By David McNulty
It was Monday night when my life fell apart.
The summer months had come and gone. September is the time that the year starts to turn. Nights get longer, the Sun struggles to stay in the sky and trees are stripped bare of their dying leaves.
I had moved into my new house on the 2nd of July, officially the 3rd hottest day of the year. Me, Sarah, and our little boy, James had a hellish time that day. Removal vans didn't show, Cable technicians showed up too early and all the time, that oppressive heat beat down, clouding your judgement and shortening tempers.
But we made it. Turned an alien empty house and made it our own, a part of the family. There's a garden out front and a green round the back for James to play in safety. In fact, the only thing that still hasn't been touched is the concrete shed.
It sits at the very back of the green, grey and mouldy in places with a jet-black roof. It also has the biggest padlock on the door I have ever seen. A huge industrial type, with a key hole as big as your finger. I've tried to prise it off, but the wood of the door is suprisingly strong, despite its obvious neglect.
I've no idea what's so important inside it. There is a window, but it's filthy inside and out, so all I can make out is dusty silhouettes sitting in the dark. A few gardening tools and what looks like sacks of dirt and gravel, but no top of the line Flymo. Plus there seem to be a nest of spiders in the corner judging by the impressive numbers of dead insects trapped in webs inside the pane of glass.
Frankly, I had more important things to worry about than muck about in a dirty old shed. James still hadn't been enrolled in his new school and Sarah had drafted me to assist her with the decorating (to my eternal shame, I pretended to bring work home so as to avoid this hateful chore. Sarah was not amused when she caught me reading the backpage of The Sun rather than graphs and sales figures.)
But eventually everything came together and 3 months down the line, it was hard to remember living in a one bedroom flat in a council scheme. Hell, we had paid our dues, we deserved this. Everything was good.
I don't remember what woke me up that night. I looked over at the digital clock and the red figures spelled 2.31am. The moon was spilling in light through the open curtains in the window, giving items around the room a monochrome look. Yawning, I turned to look at Sarah, her long, dark hair lying over her pillow.
She was the deepest sleeper I knew and some nights I would just stare at her, safe in the knowledge that she would never catch my secret glimpses of her, just finding it hard to believe she was in my bed, in my life. Clique, I know, but I really was the luckiest sonuvabitch alive.
I became aware of an almost uncomfortable feeling in my bladder and I tried to forget about, because I really didn't want to leave this bed. But I could feel the pressure mount and I knew I had no alternative but to evacuate my bowels.
As I padded across the hall to the stairs, I very carefully and quietly popped my head round James door. If my wife was sleeping like an Egyptian mummy, my son was at the exact opposite end of the spectrum. A really rich chocolate bar could mean no sleep until the wee hours for him, but I had to sneak a quick peep at him.
He was 9 and would be in double figures early next year. My boy would soon be a man, hopefully have his own family and all the problems and joy that go with it.
I stood there until he sensed me, so I slowly backed of and he seemed to settle into regular sleep again. I shut his door and started down the stairs.
Our bathroom is right next to the kitchen and after relieving myself, I went to the cupboard and took down a tall tumbler. I poured water from the tap into it and stood in the darkness on the kitchen lino, drinking the liquid and staring out the window at nothing.
That was when I noticed the man.
He was hard to make out as our kitchen door is frosted glass from top to bottom, and the only light was the moon, but definitely, standing in front of the shed was what looked like a man. I could make out the basic shoulders and head but the rest seemed melted together. Some light seemed to be reflecting of the shinier parts of his body.
At first, I didn't know what to do. I put my glass down slowly on the sink and stood very still. The shape didn't move any closer. In fact it wasn't even moving. My first instinct was to open the door and allay my suspicions one way or the other. I'd know if it were a man or a trick of the light.
But our back door was wired to an alarm. If I opened it, the alarm would give out 3 short loud beeps. Loud enough to wake the house. So, I waited. 3, 4 minutes passed. Nothing changed. I found it harder to believe it was a person. It seemed a malicious bush had decided to play a trick on me.
