the house, our bedroom is all the way at one end of the house, leaving only one doorway between us and the house proper.

My first reaction was, Great, one of the guys left the light on before they went to bed last night. Still, another voice inside me thought, Hmm, that’s odd. Odd in a way that distanced itself from human reasoning. Again, I had just woken up and my mind was not sure what to make of it.

I opened the door, resolving to nip the matter in the bud. The main living area of the house was illuminated, but, from my vantage point, I could see only down the hallway. I walked to the end of the hallway, where there was access to the light switch and cut the lights. The house went dark again and I waited, expecting to hear voices of displeasure (if it really was one of the students up doing whatever they weren’t supposed to at that hour).

There was nothing.

I waited a few more moments, chalked it up to forgetfulness on someone’s part from the previous night and began walking back down the hallway to return to the bedroom.

Two heavy thumps from upstairs. I stop.

            Hmm, I think. Strange.

I shake it off, close the door again to the bedroom, and walk back to the bed. Kerrie’s still asleep and I’m clearing my head to figure out how I want the day to proceed. Oh yeah, shower. I head back to the bathroom and stop again when I’m in view of the bedroom door. The light is on again in the house.

That’s weird.

Okay, cool. Let’s just take a trip back to childhood when we got to challenge the ghosts under our bed and in our closet. I walk to the door, open it, walk out to the middle of the house and check out what’s really causing this.

Staircase. I go up.

At the top of the landing, I see one of my “kiddos” hanging out doing his homework. All phantasmagoria dissipates.

“Hi Levi,” he says, arching backwards over the arm of the small couch waving awkwardly.

“Hi Adam,” I say with a sigh as I turn back downstairs.

So that was it, at least as far as I can tell. That was the haunting of my house. Humans – big and small. There’s not much else to it.

I can deal with that. I mean, I’ve been training myself to not be afraid of the dark for all the years since I was, I dunno, eight-ish. I can get over the rest. All these guys have to do is turn out the lights.

Marla


 

 

Marla in the mirror

Marla awoke at 3:01 Tuesday morning. One minute early. She rolled onto her side and sat up in the dark. The subdued glow of the moon snuck past the window panes of her room and lightly kissed the hardwood floors beneath her bare feet. Her eyes were still a hazy kind of closed and yet she could still feel that light. She smiled knowing that it was her feet that walked first in the night’s light. She turned back to the body lying on its side under the covers behind her. Lazy worm. The thought ran across her mind and flashed away, as if it never were.

It was time, though. One didn’t wake and rise after midnight without the call.

She stood and walked a few short steps down the moonlit hallway and around the corner, feeling her way into the newly tiled bathroom. The his-and-hers vanity mirrors pulled her toward them. In her trance, she found her own reflection in the looking glass; the moon still caressing her eyes from the windows at the room’s rear to show her what she needed.

The eyes staring back at her were red and pink, filling hollows in a pus-ridden sea of green and dappled grey. The smile in the reflection held a fence – white-picketed with razors, each with its own murky stew of mold and filth.

Marla, it said. Razor smile stiff, waiting. Its voice was deep and dull, and loud. A hive of bees rattled awake mid-slumber. Loud enough for five Marlas to hear at all times, in all places. It was this loudness that called her; it had been calling her since long before.

“Marla”, she whispered back. Marla.

I thirst, it said.

“And you must feed,” Marla answered, voice quiet and dragging.

Ah, my pretty, pretty girl. And what would you have for me?

            “..pretty girl,” Marla’s lips mimicked the words with an unfeeling smile. “I have what the Master commands.” Her body stood tall, yet seemed to be held erect by a force unseen. Her torso shifted slightly, regaining balance when the body began to tip . “I will have always what the Master commands,” she said. Her eyes peered into glass through a glazed screen of ‘dead-to-the-world.’

Yes. Good, it said. What the Master commands. And does my pretty know what the Master commands?

            “Something warm, something red, and something with rhythm,” Marla uttered in an eerie memorized whisper. “Something warm, something red, and something with rhythm…with rhythm.”

