• J. P. Walters

The Others

Daddy, can you tell me a story? I'm scared.

Peter tucked the blanket around Janey's legs. The signs of exhaustion were beginning to collapse from between Peter’s eyes. A whisper christened Janey's brow.

Tomorrow sweetheart. Daddy's too tired. And what do you have to be scared of?

Wonder fled from Janey’s lips and the sentiments they carried contrasted the glow of her nightlight.

The people downstairs. They always wait for me to go to sleep before they come out of the cupboards, Daddy.

Peter's shoulders shrugged as he fought against the impulse to laugh in response to his daughter’s admission. He'd been through this with Janey enough times to know she was attempting to delay bedtime. A kiss pecked her forehead, and Peter tiptoed out of the room.

The stairs groaned against Peter’s descent as though they wished to stir Janey’s sleep and deprive him of peace. Peter halted on the staircase and stretched to salvage a teddy. One day his kid would be proficient in tidying up, that was the mantra Peter hoped by. A sound caused Peter to halt in his movements.

That fucker doesn’t know a thing.

The blood whooshing through his neck was interrupted by another vocalization. Peter had to be imagining things; perhaps the neighbors had their TV turned up to the max again.

If he does find us, we can just slit the cunt’s throat as we did with the others.

Peter righted himself and shook his head. Getting the heebie-jeebies from a horror movie was one thing, but freezing like a deer in headlights in your own home was ridiculous. Footsteps flooded the living-room as Peter descended the stairs and ran through the house. He stood there in the kitchen, glaring at the cupboards like an idiot. As he’d anticipated, there was nobody here. What kind of a father would entertain such an idea?

The light-shade dimmed, and Peter headed back up the staircase to bed. A clatter tapped at his eardrums, and a Peter chuckled in response. His daughter had a gift for spreading paranoia. The door to his bedroom clacked. It was time to relax.

Moonlight skated between the slats that separated the blinds in the kitchen. A snap broke the air, and the cupboard opened from under the sink. The withdrawing container revealed a naked and elongated physique. Its gray flesh cracked, and each motion only increased the measurements of the being’s limbs. Feelers wrapped upward and cradled the faucet. The mass of deformation slid out from within the cupboard.

Peter’s eyes opened. For a moment, he was frozen, knowing something had awoken him, but unsure as to what. There it was, Janey was sobbing in her room. Peter groaned and threw his blanket aside.

The door to Janey’s room opened, and Peter was ready to yell her back to sleep. He’d reached his limit when it came to her crying. His mouth opened, but nothing came out. Something was peering over his daughter’s bed. Its’ hand appeared to extend from the corner of the room, being illuminated by Janey’s nightlight. It had to be six feet long, and the fingers were just as abnormal.

Peter attempted to yell from in the doorway, but only a squeak escaped his mouth. A gray face skulked before his from beside the doorframe. The hand by Janey’s bed didn’t seem to move, but the entity lurked closer to Peter’s face. Peter’s expression whitened as a hushing sound blew against his forehead.

Peter’s eyes opened. For a moment, he froze. He clutched the blanket around his waist as a sound caught his attention.

Back to sleep.

Peter chuckled. He had to stop listening to his daughters’ stories and the suspicion they imbued. He closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

© 2019 by J. P. Walters. 

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