Quiet Flesh – Short Horror Story

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It would happen every night at exactly 1:43am. The scratching and soft whispers from the other side of the closet door. I dreaded that time, but 1:40 always found me wide awake and staring at the blueish numbers of my alarm clock, hoping for sleep as the invisible seconds ticked by.

This sort of thing was for children, not fourteen year olds. I knew that. But the terror was timeless and the sounds were real. I had tried to explain it to my mother the year before. She said I looked tired. I said that I felt like my bones itched and all I could do was scratch at my skin until pain erased the rest. She frowned. The next day I found a number of new sticky notes bookmarking the Bible next to my bed.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed out my insides and filled them with platitudes. My literal father filled them with the sting of disappointment and judgment.

“You’re imagining it.”

“Yessir.”

“I didn’t raise a pussy.”

“No sir.”

God didn’t help and my parents didn’t either. So I shut my mouth and swallowed gestating screams as the silence of 1:42 deepened each night.

Sometimes the door knob would rattle. Sometimes the closet light would click on. I’d watch the shadow of feet cast along the floor, a darkened two lane road to my bed, waiting to erode with the creak of door hinges. But that outcome was a fantasy born of fear. The whispers were indistinct, muffled by the door and amplified in my anxious mind, but their intonation always suggested a question. I was the answer. An offering held above the open maw of an unknowable creature by a thread of curiosity. And I was curious. But more than anything, I just wanted the fear to end.

I also wanted to forget that the fear was rational. My friend James had a monster too. I let him tell me about it and I stayed silent about my own. Then, I parroted my father’s sentiments and I watched James sink as I quietly sank with him. But James wasn’t a pussy. He opened the door. Then his mother found him in a bloody heap on his bedroom floor.

She stared past James’s casket at the funeral, empty as the grave that awaited him. His father sat in stony silence. James’s parents didn’t sing the hymns. The preacher read the eulogy.

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.

James was an only son. I wondered who had the right to give him. I wondered, and the clock hit 1:42 as my bare feet hit my bedroom floor. My heart thumped. The scratching began. I held a breath and turned the knob.

No…

It was me. Standing and staring back.

“Y-you’re not real…” I whimpered.

The other me smiled.

“No. But your love was. And he loved you too. Like a scratched itch or a whisper meant only for you.”

James

submitted by /u/decorativegentleman
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