I waited 1 more minute and satisfied it was no more that an overworked imagination, I crept up the stairs, sneaked back into bed and fell into strange dreams that eluded me in the daylight.
The next day was regular as clockwork. My job gave me the same grief's as always, James went to school and Sarah stayed at home, God bless her, finishing of the last of the paintwork. All in all, truly uneventful.
So it was with some discomfort when I woke up at 2.31am the next night. Although I had a cup of tea at 9.00, I didn't think it would awake my bladder to be emptied. But no, there again was that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. It really wasn't pleasant and as I left my bed and scooted down the stairs, I felt utter relief as I pissed away the remains of the tea (and I swear it seemed like I must have drunk a barrel full of liquid. I was practically a living example of Niagara Falls for a full 2 minutes).
I flushed the toilet and walked past the kitchen, when I remembered last night. I was still half-asleep, but curious so I padded back into the kitchen.
There was a man, much clearer now, half way between the shed and my back door. Except it didn't really look like a man. I could just about make out hints of a face, distorted by the frosted glass. But I wondered if it was just the glass. It seemed that perhaps there was something wrong with that head anyway. If the lopsided eyes and cavern of a nose were hard to make out, one thing was as clear as rain. The mans (its?) smile was apparent, even with out light and through the glass. But it was wrong. It offended the logical part of the brain. The mouth was stretched far too wide and I thought that maybe that grin could go even wider.
The rest of the body was…wrong. A perfectly normal arm seemed to be coming out of the front of his chest. His shoulders were slanted viciously, with the left higher than his head and the right slumping around his waist.
But below his waist, there seemed just oily blackness. No legs could be seen and though it was pitch black, I got the impression that there were no legs there. Just a melted, viscous lower torso.
My brain absorbed this too quickly, as if it had eaten a snack quickly and was having trouble swallowing. The thing that got me kick-started was realising it had moved. Not much, hardly anything. It was like the hour hand of a clock. You can watch it all day and you won't see it move yet it still counts of each hour.
I realised this thing must have been moving closer during last night and tonight.
The urge to turn on the kitchen light was so strong, that I found my hand touching it lightly, caressing it almost. I jerked it back as if it was a live wire. I really wasn't sure what would happen if I turned the light on. Standing there, in the kitchen at 2.40 in the morning, I realised that I did not want this thing to see me. If it could see me, I thought its grotesque smile might get larger and hungrier. I was suddenly very glad there was a door, made of glass and wood, but a door none the less.
I didn't know what to, so I stood for 5 or 6 minutes, just watching it glisten in the moonlight, when I turned around, walked up the stairs and went to bed. I remember doing it clearly, but I can't remember coming up with the thought. I wouldn't say I was hypnotised but just maybe, something wanted me to go, as if I had arrived unexpectedly early.
The sleep I feel into was deep and dreamless.
I slept through my alarm and it was only when Sarah shook me roughly that I woke up.
'My god, I thought you were dead!' She said it jokingly, but she looked mildly concerned. 'Are you ok? Maybe you should take the day off, you don't look your usual self.'
I peered at her bleary eyed and for a couple of seconds, I could not remember who this woman was. Then the fog lifted from my mind and I was almost back to my normal thinking capacity.
'No', I said, 'I'm just a bit tired.' I gave her a weak smile that hopefully didn't look as false as it felt. 'You go and get Jim ready for school, while I get up and dressed'
Sarah looked at me for a bit longer and if she wasn't entirely satisfied I was my usual chipper self, she seemed grateful I was alive and with that left the room calling for James to get ready for school.
As I dressed, my memory of last night was hazy and with the bright sunshine coming through the window it seemed impossible to take seriously. At best it was the workings of an overactive imagination, at worst the oncoming of dementia.
