An oppressive mix of darkness and silence settled over Christopher’s room. The shut door ushered a thin veil of light beneath its skirt, washing the floor with the shadows cast off from discarded toys and clothing. The stillness of the house painted the illusion of suburban serenity, but little Christopher didn’t buy the promise. The red welts across his back stung, burning pain into his already scarred soul; his bloodshot eyes knew truth from society’s saccharin promises. Christopher found solace in thoughts no child of eight should ever endure.
The only person to thank for this lesson was the monster posing as his father. Nobody else punished Christopher that way.
Summoning courage, Christopher dared blasphemy and broke the room’s imperial silence with a mousy whisper. “I wish he was dead!”
“So do I,” a voice returned.
“I wish something would eat him up.”
“And hurt him a lot?”
“More than Christ’s agony.”
“Promise?” Christopher whispered, shuffling to the mattress’s edge. Hanging over the edge he peered beneath the bed, into the domain of monsters.
A tendril of mist snaked out from underneath. “I do,” the voice purred.
A genuine smile crossed Christopher’s face, then hesitation. “Can I sleep with you tonight?” he asked.
“Yes.” The voice whispered. Silently, Christopher wrapped himself in a blanket and wriggled under his bed like a snake. The shadows enveloped him with their frosty embrace, but he didn’t mind. The cold soothed the burning welts and lulled him to sleep with arctic lethargy.
“When can I be like you?” Chris asked the darkness beneath the bed. He was falling asleep.
“Soon,” the darkness said with a sigh, “soon.”