January 30, 2018 by Jason Phillips
i pulled up the covers right up to my nose. there, the crack of light around the door, it brought with it sounds. muffled tv. a theme tune i knew well of a tv show i had never seen. the orange street light shone it’s muffled gloom into my bedroom and the rain gently licked the window. then the footsteps. she was passing again. every night she clicked past in her stilletoes, and i listened. who was she? where was she going.? the steps faded into nothing and thoughts of death began to invade my mind.
i dont know who had told me, but somehow i had just recently learned that we all die. i was so young, too young really to contemplate this. My tiny mind was scared, totally awake and full of bright fright, at this new concept. that we all have to go. i was trying to work out who should go first. what would be the best. i cried. i didnt want anyone to die. but i finally decided it would be best if i went first. i was having a hard time accepting this. and probably would for ever more. but this was new and absolutely devastating.
i wiped away the tears and the snot. a weird shape to my mouth, almost smile shaped, but exuding whispering moans and the corners of unformed words. i imagined us all dead. all my family, everyone i knew, buried with the worms.
i closed my eyes. the green comma formed. floating, moving, only just staying there, usually when i was tired and not trying to focus on it. just letting it float, without desire. it began to spin. here we go. but this time it was different. it was spinning the wrong way. my lips quivered and the whole room grew cold. were they dead downstairs? now? the tv chattering away its ghostly blue shine onto the corpses of my family?
i slipped out of the covers and headed to the cracks of light. as i opened the bedroom door it creaked and echoed down the hallway. the carpet seemed to have disappeared and the stairs were in a state of disrepair. leaves were on the bare floor boards and the walls were dirty. i could see into the bathroom at the other end of the corridor, the mirror was cracked and bore graffiti of a large nosed character perring of a wall, with a speech bubble saying “Chad Says Death Begins.”
this was my house, i was sure of that, but it looked deserted. maybe it was my house years from now, after we were all gone. i was shaking, stood in the bedroom doorway. i could still hear the tv downstairs. “Maaam” i called out. there was no answer. i pushed open my big brothers bedroom door to my right.
it creaked open . there was my brothers bed. i really couldn’t tell if he was asleep in the messy covers. but i thought probably not, he was downstairs watching tele, he was always allowed to watch that, they always had this night life without me, i was always sent away to think about death while they gathered downstairs. it always sounded like so much fun, and sometimes i would sit on the stairs in the dark and listen to them enjoying themselves, or listen to the programs, and sometimes id walk in and cry and ask why i wasn’t allowed in to this club.
but it felt now like the house was empty . deserted. like a life time or two had passed since i had been sent up to bed. i looked across my brothers bed and stood in the corner was the donkey. it was a large stuffed teddy. it was erect and almost life like, almost but not quite, in that zone, you know. i was there now, lost in the uncanny valley. the large glassy eyes of the donkey flicked up towards me . i rubbed my open hand down the lumpy blue wallpaper. the donkey blinked. my heart began to thump, as the donkey headed for me from around the bed. i pushed the door open with all my might and ran back down the hall spinning around the banister as the donkey galloped toward me. i looked down the stairs . the front door was open and the living room door too. i could hear that theme tune again. what was it?
i hesitated and then felt the hooves bury deep into my back, cracking my spine, and pushing my belly forward. toppling me off the top step and somersaulting me down the stairs. banging my head on the way down. smashing my bones on the bare stairs. screaming in pain about to smash my head on the bottom step and i awoke.
orange glow. through the darkness, the rain tapping it’s spiny fingers on my window. and the same footsteps, this time coming back the other way. this time faster. hurried. scared. half jumping and running every few steps. i blinked and breathed in the empty room.