☰ Shadow On The Wall

                     

“Dad, there’s something in my room.”
My seven-year-old son pushed at my shoulders trying to wake me up.
I’d heard him, but I couldn’t get my body to respond as quickly as I’d hoped. I’d been steeped in slumber and it’d stuck to me.
A little drool sat on my cheek.
I sat up, wiped it off.
“I’m coming, Cade.” I grunted and rolled out of bed. It was dark, I could barely see, even after I had my glasses on.
He held his Batman doll tightly in one hand and clutched at my sleep pants with the other.
“What is it, what’s got you scared?” I took careful steps from my room into the hallway, Cade’s head bumping my waist with every footfall.
“There’s a man on my wall.”
I smiled groggily, waking up a little more.
“A man, you say?”
It must have been a shadow being cast on his wall.
The new house was going to take some getting used to.
“Well, I’ll get rid of him.”
He tugged at my waistband. “No, Daddy, I think we should just leave.”
I stopped, knelt down, talked to him face to face. “No, it’s just a shadow, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Kerby men don’t run from shadows.” I told him with a smile. “Now show me this shadow man.”

He swallowed hard, his voice quivered a bit and he steeled himself. Led the way.
I was so proud of him. He was a brave kid, but the move probably had him a little out of sorts.
Totally understandable.
I was awake now, so when he pushed open his door, I saw it; I knew I wasn’t hallucinating. I knew it wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t  having just been woken up.
It was a creature, in the shape of a man. Like a spider, hunched down, hanging upside down in the corner of his room. It wasn’t possible a man could do such a thing. Crouch upside down in the corner where wall met ceiling, hands between its bent legs, sitting like a dog might.
It was naked, but I saw no genitalia.
Its skin was a creamy slick peach color, and I could smell it from the doorway where I stood frozen in disbelief. It opened its eyes.
I screamed,  flicked on the light switch by the door. Blinked several times.
Cade mewled and shivered behind me.
The thing didn’t move. It sat still as a statue, eyes disgustingly human just staring at me, like beady dots floating in flesh colored goo.
I pushed my son away from me and back into the hallway.
“Go get Daddy’s baseball bat.” I told him. “The wooden one.” I whispered. “And Daddy’s phone.” I added as I heard his bare feet pitter patter down the hallway.
I refused to take my eyes off of it.
It refused to take its eyes off of me.
I dared speak to it.
“G-g-get out of here. N-n-now”
It said nothing.
Didn’t blink.
Didn’t move.
It showed no emotion, no understanding. Flesh colored slime dripped from the top of its head and fell to the floor with a splat.
The pitter patter of feet behind me didn’t make me look away from the monster in the corner of my son’s room. Cade slipped the handle of the bat into my hand.
“Daddy’s phone?” I whispered, barely moving.
He placed it in my outstretched hand.
I dialed 911.
Pressed the earpiece to my now sweating head. My hands shook.
The creature just stared.
“911 Emergency services, may I have your name please.” A woman said from the other end.
“Jason Kerby, 781 Lake Street.” I breathed into the phone, my heart hammering a mile a minute, making it hard to think.
“Jason Kerby, the baseball player?"
"That's me." I quivered.
"Okay Mr. Kerby, what is your emergency this evening?”
“Someone is in my house. I’m looking at him. I need help.”
“Is anyone injured?”
“Not yet. We’re in a standoff, I need help.” I was beginning to have a hard time breathing. I had to calm down. “My son and I are here. And the intruder.”
“Sir, I’ve just dispatched a unit out to your residence. Can you stay on the line until they arrive?”
I shook my head yes, realized she couldn’t hear my head rattle.
“Yup. Yes. Just hurry.”
Sweat dripped down my back and Cade was now attached to my hip, right behind me. He was shaking too, I could feel it.
I could also feel something else...
Slime dripped down my shoulder, coming from just above me. The phone dropped out of my hand, hit the floor, bouncing and breaking all at the same time. I looked up to see the first monster's twin.
It stunk.
It didn't blink either, just stared, but the one just above me... was smiling. A cruel, wicked grin of complacence and malice.
I pushed my son into the hallway, away from what was about to begin. Cade yelped, but I ignored it.
I summoned my inner Kerby nature and swung that bat at the creature above me.
Hard and true.
Goo splattered when my weapon hit purchase against its skull, but unfortunately it wasn't enough.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the first creature begin to crawl the ceiling towards me.
This was going to be a rough night, but they didn't call me Killer Kerby for nothin'.

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