First published in Monsters Next Door e-zine, 2008
If you ever saw me I’d be nothing more than a shadow in your periphery vision—a shape you believe is there, but always gone when you turn to look. It’s not you I covet, however.
I seek your sons and your daughters: the future of pain and deprivation.
I’m always watching your children.
This house radiates suffering and the feeling grows stronger the closer I get. Blown by a summer breeze, distress has been easy to detect and I’ve followed the trail of anguish with as much precision as a shark smelling molecules of blood in an expansive ocean.
I flow over the house, the warmth from within its walls seeping into me as I roll along the wooden façade. The heat of misery is prevalent, and the window frame of the room almost burns my pliable outline as I slink through its yawning gap.
Entering is easy in the summer months, as hot evenings force people to open windows in the hope night’s cooling breath will pant a comforting rhythm.
There’s nothing comforting about this house.
I have to be swift; extreme dreams such as this do not last a night time.
Cluttered with toys, the bedroom sizzles with supercharged energy. Nightmares are a stimulating experience. It excites me, pleasure tingling like an electrified outer skin.
A night light is plugged into a nearby socket, its dull luminescence laying a sombre sheen across a boy’s face. He’s about six years old. The boy is sweating, thin pyjamas clinging wetly to his body, head shaking from side to side. Sheets trail to the floor from a dishevelled bed.
I flow closer to him.
A subtle moan escapes his lips as he mumbles something incoherent.
I will never die but the suspense is killing me.
Bulging at the middle, a part of me reaches out to touch the boy gently upon his forehead, and I glimpse his future.
I see the boy, only as a man—as he will become. Naked, he sits in a darkened room, his body illuminated by sporadic light from a television. The screams of a movie bellow from the set. A knife on the arm of the chair reflects light in erratic flashes. A girl at his feet is also naked, her bruised body decorated with lacerations. Terrified, she’s alive, and the man’s—the boy’s—foot pushes against her head and forces her to watch the screen. His previous victims are behind him, in the room’s shadows: just spectres and apparitions, their pallid forms shimmering with television glare, yet despair and loneliness is plain to see on their ethereal faces. An upsurge of violence screams from the set. With a growing erection the man stands and plunges his knife into the helpless girl.
My hold over the boy is almost broken. I force myself to stay with him; I need his suffering, living through fear. A shiver of ecstasy ripples my essence.
The man sits, leans forward, and forces his left arm through the hole he’s made in the girl’s body. I can’t see his hand, but by the way his muscles move I know he’s massaging her heart—squeezing and pumping it, keeping her alive as he slides the blade into her flesh. He twists the knife as he smiles.
Reflected in the dark pools of his insensitive eyes, television images reveal a previous victim, her body torn, the blade twisting, his hand massaging. The girl beneath his foot is forced to watch what he has done to others, as he does the same to her.
The boy thrashes in his sleep, and the dream is gone. If I could breathe then I would be panting with exhaustion.
He lies motionless, at peace now that his dream has left. The boy has the innocent face of a sleeping angel: the mask of a murderer.
Invigorated by his torment, I slip out of the same window through which I entered but expectation comes with me.
I cannot influence the boy, or change a path already set. I can visit him however, on summer nights when the windows are open and feed him the dream, over and over, to keep his destination focused.
You can hope and pray that only the best will befall your offspring, but do you really know what your children will become?