Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Thing by the Window

          Randal thought it queer when he awakened before the light of dawn had begun to light the eastern sky. He was usually a sound sleeper, whose silent, death-like state carried him into the mid to late morning; yet here he was- lying awake staring listlessly at the ceiling fan that stirred in such a manner as if to suggest that it had been on at some point during the night. He allowed his eyes to rove over the twilit room, taking in the familiar trappings of his personal sanctum- the bedside table with the old lamp that his mother had given him as a housewarming present, the crowded bureau where his personal effects lay scattered about in their usual disheveled manner, the rickety old chair he had bought from the Derry’s estate sale two years ago, and even the paneled closet door which perpetually stood ajar as the old house had settled in such contortions that it would no longer close without a tremendous force of effort.

          Without knowing why, a dreadful shudder ran through his prone form as if some foul, foreign presence had invaded his sanctuary, befouling it with a sense of wrongness that offended the very laws of nature. It was at that moment that he became aware of the shadow by the window.

          Randal held his breath as he gazed upon the mere thing, wondering, hoping it to be some trick of the light filtering in through the curtains. It became clear to him that as his vision began to focus on dark thing, which at first appeared as a stray bit of tapestry, or a cloak haphazardly draped over a warped hat rack, that it was none of the afore mention items, though shadowy folds swayed in a fervent breeze which only it could feel. The thing lingered by the window watching Randal’s every move with the milky orb-like appendages that served the alien thing as eyes. An air of unearthly dread radiated from the vile oddity as it emitted a slippery, wet, crackling sound that Randal could not discern. Was it moving; or was it trying to communicate with him? Terrified beyond all reason, Randal could not tell.

          The alien thing shifted and Randal swallowed an icy lump as he got a better view of the shadow creature’s face, if that was what you could call it. The vile oddity’s countenance was an abominable conglomeration as if various creatures, animal, reptile, insect, amphibian, and sea-born had been mingled into such an unnamable mockery to which there could be no earthly affiliation. A single glimpse into the thing’s visage, made Randal feel as though he had aged years in merely seconds. To his horror the vile thing started forward, shambling toward the bed where he lay, paralyzed by utter fear. Time itself seemed to slow to little more than a crawl as it neared the bed, inching closer with a strange tentacle-like appendage reaching out for him.

          Just as the alien thing’s tendril was within inches of touching his face, the sun peered over the eastern horizon, banishing all shadows whence they came. With a gurgling protest against the coming dawn, the shadow thing faded into oblivion. Randal, gaped at the place where the foul abomination had been for what felt like hours as the horrifying events played out in his mind. That he was alive, Randal Karver was both relieved and terrified for whatever the vile thing was; it had come for him. But what in God’s name was it?!!!

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