But I knew that I had saw something last night. Not just a…thing, but a whole different world, universe even. I felt that my brain would fry, but the mundanities of trying to get your tie on and having a shave soon calmed it down.
Before I left for work I went into the kitchen and saw that the door was wide open. My heart jumped a beat, but I realised it was Sarah who had opened it and was hanging up the washing in the back. But even then, I knew it was ok. I simply knew that it was safe to have the backdoor open during the day, even at night. But after midnight, you might want to have that door locked, perhaps bolted. After midnight, you wouldn't want to be out the back.
I walked on to the back concrete path and looked down. There were slime trails, like those made by slugs. But there were wide and led, of course, to the shed. Also dead insects littered the sides of the path and I noticed one bird was lying at the door of the shed. Its head was removed and the wings were missing. Cats possibly. I used the toe of my shoe to kick the small body under a bush.
I went to work.
Work did not go well that day. My temper, which was short at the start of the day, got progressively worse as the morning wore on. I shouted at people, insulted them, I think I even threatened a couple.
My brain could not focus on the spreadsheets in front of me. I would find I would stare at the screen, as if someone had switched me off for minutes at a time. Then someone would approach me timidly, only to feel my full fury vented upon them. I was aware I was doing it, but I couldn't think how to stop it. In truth, I guess I didn't care one way or the other.
I decided to take a half-day, much to the relief of my beleaguered work team, and headed straight for home. Sarah was out when I got in, for which I was guiltily pleased. I took of my shoes and went straight to bed. I was asleep in seconds, though it might be fairer to say I was closer to the state a coma victim would be in. I didn't dream.
I awoke at 6.00 when Sarah came in with Jim. I hastily rushed around the room to clear up any evidence of my afternoon sleep (though in truth there was none - I really had slept like a log), and walked casually down the stairs to meet her.
Sarah looked up in surprise. 'Hiya honey, you're in earlier than usual' She kissed me on the cheek and walked through to the kitchen with the shopping.
I rubbed the back of my neck. 'Yeah, we got everything pretty much finished up in the work ahead of schedule, so the boss let us away early.' I was aware this was the first lie I had told Sarah in three odd years and that thought disturbed me more than the.activity out the backgreen. I quickly submerged it and was grateful when Jim came in.
'Hi Daddy, wanna see my picture I drew today?'
'Sure, what is it', I said, smiling down at him.
'Our house', he said innocently enough and gave me the crude painting he had drawn in school that morning.
It was our house all right. 2 windows in the front and a bright red door. He had also taken a bit of artistic licence and skewed the back green to the side of the house so he could paint his slide and swings. There were flowers and eye watering vivid green for grass. But no shed. He had even put the path in, but no shed.
'Hey', I said in an enforced casual voice, 'did you forget to paint the hut?'
He looked uncomfortable and gave a half smile
'No, I just ran out of time…' his sentence trailed of and he looked up at my eyes and paused. I wondered if on some child subconcious level he knew something was wrong with that place and his brain decided to deny it even existed.
It occurred to me for the first time that Jim's window faced on to the backgreen and onto the shed. The thought unnerved me, but I felt fairly sure he was safe. If anything were going to happen, it would be through that kitchen door. But how the hell could I be sure about anything, so I wasn't entirely happy with the sleeping arrangements.
'Jimmy, you don't leave your window open at night, do you?'
'No I…' and again he stopped, as if he knew the answer but couldn't understand it. 'I don't like it open at night now. In case a cat gets in.' He looked up at me, satisfied this was the reason and suddenly he seemed to click back into 9 year old boy mode. With a loud buzzing noise he pretended he was an aeroplane and raced through to the living room to watch his TV programmes
I looked at the painting with the missing shed again and wished that this child's view of the world were the real one. Then I put it down and helped Sarah unpack the shopping.
That night was as good as my workday had been bad. After dinner, we went down to the video shop and rented 'Titanic'. We sat on the couch in contented silence on the couch, Sarah and me the bookends to jimmy in the middle.
