I’ve neglected the backyard again. Some new species of foliage moved in and set up a defensive perimeter around the gate in the privet hedge along the back row. Invasive is putting it lightly. This thing grows a couple meters a day, spines and thorns along the entire length, and it has the nasty habit of killing every other plant it touches. Nasty burn from touching it too. Not at all a nice plant. I swear it’s watching me anytime I’m out back. Now if I can just get around it to the shed where I foolishly left the trimmers.
“Are you ready? Father and I wouldn’t want you to miss Christmas. After all, the presents are ready under the tree, and we put out the cookies and milk for Santa, didn’t we? He’ll like those, I’m sure. It won’t be long now before he visits our house. You know what they say, that he’s watching and knows who’s good or not? Well, it’s true. He’s jolly when children are good. And when they’re bad, he takes them. Not all the offerings in the world would make the old elf leave behind a bad child. He’ll snatch you up and take you back to his workshop and you’ll end up making toys for other children for the rest of your life. Now don’t cry, I’m sure you’ve been a good boy, haven’t you? Well then, you have nothing to worry about. Just make sure you’re asleep before Santa arrives with his sleigh. Those reindeer might just eat you up if you’re awake and happen to sneak down to the tree to see him. Sweet dreams, pumpkin. May sugar plumbs dance in your head.”
I can’t sleep anymore. They come to me in my dreams, the creatures of shadow with bright eyes that shine on me. Always they come when sleep overtakes me, accusing me, blaming me, consuming me.
There was a day when he stopped moving, a gathering of writers no less, and assumed his normal wall flower pose. At first, he thought no one had noticed, at least those who may have seen him do it had the decency not to tip off the rest of the crowd. Arms at his side without tension, a nondescript demeanor. He sighed internally having escaped the demands of the world around him, a successful retreat into his private cocoon. Free, now, to watch the world without having to interact with it, he embraced the whitespace in his mind and drifted. The party continued for a span, and faded as the guests excused themselves and headed home. When the room had emptied, he refocused himself in preparation to leave, and found himself unable to reanimate his body, rendered as a two-dimensional etching blended into the wall paper. If he’d had any lungs, and any way to use them, he’d scream. No tears escaped his eyes, no panic capable of welling up inside him as entropy had entrapped him entirely. He could only feel regret, as regret is for the past, lives in the past, extends forward through inaction, and inaction he had in quantity.
There is a house at the crest of the hill outside of Aberdeen where the pikes of the wrought iron fence are crowned by metal crows. It is said that at midnight, under the light of a full moon, the crows come to life and devour anything that moves. How anyone could witness such an event and live to tell the tale is beyond me, but I know for certain that the stories are true as I’m the welder that made the fence and the work cost me dearly in blood and tears. I’ll be paying that price until the moon rises no more.