Tag Archives: Imagination

The thing outside

A little horror story.

Alfred Hitchcock said, it’s the things you don’t see that scare you. I wrote this a few years ago as an exercise on that concept.

 

 


 

We shivered in the dark, listening to it scratch against the door. Turning the lights out had not tricked it. It could smell us.

“Let’s go out the back,” my little sister Anita said, casting a nervous glance behind her.

“It moves too fast,” I said, but I glanced behind me as well. It was worth a shot.

Slowly we made our way backwards, feeling behind us, not taking our eyes off the kitchen door. We could hear it outside, scrabbling against the old grainy wood softly, insistently. We got halfway to the back door and then the scratching stopped.

Anita froze. We stared at the door, waiting for it to do something, but nothing was happening.

“We have to shut it inside. Then we can get to the car,” Anita said, pulling the car keys off of the counter and handing them to me.

“Are you crazy?” I whispered back, risking a glance her way. “That means one of us would have to open the door.”

She didn’t flinch. She stared at the door, her long braid resting on her shoulder, her eyes focused, waiting for some noise or indication of what it was doing now. All scratches had stopped. The other side of the door was silent. Too silent.

“Do you think it’s going around to the back door?” Anita whispered.

Suddenly I couldn’t move. I heard a desperate sort of gasp escape my throat.

“What?” She turned to look at me, alarmed.

“The back door isn’t locked,” I choked out.

Anita never hesitated. She dashed to the back room, and I watched her as she raced, her feet thumping loudly on the hardwood floor. It would hear that, I thought. It would hear that and circle around. I could see everything happening in crystal clarity, but was stricken by a horrible paralysis, unable to speak or move fast enough to prevent her from doing what she was doing.

Anita was a yard away from the door when it clicked open before her. Something pale was coming through. Finding my feet, I turned, unable to look, and ran toward the kitchen, toward the door, toward safety.

Anita screamed and screamed.

I burst out of the kitchen and slammed the door shut behind me, but the thick wood only slightly muffled the sound of my little sister dying.

I called her name through the wood. I cried out into the blank night. I kicked the door and pounded until my fist was bloodied with splinters. All this I did. But I could not make myself open that door.

When I paused for breath, there was a wet noise from within the house. It was lingering, distracted by the blood.

I still held the keys in my shaking hand. But I didn’t want to drive away from here, not if she wasn’t with me. Next to the car key was a smaller key with a cheery owl key cover which Anita had bought ages ago; the key to the shed. Where the power tools were kept.

I smiled joylessly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

To be tiny

 

To be tiny
Climb a blackberry bush
Step between the large dull thorns
Wave to a passing ant
Ascend the most vibrant cluster of flowers
Swallowed by a profusion of white
Wrap yourself in a petal of living silk.

 

To be small
Climb a tree
Admire the neighborhood
Wave to a passing plane
Feel the branches bend beneath your weight
Wrap your hands around the sun-warmed wood.

 

To be insignificant
Climb the surface of a little blue planet
Breathe the miracle of air
Wave to a passing meteor
Wrapped in the inexorable present
Know that your meager vision
Only goes as far
As the neighborhood stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

The Reader

 

I long for worlds I have never seen.

I am weak with nostalgia for people I’ve never met.

I grieve, broken from the loss of an imaginary friend.

I am giddy at the prospect of pretending to meet these nonexistent loved ones again.

A show every Friday night at seven.

New chapter release on the first of the month.

The game comes out in time for Christmas.

I am fulfilled, thrilled, excited

I laugh, fight, cry, fall in love, win, lose,

Live

Able to forget

For a brief span of time

That this adventure too must end

And I will be faced

With the dead air

The closed book

The black screen

And unforgiving reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, a little girl noticed a blue glow under the stairs leading up to her bedroom. She peeked behind the things there and found a confused blue fairy.

“What is wrong, little fairy?” the girl said.

“I was abandoned,” the fairy replied.

“Well, you can live under my stairs if you like. But I’d rather you stay in my room with me.”

The fairy followed the girl upstairs to her room.  She gasped. “What a beautiful room!”

The room was full of fun things. Christmas lights, glow in the dark stars, hand-drawn pictures of fantastic animals, a pink four poster bed.

“Come and play with me,” the girl said.

And so the fairy lived with the girl for a long time. The girl would bring her pieces of cake and cookies and thimbles of cream from the kitchen. She gave her drawings and told her stories. It doesn’t take much to keep a fairy.

As the girl grew up, she spent less time in her room, less time with the fairy, more time with friends and boys. She took down many of her old drawings.

“Oh, not that one,” the fairy would say.

“But it’s terribly drawn, that nose is ridiculous,” the girl would respond, and remove it anyway.

One day the girl came home and said, “I got accepted into college!”

“Ah,” said the fairy. “I’m going to have to find a new place to stay.”

But the girl didn’t hear her. She often didn’t hear her these days.

The girl went off to college. She learned a great many things. She fought with her boyfriend, she got drunk every weekend, she examined all the things that were wrong with the world, she cried over her exams, gained weight, lost weight. Sometimes when she was homesick she thought of her little fairy friend, but soon was distracted by all the strange new things she was seeing and learning.

When she next came home to visit her family, she stayed in her old room. She took down all the childish things and cleaned up. She never even noticed the fairy was missing.

The girl, a woman now, graduated, got a job, lived her life. She married and had a daughter. She struggled to teach her right from wrong, while still succeeding in her job and saving enough money for the future.

The grandmother grew feeble and came to live with them. The old woman moved slowly. Sometimes she would make cookies. Sometimes she would sit on the porch and watch the sun set. When the woman worried too much, the grandmother always told her, “time will take care of things, my child.”

The grandmother adored her grandchild. She would sit quietly with her and watch her play.

One day the woman listened outside her daughter’s room, curious what her daughter and the grandmother talked about.

“That’s a wonderful animal you drew. Shall we hang it up?”

“Grandmother, I met a fairy today.”

“A fairy? Really? Can I see her?”

“She says you might, if she shines real hard.”

“Ah,” the old woman said. “What a lovely blue light. Your mother had a fairy once, when she was a girl.”

Hearing them talk, the woman remembered what it felt like to have a fairy. She stepped into the room and looked around, but there was nothing.

“Don’t worry,” the grandmother said to her. “If you really want to, you’ll be able to see them again. Time will take care of it, my child. Time always takes care of it.”