Monday, November 14, 2011
Empty House by Lucas Olson
Mark woke up in the dark, reeling from a hazy dream. To him it felt like an unnatural, uncomfortable darkness, as if his eyes had refused to adjust. But that didn't make any sense, because he could see everything in his room. Actually, there was light leaking in through the crack of his door. Stumbling his way out of bed and into the hallway, he came into the bathroom. He tried to remember leaving the light on, but that thought trailed away from him. He simply wanted to go back to sleep. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream, he thought, and he flicked off the light.
Mark woke up in the dark, reeling from a hazy dream. Finding the bathroom light flooding into the hallway, he got out of bed and turned it off. As soon as the light was off, Mark was left in the same blind darkness he'd woken in. He rubbed his eyes, giving them a few moments to readjust, when he looked up he saw something written in condensation on the mirror. Yet Another Walker in the Darkness, it said, in rough, uneven strokes, as if by an urgent finger. It occurred to him that he really shouldn't be able to read anything in this sort of darkness. And that there was no reason for there to be any sort of mist on the mirror, unless someone had been breathing on it. In that moment, Mark was keenly aware of his own discomfort. Of the standing hairs on his neck. Of his tightening muscles. He was quickly overtaken with the idea that if he could grab a flashlight it would be okay. It would be okay. But the flashlight was downstairs. Then he'd go downstairs, he thought. He moved hastily out into the hall, and wrapped his fingers tightly around the bannister, urging his feet to move forward.
Mark woke up in the dark, reeling from a hazy dream. He got up to turn off the bathroom light, and found discomforting words written in the dark on his mirror. He felt a pull to get his flashlight, and rushed to push himself down the stairs. Moving as swiftly as he could down the wooden stairway, he was overwhelmed with a sudden thought: Eyes Front. He'd be alright if he kept looking forward. If he just kept his eyes facing front wherever he looked, he could make it to his flashlight. Just, don't look in the periphery, he thought, don't turn around. Eyes Front. Do not think about what might be behind you, or around you, or above you, or below you. Eyes Front. He just needed to keep his eyes ahead of him, and get to the flashlight in the second drawer below the cupboard. The big metal Mag-Light flashlight with the rubber grip. Eyes Front. He moved over the linoleum of the kitchen. The cold floor made his back shiver for a moment. At least he thought it was the floor. He hoped it was the floor. He made it to the drawer, and urgently yanked it open. Too urgently, as the drawer fell out and its contents spilled across the linoleum floor. He swore, and clamored over the mess, feeling for the flashlight. He let out a relieved breath when he found it, and let his eyes wander again. In the periphery, out behind him, he caught a shadow flick away from the base of the stairs, into the living room. His breath caught in his throat for a moment. That had been foolish. Eyes Front. He thumbed for the button on the flashlight. He was suddenly taken with the idea of leaving the house. Yes, he thought, get out of the house. The flashlight came on, splashing light against his back door. He moved to follow it, and clutched the doorknob.
Mark woke up in the dark, reeling from a hazy dream. He got up to turn off the bathroom light, and found writing on his mirror. He rushed to get his flashlight, keeping his eyes from noticing too much. He got his flashlight, but his vision betrayed him. He was moving quickly out of his house now. The flashlight was making deep shadows as it washed over the copse of trees in the rear of his yard. There was a term for that sort of thing, when it was used in art. It seemed to escape him, but the word Chiaroscuro came to him after a few moments, as if coming in through a back door. He couldn't think about that though. He had to focus now. Keep the light on. Eyes front. Get away from the house. He couldn't take the car, the keys were back inside. He'd move around the house then, following the long dirt driveway. The road was out there somewhere, behind the trees. He moved with the same urgency as before, keeping the light in front of him. But the light only made the darks seem darker. And twice he swept over a pair of glowing orbs, leering out from the edge of the lawn. The trees rustled above him as he moved. At first he thought it was the wind, he hoped it was the wind, but it was only one tree at a time. Worse than that, every now and then he would hear something behind him. Noises. Organic noises. Breathing and moving and pulsing and living and stalking. He ran now. He gave up on just an urgent pace. He ran. That seemed to be a mistake though. It was harder to keep the light focused. To keep his eyes front. He caught edges of shade and tips of shadows. Still he kept moving. Then he tripped, falling forward into the dirt of the drive. He kept his eyes closed. At least this darkness was his own. He had wanted to get back to sleep anyway.
Mark woke up in the dark, reeling from a hazy dream. The darkness seemed impenetrable, except for the light from the hallway dripping under his bedroom door. The words left his mouth before he knew what he was saying. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream Again.
Posted by Unknown at 11:21 AM