you close your eyes tighter and try to shrink under your blankets. you pretend you are invisible. they do not go away. you can hear them breathing. they will never go away.
there is unspeakable evil in this world. it hides behind trees, it hides at the bottom of the lake, it hides in the pitch black of the night. there is no one to protect you.
You check the weather. It says there is a 26% chance of rain today. “It might rain today!” Your sister cheers. You know it won’t rain. It never rains. It hasn’t rained since before she was born. You hear her weeping in her room when it doesn’t rain that day. You wonder if she’ll ever see it. You begin to wonder if you ever have.
you decide to take the back roads on the way home from the city. the sun is setting as you pass forests and fields. your eye twitches but you do not blink, afraid you will miss the small town that is your home if you do. you pass more forests and fields. the sun is bright and seems to be mocking you, but you still do not blink. abandoned farms and houses and chimneys with no other structure around them pass by, followed by more forests and fields. the sun is setting, red and ominous with the coming night. you do not blink.
All the roads that lead outside of your new town have mysteriously disappeared.
it’s windy outside again. you can’t hear your wind chimes, though; they took them last night.
Coastal friends laugh at Midwesterners calling them religious fanatics, but religion it seems, is the only thing that keeps them away.
you have been driving for five hours straight and your eyelids are heavy. spotting the rare gas station among the cornfield, you pull over and through half lidded eyes spot the diner sign. come, it says. come and never leave. you fall asleep with the key still in the ignition and wake up on the asphalt with greasy fingers.
a sandhill crane
how romantic would it be to be lying slowly bleeding to death from several mysterious stab wounds in an abandoned gas station parking lot located along a stretch of a never ending midwestern gravel road surrounded by corn on both sides
- Your partner calls you at 3am. You go on a case and almost die. You come home. You are safe. Your partner calls you at 3am.
- Your breakfast order is wrong. You tell your partner. It’s a conspiracy.
- Bugs are creepier than they used to be. Cornfields are creepier than they used to be. Everything’s creepier than it used to be.
- You smell cigarettes. Your hairs stand on end. You remind yourself that millions of people smoke. You don’t feel safe. You go home and shower off the smell. It doesn’t leave. You smell cigarettes.
- It’s nighttime. In the city, you hear cars and sirens and shouting. In the country, you hear frogs and owls and crickets. On nights when you hear nothing, you know something is wrong. You call your partner.
- The motel showers are cold. You are used to this. The manager smiles with inhuman eyes. The shower water is hot. You switch motels.
- There is a bright light outside. Your partner sees aliens. You see the lights of a testing lab. You both feel panic.
- You have a dog. He is tiny. He escapes from your grip. How is he so strong? You had a dog.
- You used to be afraid of airplanes. Now you are afraid of spaceships. They are both irrational fears, but for different reasons.
- Your partner is gone. He is always gone. Your partner comes back. He always comes back. Your partner is gone. He doesn’t come back.
- You are in a gas station. You’ve been here before, even though you’ve never been in this state before. Every gas station is the same, it seems. The cashier smiles. You’ve seen them before. Every gas station is the same.
the water is thick and briney. there is a strange smell and you start to notice pieces of flesh mixed among the seaweed and driftwood. the heat amplifies the smell. you take the backroads home and try not to think about it
the things you see in your rearview mirror are not real. do not look for too long.
you hear the unmistakable wet crunch as you hit something on the road. it is late. it is dark. you’re going 75 and you have a long drive ahead of you. you dont stop
birds, hundreds of them, swooping down. coming up with red faces. “what are they eating?” your father does not answer. “what are they eating?”
i dont know what’s out there. just stay quiet
you get out of your car to move debris from the road so you may pass. the air crackles around you. mist presses heavy on your skin. you are not alone.
you can never be certain what lurks outside even your own door
the unliving still speak. if you are kind they may say something to you
the forest has many sides. not all are kind.
the snow is pristine. untouched. you can’t even find your own footprints to follow out of this forest.
you wake up at night. you feel wet fur and smell rot