Last Night

Last Night

Main Street was like a ghost town, except for one lit storefront.  The dim light that shone out from the lone, small window of McAllistar’s Rare Bookstore was the first thing Chloe saw as she opened her eyes; then the searing pain streaked thru her head.  ‘Where had that stupid dog come from’ Chloe thought as she looked back down the street behind her at what was left of her wrecked Vespa scooter. Chloe headed for the store in hopes of finding someone who could help.  The night was eerily quiet and still; as she approached the lonely storefront the street lights flickered and then disappeared.

As Chloe stood just at the edge of the window with her back pressed firmly to the cold, hard brick facade of the centuries old building a shadow passed the corner of her eye; she wanted to scream, to cry, to run away, she wanted to curl up into a ball and clinch her eyes shut until the sun came up; but she could do none of those things.  Her body betrayed her, completely frozen she could barely manage short sputtering breathes, silent tears began to roll down her cheeks.

Time seemed to stop as the shadow blocked the window snuffing out nearly all the light that came from within; Chloe wondered, was it looking for her, did it know she was just outside, had it seen her already.  Finally the shadow receded back into the store and the cascade of light returned to the deserted street; if the wall had not been there to hold her up Chloe knew she would have certainly collapsed to the ground.

Chloe’s body was shaking as she slowly began to peer inside.  The harshness of the direct light caused Chloe to squint her eyes for a second, and as things came into focus she saw him there…Fergus McAllistar, the withered old man who owned the bookstore; he was standing hunched over a table in the rear of the shop with several old books strewn before him.

Was it possible?  Could it have only been McAllister that had blocked out the light from the window?  Could it simply have been the shadows, and the dark of night, and the fear that had played tricks on her mind?  Chloe raced to huge oak door and rasped her knuckles against its hard weathered exterior; her knocking gave way to pounding, and pleas for help.

The large door slowly creaked open and McAllistar looked at her dumbfounded thru his thick glasses, “What in the world is going on out here?” he asked; looking truly perplexed that anyone would be at his door this late.

“Please” Chloe begged as she clung desperately to the doorway for support, “please help me.  I was in an accident.”

“Of course dear.  Come in.” McAllistar helped the trembling girl thru the doorway, and closed the heavy door behind her with a dull thud. “allow me to gather a few things and I’ll take you to the hospital.”

“Thank you” Chloe responded as she watched the tiny man make his way back to the table at the rear of the shop; though she was inside and protected from the cold night air, Chloe’s body shivered as a chill ran up her spine.

Confusion set in as she watched McAllistar pick a long wooden match up from the table, he mumbled something she could not understand, and then struck the match.  McAllistar lit a candle that set in the middle of the table, as soon as the flame from the match touched the wick of the candle the entire room was plunged into darkness.

“No” Chloe muttered as somehow in the darkness of the room a shadowy figure appeared next to McAllistar.

“It worked, you’re here!” McAllistar gleefully exclaimed as he dropped to his knees, “I’ve brought you an offering.” McAllistar added as he turned and looked towards Chloe.

The dark visage extended an arm towards McAllistar and with the flick of its wrist the old mans body contorted in the most grotesque way; Chloe was nearly sick as she heard what seemed like every bone in the old man’s body break at once before he slumped to the floor.

“Please….no” Chloe whimpered as she sensed the demonic being materialize behind her; she could feel the chill of death that pulsed forth from its core.

“It is okay to be afraid a little one” it spoke in a guttural voice, “life’s no fun without a good scream”.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Written for The Speakeasy

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