Ahh, the wicked fangs released a sigh of contentment, the cold blue lips on the other side creeping up the sallowing walls of the decaying fangs. The rhythm. Such an important matter. Yes, good. Something with rhythm.

On the other side of the mirror, the sickly smile remained on the girl’s face in a reworking of mouth and skin. Her ghoulish eyes were unblinking, and traversed the glass, still holding lock upon Marla’s own eyes, half-lowered as they were when she had entered.

From somewhere above in the dark, as if in the flawless workings of a silent marionette, the thing’s arms raised at the wrist until they were directly out in front of it. The palms flashed outward, toward Marla’s world, revealing their unearthly truths in the foggy vision of the room’s light.

Beneath the open surface of one palm, an eye, thick and beastly, grabbed at Marla’s image across time, space, and dimension. The other palm cracked wide with its own set of teeth, worn rough and brown from aeons of consumption of bone, flesh and lies. The teeth grinded with slow, purposeful passes as the mouth inhaled and exhaled its own fetid expulsions upon the glass of its world.

It’s time, Marla, the mouth spoke from the hand, the voice was the same strident buzz that came out of the girl, whose head was now down behind the two extended hands. Cracks of lightening broke around the girl, a storm in the world beyond the glass. And through it, the buzz of the voice was as clear as water. Bring it here, Marla. Bring your Master his due.

The scene closed in a thunderous clap of silence, and Marla again stared into a replica of her own world. Turning from the mirror, she walked out of the bathroom, leaving the cushion of the moonlight again, and disappeared down the hallway, away from the bedroom and into the darkness of her midnight house.

 

She stood there and waited for the worm of his form to shift and turn. The silver of her blade was a fleeting glint in the midnight sun when she brought it down into his chest from above her.

The worm writhed and spun, spewing rosy guttural pleas into the air. What came from him was a song, a song to celebrate the Master. Marla knew this. In one bare hand, she held a clawed grip on the worm’s cheek, the other, now becoming wet and thick with the worm’s gift as, again, faster, she brought down into him. What she held in her hand was no longer silver.

While the droplets of him sprayed, fell, and colored her, Marla’s eyes remained half-gazed on her work.

“The Master must feed,” she said, each syllable lending tone to her carving. She knew he could not hear her words. The worm was too concerned with his own selfish keep. “The Master must feed,” she said again, louder.

And with three final plunges into the warm puddle of the worm’s now still shell, her voice thundered in a sonorous inhuman buzz.

WARM! RED! RHYTHM! It yelled. THE MASTER WILL FEED!

 

Marla released her grip on the worm’s sticky scarlet face and left the muddied hilt of her tool visible above its buried lower half. She dipped both hands into the body’s warmth and, with several rips and tears, removed the warm rhythmic bundle of him. Still pulsing beneath her half-shut eyes, she dismounted her hunt, and walked again with dutiful step to her place behind the vanity mirrors.

The glow of the moon behind her was lower now, softer, weaker. And the girl beyond the glass doors licked her own cold lips through the yellow muck of her angled fangs.

Yes, my pretty girl. Yes, you’ve done well. Now, Marla, give the Master his lamb, a flailing tongue followed, tickled was the daemon at its prize.

Marla, of course, obeyed, looking down at the warm now slow-beating prize she held. She watched the drips of it fall from her underturned knuckles in to the darkening pink pool of the once white basin in front of her. She watched the droplets run down her downy skin, and Marla’s smile was unfeeling.

The girl beyond the glass growled a deep victorious growl, and the Master fed.

 

 

 

*thanks to IrishxoxQueen for use of the photo

Jay-Z at midnight


Image

 

Yes – this is what I’m doing right now. What in the world is going on in my life? I’m scanning iTunes to see which songs Kerrie and I have….

…and we just bought an entire album. So, that’s that.

So, now the only thing that’s on my mind is who gon’ run this town tonight.

Jesus – it’s bed time.