by Heather Terry
I was sitting in my room when I first saw it. Or thought I saw it, I suppose. I can’t say that I’ve ever actually seen anything. But I knew it was there, nonetheless.
I was working on my homework, and my doodles, when the resident feline, Sphinx, leapt from my lap and tore out of my room with a yowl. I jumped and whirled towards the window at my back in time to see- no, not see. Never seen. To feel a presence outside the window. To sense the inky, vacant eyes watching me unblinkingly and melting backwards into the deepening night as I strained my eyes trying to penetrate the shadows cloaking its form.
Of course, I just shrugged it off initially, writing it off to twitchy nerves and a creaky, old, lonely house.
My roommates, you see, were gone for the weekend, and I, finally, had the house, and the quietness of the night, to myself.
I had almost convinced myself all was well when my pencil suddenly rolled off my desk and to the floor. A perfectly innocuous occurrence, if only it hadn’t landed on its point and begun to slowly spin in place on the hardwood floor.
I think it was at this point that I really began to feel it creeping in around the corners of my mind, just as it crept along and pressed in on the windows, in the same way a sickness prowls amongst the healthy seeking a victim to infect before taking others.
I suppose I should have felt surprise and wonder, at the vision of this pencil, slowly, slowly rotating on my floor, but as I recoiled into a ball on my bed, I instead felt nothing but abject horror.
I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not. I—
The pencil stopped, frozen in place for half of a second before falling. As it fell, so too did the floor, the house, the world. I was alone, in a chasm, staring out in the the inky abyss of the madness that welled up from within and from without.
A soft, slithering voice whispered out of the dark. “Lyssa.” It was almost a sing-song, the way it’s tongue flicked around the name. My name.
No. No. I clamp my hands over my ears, but the bed pitched violently and I fell, my mouth pried open in a silent scream as I feel its presence surge into me, through me and over take me.
“Lyssssa. You are mine, Lyssa.”
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.