It was a good film, but I was happiest when taking sly glances at Sarah and Jimmy. We truly were the perfect family unit, but my heart was fearful for how long it would last for.
After the movie and Jimmy had been sent to bed, we made out on the couch like a pair of teenagers on their first date. It was Sarah's time of the month, so sex was not on the cards, but it didn't seem to matter and perhaps it was just as well. It might have ruined the quaint innocent quality of the night.
We finally went to bed before 12.00 and giggled as we crept into bed so as not to wake Jimmy.
Despite my deep sleep during the day, I was out for the count in a matter of minutes.
I of course woke at 2.38 again. This time the pain in my bladder was so strong, I genuinely thought I would wet the bed. I couldn't see how I would walk down the stairs. Slowly, very slowly I left the bed and made my way down the stairs.
The pain seemed to have spread to my stomach and cramps were appearing as well. I had shut the kitchen door the night before so I couldn't see what was going on outside, but with the pain I was in, I couldn' t stop anyway.
I shuffled the last few feet, took of my pants and urinated. Waves of pleasure rolled over me as the pain faded away. It truly was a mystery what was causing this. I felt like I'd had 10 pints 24 hours ago and hadn't been since.
I must have been there for three minutes and when I was finished I breathed a sigh of relief.
I flushed and walked to the kitchen door.
On one hand, I just wanted to go back to bed, to sleep and hope it would just pass over, whatever this thing was. But on the other, I simply had to know what was going on, what was happening. I like to think I opened that door for the safety of my family, to see if they were in danger, but I think it might have been a burning urge, a withdrawal symptom akin to a heroin user.
I opened the door silently
What I saw shocked me. The mantling was right at the backdoor. On the top step. The glass, thankfully, was still distorting its image. But I could see enough of it as it was.
The right eye was a hollow with an almost dead red spark in the cavities of its skull. Its right was huge, a watery yellow orb with a white cornea. It didn't seem to have a pupil and I wondered if it was blind. Perhaps that’s why it couldn't see me, but I felt it might be able to sense me or at least sense something
The third arm protruding from its chest was an emaciated child's arm, weak looking. It waggled its 7 fingers weakly and moved pathetically from side to side.
Its lower body seemed to be living tar. The moon light slid of it like water as if the surface couldn't remain stable. Things seemed to rise to the surface, like creatures gasping for air, before being dragged back into the black ooze.
I don't if it noticed me or not, for it raised its right arm, and put its slimy clawlike stunted paw on the handle. It pushed the lever up and down slowly, as if it understood this was how to get in, but it didn't understand the concept.
I didn't scream but I bit my tongue down hard enough to bleed and I emitted a low almost inaudible moan.
The thing looked up sharply, belying its sloth like appearance. I don't know if it heard me or not, but the bloated orb of an eye looked right at me and all I could do was look back. It seemed to suck me like a whirlpool and I slowly felt myself pad to the door, to the keys hanging on the wall.
I don't like to think how close to death me and my family came that night, but as I walked to the keys, my arm, seemingly of its own volition casually picked up a bread knife, raised it slowly as you please and rammed it down into the middle of my hand.
I stopped and actually shuddered twice as if strings on a puppet had been cut. I don't know if it was a last part of brain still active, or whether some other source was guiding me. All I know is that the pain of the knife was all powering and I turned my head to look at it in something approaching amazement. I pulled the knife out with not a sound and put it quietly back in the holder.
The creatures' eye roamed back and forth the kitchen like a spotlight. It washed over me twice and I thought it would find me again, but I seemed to have dropped below its radar again. It turned its attention back to the door handle and slowly started pressing it up and down again.
For all its size and overpowering menace it seemed decidedly weak in its attempts to open the door. It could have easily smashed the glass and came through, but I felt that it simply didn't have the mental capacity to think of it. Not yet anyway.
So, I slowly walked back out the kitchen, the quiet sound of the metal door handle being turned slowly up and down fading as soon as I left the room.
