For the eleventh instalment of the Inspired series, I have collaborated with the supremely talented Ricky Romero. Ricky lives in California, and has an amazing ability to combine the cute with the creepy! He is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the awesome ‘Awful Words’, a dictionary of sorts, containing the definitions of some aweful words, and lots of Ricky’s amazing illustrations. I have already made a pledge, and if you would like to as well, head over to Kickstarter. You can also check out more of his work, at his Instagram. If you are an artist and you would like to collaborate, get in touch, and happy Reading!
The creatures of the in betweens
They live in the in betweens, the halves, the almosts, these creatures of tricks and pranks, these makers of mischief. They live in shadow, in between the light and the dark, and watch their victim’s, patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity. Perhaps, they will strike as you pass through a doorway, the divide between one room and the next, and make you stub your toe, or drop your cup of tea. Maybe, they will see your hand bag, sitting in the shadows, and remove your car keys so they can watch you huff and puff as you scramble around your house, tearing up furniture to find them, only to place them exactly where they had been, causing you to doubt your own sanity. On the most part, they are harmless. They move objects, trip and nip, spill and break, and drive your pets mad. But, every blood moon, they become suddenly thirsty for more than misbehaviour for their own amusement. They have a blood lust of sorts, a need to hunt and kill, to suppress a sudden urge for violence and evil. It’s as if they are possessed by the night sky, and it is then that children go missing.
They hunt at midnight, the moment between one day and the next, an entire minute of in between in which they can quench their thirst for blood. They will choose a small child, no older than four, and steal him away right from under their parent’s noses, quiet as a door mouse. Sometimes, the children go willingly, believing the creatures to be the fairies from their bed time stories. Either way, they are never seen of heard of again, only a gaping hole left behind in a parent’s heart and a room of toys without an owner.
The only reason I know this, is because they came for me once, long ago. I awoke to the sound of laughter, small and distant, but growing closer and more menacing. I did as all children do, and hid beneath my blankets, as I saw the shadows move and objects fall from shelves. I wanted to scream, to cry out, but something stopped me. Perhaps, I myself doubted my own senses, or perhaps they could do something, some magic to paralyse you with fear. So, I sat there shivering beneath my cover, weeping silently, as the midnight hour, and the creatures, grew ever closer. I was so young, perhaps only three years old, but even then I knew that these things wished me harm. I would have died that night if it hadn’t been for Bernie, our German Shepherd.
They were so close to me at that point, and I could make them out in the increasing shadows, their huge black, shiny eyes staring at me, reflecting the light like wet stone, and the rows and rows of tiny sharp teeth. They were no bigger than an action figure, but there was so so many of them. I could see them everywhere, and I knew I was surrounded. One reached it’s little clawed hand towards me as midnight approached, a forked tongue darting around, tasting my scent. It was at that moment Bernie began to bark and thump against my door, with such force and such violence, that my mother got up to scold him. When I heard her, my senses returned and I began to scream. It must have sounded like a wail of genuine pain and fear, for my mother practically broke the door in to comfort me. When the light was switched on, they were gone, all of them.
I told my mother, as best as I could in my childish way, about the tiny monsters and their evil intent, and she dismissed them as the manifestation of an active imagination, or the result of too much television. She comforted me, and let me sleep with them that evening and for several evenings subsequent. A night light was purchased as bribery, the only means to get me back into my own bed. After days passed without incident, even I began to wonder if it had in fact been a nightmare. But when I saw the tiny claw marks, scratched into my bed post, and heard of the disappearance of my neighbour’s Jack Russell, I knew it was real.
You may not believe me of course, you may dismiss it as childish fantasy or perhaps you think me the type to make merriment from causing fear in others, but I leave you with one last warning. Tonight is the blood moon my friend. Beware the in betweens. Beware the midnight hour.