“Are those fingers?” I said. On the floor in front of me, as I sat on the toilet for my morning pee, I saw fingers coming out from under the scale.
At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – what the fuck is that? Fingers coming out from under the scale? I was stuck on the pot and didn’t have anywhere to go and I was, as anyone would be, freaked. I stood and backup up a bit, knowing that I’d have to pass by the scale to get out the door to get away from the hand. Instead, I kicked the scale, pushed it six inches.
There was a squeal and the fingers disappeared. I picked up the scale and checked it out, checked out the floor – nothing to indicate a way for the hand to come through, for the phantom fingers to grab at the floor.
The adrenaline faded and I came back to my senses and felt my heart pound and my breath labored. I was sweating.
I rubbed my eyes and shrugged it off. Maybe I was still sleeping – I flicked the light switch on and off a few times, then pinched my forearm as hard as I could. Nope, wide awake.
I leaned forward and rinsed the shampoo out, rubbed the water out of my eyes and caught a black streak run across the bathroom. I wiped the glass door and looked around – nothing but me and the rush of water, billows of steam collecting at the peak of the slanted ceiling.
“I’m going fucking crazy,” I said out loud, turned back and grabbed the washcloth.
The pantry door squeaked as I opened it, and I reminded myself for the 100th time to spray some WD-40 on that damned thing, and there were eyes behind the cereal box.
I jumped back and the Peanut Butter Crunch hit the floor, rolling into untold crevices. I looked down at the mess and then back up at the pantry. The eyes were gone, but now I felt a bit of panic.
Before the motion sensor could click on the lights in the garage, I saw a black streak flash across the garage, over towards the far bay. The lights came on and there was nothing but the cold and the stacks of boxes. And the fog of my breath.
I crept over to the third bay – my motorcycle is there and nobody better be fucking with my bike – and, in the shadows of the workbench, I saw a full arm clawing out on the concrete floor. But the arm didn’t have a body attached to it, as though the shadow was a boundary, a portal, and the arm was moving inches in and out of it, reaching for unknown treasures.
I have a 6lb sledgehammer that I keep for odd construction jobs around the house and yard, and it’s come in handy more times than you’d think. I grabbed it and did a full swing down onto the arm, hitting at the elbow, the crack of bone exciting me before the splash of blood and meat hit my face. I caught myself before I puked on the floor, lifted my shirt up to wipe the mess from my face, and stumbled back to the washer and dryer.
My eyes watered from the stink.
I heard a whisper in the dark. I squinted my eyes, craned my neck, and crept slowly towards the sound.
“Get on the bridge, get on the bridge, get on the bridge,” it repeated. The voice was human, or at least I thought it was. I moved over and began to see more – every shadow was bulging out, some of them had fingers poking through, some had eyes, wide and shifty, panicked even, staring out.
As I walked over, the whispering began to fade as I heard the screaming. The screams of a thousand people in torment, first a rumble, then a roar, then a cacophony.
I put my hands on my ears and felt a tremble in my body, the shadows pushing and pushing, bulging, noises louder, louder.
The automatic lights timed out and turned off. The noise stopped.
I put my hand up to trigger the lights back on, but they didn’t respond. I turned to go back, and it was pitch black. I reached out for the bench, but it wasn’t there. I took a few steps and reached out for the dryer and a hand grabbed my arm and pulled. I pulled back against it but I wasn’t strong enough. My feet slid on the floor even as I leaned back and grabbed at the darkness with my other hand. The blackness tore and spilled a hot, orange light onto me, revealing the demon’s face, which grinned and pulled me through.