Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Unfinished story

The prompt for this story was the very first picture in the creepy picture book we looked at that one time. The one with the little pixies floating into the boy's room. I find names elusive at this late hour of the night. Anyway:

When I was very young visitors would come to my room late at night. The circumstances surrounding their motivations and their origins were always a mystery to me, but only later in my childhood did I realize that these visitations were somewhat out of the norm.

This may seem odd to you. I will refrain from describing the visitors for the moment, lest it seem even more so. Instead I will endeavor to explain how I came to find their presence so unremarkable for so long.

Click on "Post Page" below to see the rest!

My parents were rarely at home during my younger years – away on business or pleasure, or hiding from the Green (as were so many in those years), or God knows. I did not. I still do not. They had hired a wet nurse for me when I was still an infant and kept her on as a permanent nanny until her murder a decade later. If they had known that she was actually working two shifts in the City (presumably to support a family in her home country) and only ever came back to the house at three in the morning to sleep for four or so hours perhaps they would not have kept her on. Or perhaps they would have – how much, if at all, my parents cared about my wellbeing is another thing I have never truly understood.

I was thus largely alone in the familial manse for my entire childhood. Almost bereft of contact with adults, barring the few hours a day when Nana was at home, I had only a tenuous grasp on the normal and the possible. To me, thus, the nocturnal visits were none too strange – indeed, my child's imagination conjured no less fanciful adventures during the daylight hours.

The visitors themselves were small and man-shaped, and very bright. They floated, invariably, through the window, and their own natural glow combined with that of the moon conspired to illuminate the entire room almost as well as during broad daylight. They never came on cloudy nights, or on nights when the moon was not in the sky. Only later would I think to question them about this, after I had already begun to contemplate the answer. They spoke my language, albeit slowly and simply – perhaps the better to communicate with a child deprived of many opportunities to learn new vocabulary. Their faces were lupine.

We would speak, as I have said, and play games – they would hide from me, or I from them, in the bowels of the house. Often they would lead me outside, and these were the only times I would ever see my neighborhood, pale in the moonlight. I was prohibited from leaving the house by Nana even before the wave of murders; the Murderer's appearance only served to frighten me enough to obey – during the day, at the least. With my companions I felt I had no cause to fear, and in fact we ventured out into the Town more and more frequently as time progressed, even after the slayings became more frequent.

I should speak of the murders, as they would eventually prove to be at the heart of everything. It is important you realize that these were not the mundane killings and disappearances that occur whenever the Green rule. By all accounts the first of the murders did indeed occur shortly after the Seizure, and I am sure that most residents of the Town at first assumed them to be attributable to the change in government.

Slowly, however, it became apparent that the Murderer was operating against the wishes of the Green. The municipal commandant posted reward notices, and the radio news went so far as to report the murders and to appeal for vigilance from the Townsfolk – actions the Green surely would not have taken had the murders been committed at their behest. But most important of all is the nature of the murders themselves.

I say murders, though from all accounts most of the victims were simply dogs and family pets and farm animals. The human victims were selected seemingly based on convenience, without any apparent motive or reason. Individuals out after dark, or who lived alone, or who slept near windows were the most frequent targets, though there were a few instances of massacres of entire households towards the end. None of the murders was committed with the aid of a firearm – the victims were instead eviscerated or butchered, their throats ripped out and their bodies rent open. Bizarrely, some of the victims were slain while their spouses slept on, oblivious until awakened by the birdless silence of morning.

People began to panic as the Murderer began to target humans with greater frequency. Fearing an exodus to the City or elsewhere, and the subsequent destabilizing effect on the public order, the Green quarantined the Town. I do not know what Nana did, then, to earn money, as she remained only a nocturnal visitor to the house. I suspect she may have turned to prostitution.

And I in all this? I, yet a child, remained oblivious to it all. Strange things were happening in my own life at the time, though I of course did not recognize their strangeness. It was at around the time of the first human murders that I stopped feeling the need to eat.