He possessed a cold and still kind of patience. The kind of slow and echoing speech that scared me all on its own. Ever since his arrival, I had been too nervous to leave the house. I could not recall the last time I had spoken to anyone but my nightly guest. I simply could not move past the thought that if I left this house, I might meet him in the dark. Or something like him.
He was a monster to be sure.
But that wasn’t quite right.
“What are you?” I had asked after several days of isolation. Isolation interrupted only by him of course. He answered quite readily in a voice that came from nowhere and from everywhere.
“I am a Dreamshard.”
I nearly asked what a Dreamshard was, but then, he was a Dreamshard.
“Are there more of you?” I asked instead.
His next words pulled the pink from my complexion.
My fears confirmed, I isolated myself still further and opened the door only for him. If I was to live with monsters, I would ensure that he was the only one.
Yet, as the days and nights bled together, I became strangely accustomed to his company. Despite myself, I began to look forward to his visits. A rather awkward situation, like suffering from Stockholm syndrome without the kidnapping. Asking him to keep away never seemed an option, even at the beginning, when his towering form and flickering eyes first appeared at my window.
I rolled my neck in attempt to ease some of the pain as I fetched a cup. I ground my teeth as the pain only intensified.
The faint sound of one long, wooden talon against the glass pulled me toward the front door. Gripping the handle, I searched for that feeling from those first days: a cold dread at my center, juxtaposed with the fiery adrenaline that begged me to run, run, run.As the door swung open, I nodded my silent greeting and gestured inside. It was too late; I had built up a tolerance to that instinctual fear.
Ali Habashi graduated from the University of St. Andrews with a Joint Honors MA degree in English and Management, and currently works in Boston at an academic publisher. She has been published in several academic literary journals, most recently in the Inklight Creative Writing Society’s annual publication. She has recently begun writing horror, and has been featured on The Other Stories Podcast.