I didn't wake Jimmy. I didn't wake Sarah. I didn't phone the police. I went to bed and fell straight asleep again though I fancied I could hear the patient sound of the doorhandle being tried throughout my dreamless slumber.
I didn't go to work the next day. I phoned in sick and my boss told me there had been 6 complaints made against my attitude in work. I was surprised there wasn't more, but I told him I'd see him when I got back and we would have a talk about it. Frankly, I couldn't care. I didn't expect to see any of them again,
Sarah wanted to stay at home and look after me but she'd already taken a week of to decorate the house, so I thanked her but was firm that she should take James to school and go to work. I didn't want any of them in the house for what I had in mind.
I waited until they had left then got up and washed. The ironic thing was that I really did look ill. My face had a gaunt quality about it that made me look like I had been undernourished. Dark shadows were under my eyes and my skin had a yellow tint to it.
I wondered if being do close to the creature was damaging my health somehow. Certainly my mental health anyway.
I got dressed and took the second car down to the local hardware shop. I looked around the aisles aimlessly until a friendly (or nosy) shop assistant pointed me in the direction of what I wanted to find. The tool section.
I left with a screwdriver, saw, a large hammer and an even bigger crowbar. On the way home I stopped at the garage and picked up a canister of fuel as well as some matches. That was in case plan A didn't work.
I was back in the house by 9.30am. Plenty of time to get to work. I carried my purchases into the kitchen and dumped them on the floor. The backdoor had sun shining through the frosted glass onto the floor and again I had that feeling that the night-time visits by the beast were simply an indicator I had gone of the deep end. But I had to see it through now for better or worse. And the gash on my hand was no illusion.
I unlocked the backdoor and opened it wide.
The outside handle was still mildly sticky and was burning off in the sunlight. It gave a decaying smell of fungus and rotting dank flesh. What was more alarming was the slime on the pane of the glass. It might simply have been pressing its face against the door, but it looked more as if it had been pawing it. The penny may have not totally dropped for the creature, but it was teetering on the edge.
The path was covered in more trails of slime, giving of that same decaying mould smell. More insects littered the path; some half-dissolved in the trail of slime. With some disgust, I noticed some of their legs still waved aimlessly from side to side, as is some unknown quantity were still keeping them alive.
I walked back to my pile of tools, picked up the crowbar and headed for the door of the shed.
The padlock was still on the door, but I didn't pause to wonder about the paradox of the locked door.
I got the end of the crowbar under the metal hinge and tugged as hard as I could. I planted my entire wait on it and held it for 5 seconds before having to stop for breath.
I unhooked the tool and looked at what my handiwork had done. Nothing. Some of the paint was scratched, but the impossibly old looking padlock and hinge had not moved a centimetre.
I planted my feet more squarely, standing in the ooze that was still on the ground with some distaste (and did I feel I move slightly when I stood on it? I think I did), took a deep breath and placed the crowbar as firmly as I could in the gap between the padlock and the door.
Then, gritting my teeth, I pulled and this time I didn't stop. My muscles were as tight as piano wire, my heart was beating in my head, and I was shaking like a tuning fork. And still it would not give. I held it; I pulled even though I was in agony. Then something popped in my shoulder and I cried out in agony and dropped onto the grass beside the shed, exhausted and defeated.
The crowbar hung jammed behind the padlock, until it gradually slipped out and landed on the concrete with a sharp metallic noise, half of it lying in slime.
I lay back on the grass, still wet with morning dew, and tenderly felt my arm. It was a muscle that had given way, betrayed me in my hour of need. I winced as I touched a sore spot and forced myself to stand up.
Shakily, I made my way to the kitchen and took 3 paracetemol. I chewed them with out water and looked at the shed. It was time for plan B.
This plan was as simple as plan A. First I picked up the canister of petrol with my good arm and placed it next to the shed. Then I went into the utility cupboard in the house and with some effort managed to drag the stepladders out into the back. I had to use my other arm to help, but I simply ignored the pain and probably caused my arm permanent damage.
