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Christie turned for the fourth time in bed, restless and unable to sleep. Fading moonlight filtered through a stained bedroom window into the small space of her bedsit.

With a sigh she sat up and looked towards the red glow of the digital clock on her bedside table dimly saying it was 2:50am Friday.

She had been hopeful of going to sleep before 3am and having a day off tomorrow but was unable to sleep.

Flopping back onto her old sheets with a huff Christie tried again to rest her mind.

However, as she tried her conscience reflexed on the time and started to bring forth thoughts of her neighbour.

Ms Welch lived alone as so many old people did and kept to herself. Like Christie she didn’t have much and seemed incredibly frail so Christie always helped if she saw her out with rubbish or carrying shopping up the stairs. However, she would always leave the shopping at the door.

She never went into the home, the smells that creeped from the entrance made her head spin. Some nights around 3am strong spices, herbs and over used candles invaded her senses along with strange words coming from the connected wall. Chants and prayers were made which always ended with a strong smell of sulphur.

Never wanting to investigate more as keeping out of trouble was all Christie cared about at this moment in time. Her medication helped with the anxiety and working night Shifts in the care home let her be alone which was best, even being in the ‘bad’ part of town was fine as long as you didn’t show off or make yourself known.

Be small, be quiet and you’ll be safe” she constantly reminded herself.

Looking over to her clock she saw it was now 2:56am. Maybe tonight would be one of the nights the smells and chanting wouldn’t invade her small home.

Inhaling deeply Christie sat up and turned on her lamp. The dull light barely penetrated the corners of the tight space as she took a long drink from the glass of water next to the bed. Only when she put the glass down did she notice the figure standing next to the open window.

Numbness claimed her as the shape moved forward with one foot dragging as if being pulled by the long knife gripped with both hands.

Don’t move or I’ll fucking cut you” ordered the gaunt man as he looks wildly around the room seeming unsure if talking to her or the room.

The voice ragged like a smoker and even from across the room Christie could smell the stench and cheap alcohol. Wrinkling her nose in reaction she sat up gripping the bed sheet close to her chest covering herself as much as possible.

Where’s your money?... drugs?” he spat out the words as if already waited too long for an answer.

Without waiting for a reply, he lunged forward brandishing the knife “come on bitch give me your stuff”

I…I don’t have any drugs” Christie squeaked back “I don’t have anything, I barely have enough to pay rent, I don’t have anything”

Don’t fucking lie to me” He snapped back “you have something here”

Sniffing the room “I can smell…yes I can smell money and drugs…give it to me”

Moving like a rat sniffing out food he gripped the end of the bed, rotten fingernails digging into the bed sheets.

Fear now gripping Christie as she pleaded “I don’t, I’m sorry please, there’s some left-over food in the fridge if you want it but I don’t have anything”

LIES!!” the junky roared moving up and ripping the bedsheets from her grip.

As the sheet was pulled away, he paused and looked down; eyes drawn to her legs as she raced to pull down the baggy nightshirt trying to cover as much of the bare pale skin as possible.

His breathing became slow and deep as he just stared in a trance, a stringy trickle of saliva dribbled from his quivering bottom lip, like oil it oozed down onto his chest.

An intense shivering took Christie as she noticed all background sounds had become silent.

The man’s lips cracked into a yellow serpent’s grin with eyes transformed into a devilish predator as his intentions seemed to change. He took a step forward with a smack of the lips.

A gentle knock came from the front door.

The approaching predator didn’t notice the sound as he slithered towards her.

Another knock came, harder and insistent at being answered.

Stopping an arm’s length away from Christie's bare leg he looked at the door, a drooling love drunk expression on his face.

Stillness, then the door burst opened wide with a loud snapping of the lock. Slamming against the wall as the hallway light moved in around a small silhouette standing in the entrance.

Startled by the intruder he leaped in front of the bed and blocked Christies view as if some rodent was protecting its meal.

A familiar soft sweet chanting echoed from the doorway.

Christie felt an overwhelming power close her eyes, the chanting filling the room as if hunting for some villainous prey and she shouldn’t be a witness.

A rising howl filled the room, transforming into a wail of pain and screeching as something fell to its knees. Echoes bounced off the walls to be joined by a sound of wet organic objects being spilled on the floor, hot metallic scents filled the air as the wail turned into choking, then into gurgled pleas of surrender only to be cut short with sharp snapping of cartilage and, a hard thud.

Silence followed apart from a single dripping sound as if a faucet hadn’t been turned off all the way.

You can look now child” came a familiar old voice.

Christie shook her head wildly refusing to do so while squeezing her eyes even tighter.

Ignoring the response, the speaker continued in that gravel-and-syrup voice.

I’ll take these ingredients if you don’t mind dear, but I would suggest you to clean the floor with some baking soda before it stains, blood and bile would just ruin such a lovely carpet such as yours”

Unable to reply with her hands now clasped over her mouth due to the strong smell of human waste and decay. The once invader of her home was then moved into the hallway with such violence and maliciousness it was as if a savage dog was dragging and attacking a bag of flesh and bone. As the noises quietened down the hallway small delicate footsteps came back to the door.

Oh! I’m going shopping tomorrow; will you be home to help me carry it in? I do enjoy you helping me” the words spoken soft with a wrinkled smile.

Nodding with a small yes Christie heard the door gently close as a response.

Soundless minutes passed. Unable to hold back she willed her eyes open and looked upon what was left on the floor.

Gagging she lunged forward dry heaving while leaning over the bed. The sight and smell hit her so violently the vomit finally erupted coating the remains in a fresh layer. Stomach empty Christie crawled back and curled into a fetal position.

“Be small, be quiet, be safe” She repeated in a whisper, rocking and holding her hands as if in prayer.

The words became a rhythm joining in with the now continued chanting emitting from next door, the smell of sulphur now adding its scent.

The bedside digital clock clicked to 3am.


MMA Coach from England who needs more shelfs for books and comics.


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