Smile

There’s something about him that’s not as it should be.

At first glance, he seems fine; untameable sticky-out hair, big, pale green eyes that look open and honest.

It’s the smile that doesn’t seem right. Not quite reaching the eyes, it appears as though it were a misplaced sticker over something you were never meant to see. The edges, ominous, protruding from underneath.

The steamed mirror reflects predator; eyes enticing in, smile seductive, poised to strike whenever he chooses.

You sigh. Wipe a lazy palm across the surface before you, and smirk.

You’ve fooled them this long. You will again.

Beware

There’s no need for technology to know that he is there.
Even in this pitched darkness, you are ensnared in his stare.
When they warned this place was haunted maybe you should have had a care,
But then, you always did disdain at those who cautioned: beware.

You moved into this old house and replaced corroded locks.
You blamed the age and creaking wood for all those unknown knocks.
Whispering scorned, footsteps dismissed, unsettled feelings mocked
Until you woke from slumber, startled by a chair that scraped and rocked.

He lingers in the shadows, grows more arrogant at night.
By day, he’s lurking, creeping just upon the edge of sight.
You tell yourself he does no harm, and at worst, causes fright.
But when he bars all exits, your heart still hammers in flight.

Accounts record that his corpse was found not so far from here.
He watched you as you looked him up; over shoulder, he peered.
Cause of death: bludgeoning of skull by object from the rear.
They never found his killer, so he can but linger here.

History tells the story of a violently led life.
It whispers of whipped children and a meek, thin battered wife.
Stories of all his wickedness are harrowing and rife.
You try to forget what you’ve read, yet grip to chest a knife.

And now the doors are bolted but the danger is within.
The monsters aren’t out there hiding; there’s only one. It’s him.
Excuses for your sleepless nights are becoming too thin.
You recoil from the thin air, feel his breath upon your skin.

So now the lamps are lit and you sit, sipping Bristol Cream.
Perhaps by the morning light, things will not be as they seem.
Maybe you’ll wake to tell yourself, ’twas nothing but a dream.
But through these thick stone walls you’ll call. No one will hear your scream.

Three days passed in your absence; then the village deigned to care.
They creaked your door wide open, and by torchlight crept in there.
Many a back of neck pricked under the weight of his stare.
Nothing of you they found but clawed floorboards reading: beware.

Beware

 

There’s no need for technology to know that he is there.
Even in this pitched darkness, you are ensnared in his stare.
When they warned this place was haunted maybe you should have had a care,
But then, you always did disdain at those who cautioned: beware.

You moved into this old house and replaced corroded locks.
You blamed the age and creaking wood for all those unknown knocks.
Whispering scorned, footsteps dismissed, unsettled feelings mocked
Until you woke from slumber, startled by a chair that scraped and rocked.

He lingers in the shadows, grows more arrogant at night.
By day, he’s lurking, creeping just upon the edge of sight.
You tell yourself he does no harm, and at worst, causes fright.
But when he bars all exits, your heart still hammers in flight.

Accounts record that his corpse was found not so far from here.
He watched you as you looked him up; over shoulder, he peered.
Cause of death: bludgeoning of skull by object from the rear.
They never found his killer, so he can but linger here.

History tells the story of a violently led life.
It whispers of whipped children and a meek, thin battered wife.
Stories of all his wickedness are harrowing and rife.
You try to forget what you’ve read, yet grip to chest a knife.

And now the doors are bolted but the danger is within.
The monsters aren’t out there hiding; there’s only one. It’s him.
Excuses for your sleepless nights are becoming too thin.
You recoil from the thin air, feel his breath upon your skin.

So now the lamps are lit and you sit, sipping Bristol Cream.
Perhaps by the morning light, things will not be as they seem.
Maybe you’ll wake to tell yourself, ’twas nothing but a dream.
But through these thick stone walls you’ll call. No one will hear your scream.

Three days passed in your absence; then the village deigned to care.
They creaked your door wide open, and by torchlight crept in there.
Many a back of neck pricked under the weight of his stare.
Nothing of you they found but clawed floorboards reading: beware.

Turn around

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You can feel his stare on the back of your neck.

He’s not in the same room as you, he’s not even inside the house. But you know with full certainty that if you turn from the kitchen counter, away from the overripe tomatoes you are chopping and towards the full glass doors that form the only barrier between you and him, he will be there, watching. His eyes will flit from your face, down to the sharp knife in your hand as the tomato juice drips from its point, pooling and splashing onto the slate tiles beneath your feet. His gaze will return to yours and your own eyes will stare right back, transfixed, stuck in the proverbial headlights in perpetual fight or flight mode.

Pasta over-boils behind you, spitting and splattering a shower of water over the surfaces as the steam rises, ready to trigger the smoke detector at any moment.

And as its shrill beep begins to ring out, the spell is broken, you are able to move.

Knife is returned to chopping board, stove is turned down, pan is temporarily removed from the heat.

His eyes remain on you, watching.

You hear him, even though he speaks no words out loud.

Turn around. Turn around.

Do you?

Turn around

You can feel his stare on the back of your neck.