I set the ladders up on the side of the shed, then unscrewed the lid of the petrol canister.
I picked it up carefully, putting most of the weight on my good arm and used the other to hold the bottom.
The fumes from the petrol were causing my eyes to water, but I blinked them back and started sloshing the fuel on. I poured a large portion on the door, the wood surrounding the door, the left and right hand sides and most of the back.
There was about a third of the can left, making it easier to carry and handle, so it was no problem climbing up the ladder and sloshing what was left evenly over the roof. By the time I climbed down there seemed to be waves in front of my eyes. Petrol dripped of all sides and large rainbow coloured puddles had formed at the corners.
I hoped none of the neighbours had seen me as they might be mildly concerned at their neighbour setting alight to his shed and decide to phone the police. What did I care. As long as my family was safe, that was the important thing.
I pulled the ladder back, letting it fall on the grass and admired my handiwork. The shed positively gleamed. The petrol was sliding down the window and causing some of the spiders to seek refuge.
I stepped closer and noticed that various insects were leaving, a mass exodus before the flames got them.
I smiled to myself. 'You'd better run, you little bastards, becau-.'
I had a split second to notice the darkness behind the window had rearranged itself, before a mockery of a hand came smashing through the pane and grabbed me by the throat.
It had 3 fat working fingers and 6 stubs, which waggled like maggots, tickling the underside of my chin. I just had time to notice the skin of the arm, which was marbled with blue, green and red colours under its sickly sweet smelling skin was beginning to smoke and bubble.
Then it pulled me through the window, breaking of the remaining shards of glass. One sliced my forehead open and another broke off and dug into my leg. Cobweb and insects stuck to my skin laced with sweat and streaming blood from dozens of cuts.
I coughed as a spider went in my mouth and I groped with my hand to get it out.
The beast dragged me over from some of the sunlight that was filtering through the window to a corner that was dark and threw me into it.
Before the light was blocked out by something covering the window, I had enough time to notice how enormous the inside dimensions of the shed were. I could just make out a hole in the other corner before I lost the light.
And so here I am, trapped in a corner, scared to move, scared to think, to breathe. After the beast threw me in corner and the window was covered covered up with some shawl (a bedspread, a kids bedspread), the creature stood invisible to me, but I could sense its movement, smell that overripe sweet odour and hear its irregular patterned breathing.
There was also the sound of what seemed to be hundreds of insects scuttering around and I know because they crawl all over me. I tried to bat some of them off, but my arm movement seems to attract the creatures' stention so I just let them walk over me.
The cut on my head is throbbing painfully and I can't even feel my leg. My jeans are soaked and sticky and I'm beginning to think that an artery may have been cut.
Only once have I tried to stand up and get out. The creature slithered over and struck me a blow to my forehead which dropped me like a sack. It hovered over me, swaying from side to side, before going back to its corner and slumping down.
I'm fairly sure it's not the same creature that has been visiting my house, which begs the question if there are two, could there be more. And if so were they? I find myself thinking more and more about that hole and wondering were it leads.
I'm so afraid for Sarah and Jimmy. Whets going to happen to them? Whets going to happen to me?
If only I'd brought the matches with me I could burn this place to the ground. But would I even have been able to light anything before the creature came over? I don't know. I don't know. All I can do is wait now.
Sarah and James got back home around 6.00. The first thing she noticed when she opened the front door was how cold it was.
'Honey', she shouted, 'I'm home!'
She walked through to the kitchen with the shopping. Jim wandered through to the livingroom and put the television on.
Tools were lying on the floor haphazardly and the backdoor was wide open. She wondered up and looked out the back.
'Paul?' she shouted out the back. The sun had set and the back was in pitch-black, so she didn't noticed the shards of glass or the stepladder lying partially hidden in the long grass.
