I wait and wait and wait.
It’s been a running
joke in my
head. I keep asking myself: Is it morning yet?
There aren’t any working
here. I use my mental Timex to judge that time froze for me around five or six
o’clock. The sky beyond the dusty window remains a turgid black seeping into
gray. I remember looking at Melanie’s watch, the only thing she had been
wearing at the time under the sheets of that huge worn-out bed.
I can’t think about
Or what she had become. It just scares me cold. I’m already cold enough. The
old house is fucking freezing. The former proprietor of this house, long since
dead, left lots of firewood by the fireplace and stacks of yellowed newspapers
to burn. Try as I might, no matter how thick I get the flames in that sooty old
fireplace, I cannot get warm.
I sit in silence and freeze.
And wait. I wait for a morning
that will never come.
I try to imagine that Melanie
just asleep in that huge musty smelling bedroom upstairs. But then I remember
her face right after she was kissed by the sandpaper person: her gray
complexion, her saucer eyes and wide angular smile, the kind of smile unnatural
to a human face.
That’s what I call
sandpaper people. You can’t see them if you try to look at them directly.
Melanie and I had been seeing them all night, in the corner of our eyes.
Mostly, we would hear them. They walk with dry, papery movements. Scritch,
scritch, scritch. If you turn around in their direction, the sound goes away.
Sure, we should have left
then. But what would Steve, Adam, and Jessy say? They’d be pissed and say we
ditched them. We all knew the house was supposedly haunted. That’s why we chose
to meet up here. Jessy found out about this house on some internet website. Scary
shit happened here at one time.
I’m so cold. Who the
hell am I
talking to anyway? Sitting alone in the endless night, I assume that my friends
are dead; Steve, Adam and Jessy didn’t make it down that long snaky driveway to
the house. They are now sandpaper people going scritch, scritch, scritch,
through the woods outside.
Everything is dry. The air
dry, my bare feet feel dry, and my throat is so very dry. I sit immobile as if
frozen into stone, kneeling on that hard wooden floor, trying to decode the message
in the flames. Maybe they can tell me what I am supposed to be waiting for.
Then, Melanie’s parchment
fingers slip over mine which is tightly clutching the fire poker. I wonder how
I didn’t hear her. It doesn’t matter now anyway. It doesn’t looks like a hand.
It looks like a bunch of sticks and feels rough like tree bark. When her lips
pass over mine, new level of cold overtakes me.
I feel my heart stop.
Morning finally arrives,
sunlight spreads through the house like fog. The front door bangs open.
Laughter pours in. Steve says, “Yoo hoo? Anybody home?” Jessy is giddy,
laughing and babbling away.
They are coming in my direction.
I glide towards the door. I feel like I’m floating. My body goes scritch,
I raise the fire poker over
M.G. Allen has been
published in Yellow Mama twice. His work has also been published in Mysterical E, Dark Moon Digest, and the now-defunct Flashes in the Dark.