Good Morning Short Story Fans…….
It’s ME again!
I do hope this morning finds you ready for a little chill up (or down) your spine as I present yet another of Mater’s little very short stories. This actually was the FIRST short story she ever wrote and it was published in an online horror magazine YEARS ago (2002 to be exact).
I do hope you find it entertaining……and perhaps today, when you least expect it, you just might see a spot in the corner of your eye and WONDER………………. (evil giggle)
By Pamela June Kimmell
It was always there….sometimes barely noticeable, and even at times, practically invisible, but still there. She’d started calling it “The Companion” because it was so reliably a part of her existence that it was something she could count on – almost like a friend, but not as friendly as a friend. In fact, lately The Companion was radiating a decidedly menacing feeling.
Gretchen first noticed The Companion when she was twelve years old. Ten years later she’d yet to tell a soul about it. Whenever she came close to telling anyone, The Companion prevented it. The blinding headaches it inflicted upon her were definitely not worth the trouble of explaining The Companion to anyone.
At first it had been a barely noticeable shadow just at the edge of her eye – just the smallest darkness which, if she pulled her eyes to the left in her eye socket as far as she could, and as quickly as she could, she could catch sight of. Through the years it stayed just out of sight. She became used to it, as an extremely introverted child, without friends, it was her friend – her companion. She had quickly learned not to tell her mother or father about it because of the resulting pain.
Lately though, The Companion was scaring her. It was beginning to grow. It was growing quickly in fact. It was now a visible shape edging closer in her line of sight. She no longer had to pull her eyes to the far left to see it, it was visible all the time. The worst experiences with The Companion were at night. It grew at night. In fact, it seemed to “feed” on the darkness. Gretchen now slept with the bedside lamp on, thinking it would prevent The Companion from growing so large it would obliterate her sight in her left eye. You see, that was her biggest fear – that she would be blind in that eye from The
Companion. The light seemed to help somewhat. It grew, but not as quickly as it did in the dark.
Gretchen no longer went to movies, or night mass at church, or for a drive at night. She made sure everything she did was scheduled in broad daylight, when The Companion was at it’s smallest and least threatening mode. Her best friend Amy teased her about never being able to join her and the other friends she had from work at their once a month “movie nights”, but it was only light-hearted teasing. Amy and the others knew Gretchen had a fear of darkness – they had encouraged her to see a psychiatrist or psychologist about it – but long ago had given up pushing Gretchen to do anything.
Gretchen was asleep when the noise started. She awoke with a start to the sound of what sounded like a drum beating. Gretchen was confused in her semi-awake state, but not so confused that she didn’t quickly realize that the noise was perfectly in synch with her heartbeat. But she had never heard her heartbeat before. Then she saw something she’d never seen before.
In the corner of her room – the darkest corner, not reached by the bedside lamp – she saw The Companion. With each loud beat she heard, The Companion pulsed. The Companion was not visible at the edge of her sight any longer – it was “detached” from that place and had taken on its’ own separate identity. Not only that, but with each progressively harder beat, it was growing larger.
Gretchen was frozen in place….she realized she was shaking – not from cold – but from fear. She was sweating profusely, and could not bring herself to stop staring at The Companion. She felt that if she did stop looking at it – even for a second – it would come towards her.
It no longer felt like a “companion” it felt like a separate, malevolent creature, that was waiting for its’ chance to envelop her in its’ inky darkness and extinguish the light that was “her”…..snuff out her very life force.
As she stared at The Companion, and if she forced the fear from her mind, she noticed that it was not only no longer growing larger, but in fact was losing its’ extreme “darkness” – it was graying. She felt perhaps it was weakening. The loud heartbeat also subsided as The Companion began fading. She was winning the battle of wills with it. She was feeling strength coming from somewhere within which was conquering her fear and reducing the power The Companion had over her.
Then The Companion disappeared.
Gretchen was finally able to move. She got out of bed and discovered her shaking legs were steady enough to carry her into the bathroom. She ran cold water into the sink and bent over to splash it liberally on her face. She stood and stared into the mirror at startled face peering back at her.
Then she noticed something else. The Companion was no longer visible at the edge of her vision. It was gone. That meant it no longer was “connected” to her, as she had always felt it was. But what had become of it?
The next few days Gretchen did not see The Companion either at the corner of her eye, or “loose” in her house. Not only that, but she didn’t even “feel” its’ presence. For years and years it had been her constant companion, and now she was alone. She felt liberated….relaxed….no longer trapped.
Gretchen enjoyed her freedom. At the library where she worked with her friend Amy, she no longer avoided the dark corners or the basement storage areas. She laughed more and seemed so much more relaxed. She even suggested a movie night with the girls – something she would never have done before The Companion had left her.
Friday night came, and Amy was to pick Gretchen up at her house for the theater. Gretchen was a bit nervous, but not overly so considering she’d never gone out at night before. As darkness descended and the appointed hour approached, Gretchen found
herself looking out the front window, wondering what it would be like to be out in the night air – alone.
Amy pulled up in front of Gretchen’s house and honked the horn. Gretchen picked up her sweater and purse, opened the front door and started to step outside when suddenly the porch light went out. She stood in the total darkness with only the sound of Amy’s car engine for company. A panic seized her, unlike anything she’d felt before. Then she heard it……the heartbeat……the loud drumming heartbeat which matched her heart’s thump beat for beat.
She “felt” The Companion before she saw it. It was behind her she knew. The malevolence was palpable…..she was frozen in place and could not move. The Companion was back to claim her.
In the midst of her panic she realized Amy’s car had vanished – in fact the distant street lights were no longer visible, nor were the neighbors’ windows lit up from within. The darkness was all-consuming.
She felt the ice cold fingers of The Companion on her shoulders first, then the coldness enveloped her arms and legs. She felt faint. It had taken possession of her and her will to fight it was fading quickly. She relaxed in the numbness.
Amy honked again, then turned off the car’s engine. She wondered if Gretchen had perhaps changed her mind after all about coming. Come to think of it, the house looked deserted – no lights shining in the window; porch light out. She walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. Nobody answered it.
She figured Gretchen had changed her mind so she left to join the other girls at The Cinemax in town. She’d call Gretchen in the morning. But Gretchen wasn’t there Saturday morning, or the next morning, or the next. In fact, she was never seen or heard from again.
Then one day, at the library, Amy noticed a darkness appearing in her line of sight – just out of reach unless she pulled her eyes to the left as far as she could………..
The End —–
CopyrightÓ 2002 Pamela June Kimmell
And there you have it fans of the chill………I do hope you have a lovely day………those of you who are brave enough to want to read yet another of Mater’s stories after this will be rewarded one of these days when I, Samuel Hitchcat, will return yet again with another thriller/chiller!
Do enjoy your Monday won’t you??????????????????
Your Friend in Fright, Samuel Hitchcat…………. 😀 😀 😀
peeee esssssss – don’t forget tomorrow is Tuesday Teaser