She looked around once more before shutting and locking the door. There was afaint smell of petrol as well, but the Waids 2 doors down had an old motorbike that Mr Waid worked on and garage smells usually drifted over the gardens.
She walked back into the hall and noticed for the first time that the cupboard was open and a mop lay half out of it. She wondered for the first time if they had been burgled.
Climbing the stairs, she called on Paul again and went into the bedroom. The bed was neatly made and looked unslept in. She sat on the end of it and thought were he could be. The only sound was the background chatter of voices groom the TV.
The only logical explanation was that he got called of somewhere urgently and forgot to shut the backdoor. But the car was in the frontdrive way so maybe it was a neighbour.
She went down the stairs and looked for a note in every room but she couldn't find anything. Then she went into the kitchen and telephoned every neighbour they were friendly with, which was many because they had just moved in and because of their jobs they never got to know any of them well.
Nobody had seen Paul, but if they saw him they'd let him know she was looking for him. She hung up and decided to make the dinner. She wasn't worried and she knew Paul would have a good reason for his disappearing act, but if he didn't there was going to be hell to pay.
Sarah was wakened by the sound the the 3 sharp beeps from the alarm as the backdoor was opened. She looked at her clock and saw it was 2.38am. If this was Paul rolling in drunk and coming in the back door he'd better be prepared for some serious sweettalking, otherwise he'd be getting a divorce order with his pancakes tomorrow.
She had waited all night for the phone to ring and considered phoning the police, but she knew they said most missing people turn up after 24 hours so she did her housr duties, hoovered ironed (even though it was Pauls turn this week) and kept herself busy with mundane tasks.
Jimmy had done his homework asnd she had told him his father was out with his friends, which he had accepted as a reasonable excuse for his absence. The tools, which she had put in the cupboard, were a mystery though.
She had stayed up 'till midnight and expected to get no sleep before dawn but she had surprised her self by going into a deep slumber.
And now here he was, home at last. She pulled on pants and a T-shirt and was halfway down the stairs when she heard Jim talking to his father.
'Hi son'. It was Paul's voice but it sounded strange, as if he was talking with a mouthful of fluid. She could also smell something, like old fruit in a bin on a hot summer's day.
'Daddy'. Jimmy's voice sounded puzzled now. 'What's up with yo-.'
Her sons' voice was cut-off midsentence. She padded down the stairs and stood in the kitchen doorway.
The kitchen was in complete darkness. Paul was standing in the doorway, silouheted by the moonlight streaming in behind him. There was no sign of Jimmy.
'Hi Sarah' He spoke in that same guttural bubbling way, as if something was caught in his throat.
The rotting smell was very strong now and the coldbreeze seemed to carry voices with it. She shivered involuntary.
'Where's Jimmy?' she said, beginning to shake with the cold and the uncertainty of the situation.
Paul cocked his head to one side. She noticed parts of him were glistening in the light and his eyes almost seemed to be glowing faintly yellow in the dark.
'He's in the shed honey'
He looked her in the eyes.
'Why don't you go and see him'
Paul stepped back, haltingly, stiffly and she could just see Jimmy in the shed. A watery red light seeped out the doorway. He was smiling, but it looked more like a rictus and his eyes were shiny as if he had been crying. They seemed to be pleading for her
She stepped forward slowly. Her feet stood on something sticky and slimy but she didn't care. She needed to be with her son. Paul stepped in behind her, blocking of the kitchen doorway.
'Go on' he said in a flat, dead voice.
Sarah risked a look at him and averted her eyes quickly. Large slick black patches were all over his skin. There also seemed to be a section of his throat missing and black blood dripped out of it.
She walked slowly to the shed doorway, to her son. The faint voices became louder and the light seemed to get brighter. Her feet were sticky now with the strange substance on the path. They itched badly in parts. She held her son's eyes and even when tears, unannounced started rolling down her cheeks, she kept Jimmy in view.
Sarah entered the shed.
Paul closed the door behind them.