“Go,” she whispered, unable to give any weight of conviction to the word. He stared at her, his eyes searching for the truth in the single instruction she had spoken.
“Go,” she said again, still in that same whispered breath, but her eyes telling him all that he needed to know. He rose to his feet, his hand still clutching hers. He nodded as he released her; unable to say what he knew she could not bear to hear, before turning quickly on his heels and disappearing into the unknown.
As she washed the blood from her hands, she finally realised the full extent of what she had done. She regarded his body as it lay limp on top of the now blood soaked wooden table and dared it to move. But it didn’t, couldn’t. The now sliced open chest was still. She had finally done it, and now it was over. She had told him often enough that he would be hers, had promised time and time again, though he had never believed it. But as she watched his heart lying still, hers at last, she smiled, victorious.
For a short while I see the old house as it was. Freshly painted walls, swing seat on the veranda, the old tyre hanging from the oak tree. But it’s soon swallowed by time, the mist rolling back. It’s older now, a sold sign swings from the porch. I stand in the passage, dust motes dancing at the bottom of the stairs. I remember you standing there with a hole in your t-shirt. I stick my finger in it and tickle your tummy. I can’t help but cry, this house soon becoming just a hole where we once lived.
You were in my dream last night. I awoke with a smile on my face, so there was no doubt it was you.
I can’t recall the last time I saw you, face to face. I’ve tried and I’ve tried but it’s beyond my reach. So it must have been a long time ago. I can’t even remember the last time I thought of you, the last time I remembered a memory of you. I had almost forgotten you and what you meant to me. But as morning turns to day turns to night, I desperately grasp at that dream.
The thudding noise of Clarice’s dreams had entered the real world. It was no longer a sign that he was coming, but a sign that he was already here. His dark shadow now loomed in the corner of the room, growing with each snatched glance she dare take it eclipsed the real world. His shape became indefinable as it swallowed her safe place, forever tainting it with his suffocating presence. Clarice remained frozen as he loomed over her, feeling a chill like an icy burn as he weighted her down. He was here and he wasn’t leaving without her.
Time stretched out, an eternity to be endured. The harshest winter held them in its grip, having crept upon them without warning. It was an insufferable shock when it set in; a deep chill that could not be shaken, taking a hold in a way only nightmares do. Yet they knew from this they could not wake. They trembled in their own skin, unable to escape the torment as the icy cold embrace settled in their very bones. Hearts began to freeze, an anchor pulling them under into an inescapable existence; an eternal wintertime enslaving them.
The beast howled at the door, a wooden barricade no match for the frenzy it threw from its parted lips. They shrank to the farthest corner, huddling from the nightmare into the arms of each other. The night drew on, seemingly unending under the torment of the thing outside. As a shriek broke from the house, just as they could take no more, silence fell. But the beast remained. A monster lurking in the darkness of the shadows, disguised by the unlit space. Only its breathing betrayed it. Sharp shallow intakes, a staccato song; a lullaby of nightmares.