He’s not in the same room as you, he’s not even inside the house. But you know with full certainty that if you turn from the kitchen counter, away from the overripe tomatoes you are chopping and towards the full glass doors that form the only barrier between you and him, he will be there, watching. His eyes will flit from your face, down to the sharp knife in your hand as the tomato juice drips from its point, pooling and splashing onto the slate tiles beneath your feet. His gaze will return to yours and your own eyes will stare right back, transfixed, stuck in the proverbial headlights in perpetual fight or flight mode.

Pasta over-boils behind you, spitting and splattering a shower of water over the surfaces as the steam rises, ready to trigger the smoke detector at any moment.

And as its shrill beep begins to ring out, the spell is broken, you are able to move.

Knife is returned to chopping board, stove is turned down, pan is temporarily removed from the heat.

His eyes remain on you, watching.

You hear him, even though he speaks no words out loud.

Turn around. Turn around.

Do you?

When

When the floorboards creak he freezes, tells his heart to cease its racing, reminds himself it’s an old house, with an old soul. Cracks and creaks are nothing but to be expected.

When the sigh breezes over his neck he cuts off the gasp that fires unchecked from his lips. Blames it on an open window, a cracked pane, a door ajar downstairs.

When the brush of an invisible hand skirts along his arm leaving goosebumps in his wake, he ceases fooling himself. Stumbles forward toward the doorway, holds his breath along the hall, down the stairs, intent on getting outside.

When the handle won’t turn, the door won’t budge, an invisible stare burns into his neck, he knows. His time is up, his moment has come, he is about to come to an end.

The question is, when?

Smile

There’s something about him that’s not as it should be.

At first glance, he seems fine; untameable sticky-out hair, big, pale green eyes that look open and honest.

It’s the smile that doesn’t seem right. Not quite reaching the eyes, it appears as though it were a misplaced sticker over something you were never meant to see. The edges, ominous, protruding from underneath.

The steamed mirror reflects predator; eyes enticing in, smile seductive, poised to strike whenever he chooses.

You sigh. Wipe a lazy palm across the surface before you, and smirk.

You’ve fooled them this long. You will again.

Two Bodies

Somewhere beyond the sea… somewhere waiting for me… my lover stands on golden sands… and watches the ships that go sailin’…

The lull and cresting crackle of the needle in its vinyl groove is soothing. A continuous background purr as the record spins, the speakers pulse, the empty air of the room is filled with music. Two bodies slot together perfectly, hip to hip, chest to chest, turning a small circle in time with the melody embracing them, lifted by lyrics as they lean on one another.

The view from the window, were they to take the time to look, is breathtaking. Waves roar as they crash, slipping along the sand and stripping it from the beach in a frothy claim. Seagulls caw and dive overhead, a child draws wet faces with a twig, a couple walk arm in arm dangling shoes from absent fingers and leave a trail of sinking footprints behind them as they pass.

Time passes. The sun slips across the sky, and more of the sand is swallowed. Two bodies slot together perfectly, hips around hips, chest against chest. Chasing forgiveness, clinging to memories, clutching for hope.

Sadness dims lingering looks, defeat taints tentative kisses, regret fills every movement as actions try to replace what words have lost the ability say. Silent goodbyes have already begun; this last attempt at reconciliation doomed to fail, because when a heart isn’t in it, the last thing you can lie to is a heart.

The needle lifts from the vinyl, the arm shifts and drops it back down, and the crest and crackle begins over once again. The whir of the vinyl turning blurs into the sound of the sea, as two bodies move together to fill the time until they must permanently part.

She thinks she hears a noise, lays her palm between his shoulder blades, whispers for him to still. He pauses, turns his head, listens, hears nothing. Rolls his hips again, an instant distraction for them both.

The second time he hears it; the scratch against the window, the dull thud of the door. A soft wail has them stopping, looking at one another with wild eyes, straining to hear it yet again.

The third time the wail feels closer yet simultaneously far away, but it is accompanied by a sense of being observed that clings to their skin like the cold sea air. He shifts, rolls beside her, unconsciously takes her hand.

By the time they stand, bared in every way imaginable, their hearts beat in a sync they haven’t found in months. Pulsing, rapid, fearful, as the vinyl crests and falls, mimicking the waves beyond their window. The wail is louder yet untraceable, stepping up behind them to suggest a whisper in an ear before spinning away again.

Too terrified to move, they cling and shiver into one another, teeth chattering and skin dimpling against the blast of coldness swirling through the air around them. One final, piercing solitary wail, and it becomes a symphony of three.

Two bodies slump together, a tangle of limp, lifeless limbs, blood mingling as it wicks up in the carpet. There is silence in the air now, calm contrasting cruelly with the linger of screaming.

The vinyl squeaks to an abrupt cease, the needle hovering in mid air held up as though by an unseen hand. Drops down again. The turntable comes to life once more, filling the air with the crest and crackle of the vinyl as it spins.

Somewhere beyond the sea… somewhere waiting for me… my lover stands on golden sands… and watches the ships that go sailin’…