This is a short story I wrote about one of the main characters of the webcomic I write and my friend Nate draws; it can be seen here. I’m pretty happy with it and it is absolute fun to read aloud.
I came home. I pulled out my keys. I tried a key in the lock, but it didn’t work. It slipped against it clumsily. I looked at the keyring in the dim moonlight. I picked another key, and tried opening the lock again. It didn’t work either. I picked another key. Vincent came out of the shadows.
“You know, if you don’t open the door on the third try,” said Vincent, “the monsters peel themselves from the woodwork.”
“And what happens then?” I asked.
“The only thing they leave is the woodwork,” said Vincent, and vanished into the shadows. I pushed the key the whole way in. It turned, and the door swung open with a whisper of hinges. I went inside. The house was dark and grey and quiet as fur. I closed the door. I put the keys on the shelf. I opened the kitchen door. As I opened it, I heard another door open, somewhere, close. Vincent came out of the shadows.
“You know, when you open a door and another door closes,” said Vincent, “it’s a monster slipping away.”
“Is it scared of me?” I asked.
“Don’t be foolish,” said Vincent. “It’s just finding a better place.” Vincent vanished into the shadows.
I went through the house and opened all the doors. I checked under all the beds. I opened all the cupboards. I lifted up all the cushions. I found no monsters. I went into the kitchen. The kitchen was safe and bright. I turned all the lights on, and left the fridge door open, and turned on the light in the oven, and put the kettle on and turned the radio on really loud, loud enough to drown out the kettle. I sat in the middle of the room. The fridge started beeping at me. Vincent came out of the shadows.
“You know, if you keep the fridge door open long enough,” said Vincent, “the monsters slink up at you from inside.”
“Where do they live?” I asked.
“In the vegetable drawer, of course,” said Vincent. “With the carrots and the avocados.”
“What do they look like?” I asked.
“Like fangs that snakes lost,” said Vincent. “Like oiled oyster shells without eyes.” Vincent vanished into the shadows. I closed the fridge door. It seemed safer that way.
I put on my biggest, cosiest jumper. I put on my warmest, safest socks. I pulled the plaid rug from the linen cupboard, and wrapped myself in it, and sat in my bedroom, clutching a cup of tea. I drank some of the tea, and it made me feel better. I felt calm enough to read a book. I put the tea on the side of the table. Vincent came out of the shadows.
“You know, if you leave the tea so long that it gets cold,” said Vincent, “the monsters coil around your toes. They crush your throat.”
“Why do they care about my tea?” I asked.
“They just like it warm,” said Vincent, and vanished into the shadows. I drank all the tea in one big gulp, and it scalded my tongue. It seemed better that way.
Before I went to bed, I checked the whole house. I checked it for electrical appliances left on and for horrors I had heard of. I found one heater still hot and one light in the bathroom still lit. I found no horrors. I brushed my teeth. I spit and gargled. I left the bathroom light on, in case I wanted water in the night, and went to the bedroom. I climbed into my pyjamas. Vincent came out of the shadows.
“You know, if you leave the bathroom light on all night,” said Vincent, “it draws moths.”
“I don’t see what’s so bad about moths,” I said.
“The moths aren’t the thing,” said Vincent. “The moths draw other things.”
“Do they eat the moths?” I asked.
“No,” said Vincent. “They watch.” He vanished into the shadows.
I went to the bathroom and turned off the light. It was the sensible thing to do. It was pitch black getting to my bedroom, and I hit my knee on a badly placed set of drawers. I climbed into bed, sore. I fell asleep quickly. I had soundless dreams. Vincent came out of the shadows.
“You know, if you have soundless dreams,” said Vincent, “it means something is blocking your ears while you sleep.”
“What sort of thing?” I asked.
“It has a name,” said Vincent, “but you never hear it. It’s blocking your ears, you see.” He vanished into the shadows. I woke up screaming. There was something in the room with me. It was the things that wait for moths. Without mouths. Without eyes. Like slick slinky oyster shells. It was the shadows. I vanished into the shadows.
Vincent came out of the shadows.