A quick glance under the desk. Throw the wardrobe open. Push clothes aside to make sure there is no one inside. Close the wardrobe. Step into the middle of the room. Breathe. Quickly bend and kneel forward, your hands on the ground, ready to push you back up as fast as possible. Check under the bed.
No one there. As every night.
Get back up. Walk towards the light switch. Look around the room another time, the eyes resting for a few seconds on each window. Second floor, but who knows what can climb that high?
Nothing suspicious. Mentally pace the room – two steps, then the jump.
Flip the switch. Large step with the right, large step with the left, then a quick jump to escape any possible hands.
Climb under the covers. Cocoon yourself. Try to sleep. Try not to have nightmares. Continue reading →
Laura wore jeans shorts and a light green sleeveless shirt. She smiled while she climbed into the car. She gave me a kiss on the cheek when the engine started. I think that was the last kiss she ever gave me.
We had planned our trip for several weeks. The trip of all trips.
You won’t understand this if you’ve never been to a desert or a remote mountain. The sky, for most of us, is just a black or blue-ish carpet with a few white spots. But if you ever spend a night in the desert, away from all the “light smog” of the cities and cars and street lamps and even the petrol stations – then you know what the sky looks like: A beautiful pattern of white and yellow and even pink dots, uncountably many of them, spread in waves and patterns on an ocean of deep blue.
I screamed a “Yee-ha!” when we finally left the road. The landscape around us was already dry and beige, but there were still dots of green and the occasional red or yellow. The vehicle stumbled over heaps of hard and dry sand, further and further into the dead countryside; between carcasses of old cactuses and nothing but stones. Continue reading →
That’s what she had said. A phrase that did not even begin to describe what we heard every night. Those agonized screams; nothing a human should ever make.
We had just signed the contract and wanted to go from house to house to introduce ourselves to the neighbors. Hers was the door to our right, the first door we knocked on. “J&K” was written on the doorbell in fancy letters.
She must have been around sixty but her pale skin and the large dark rings around her eyes made her look at least a decade older.
“I’m Kristina,” she said. “And I want to apologize in advance. My husband is not really well and sometimes there might be some noise.” Continue reading →
On Tuesday morning, around 10AM, I heard the first glimpse of eternity. It was my second holiday day. I was standing between cereals and pickle jars and somewhere above me a voice tried to convince me to buy slabs of steak that I had seen and that looked unhealthily red. When I saw those steaks a sick cramp formed in my stomach. Humanity has degenerated to the point that meat must be pumped with salt and chemicals to look red as we have grown so accustomed to colored food that we don’t even know anymore that flesh, after being drained of blood, is gray.
I picked a pack of sugared cereal off the shelf and it began. There was no warning. Just one voice stinging through the normal bustle of the shop. It sounded like a young screaming child that quickly ran towards me. I looked around to see the child until I heard it right in front of me but still could see nothing. Then, one after the other, more voices joined in, a choir of pained screams that grew in number and loudness by the second.
My forehead was slammed repeatedly against cold linoleum until one of the clerks did the last nice thing anybody will ever do for me. She pushed a pack of marshmallows between my head and the floor. I slammed my head into the pack rather than the floor. My hands were still pressed on my ears and I kept screaming for the voices to stop. Continue reading →