“Are we square or what?” he shouts into the swirling chaos of shadows outside his house. He stands in the doorway bracing for more and holding his bleeding hand, wrapped in a burgundy kitchen towel. Staring out into the blackness outside he feels an icy fear radiate from his chest and wonders if he might be going crazy.
The blackness shifts and moves in front of his eyes pulling closer together. His eyes widen as he sees a face shape form out of those swirling shadows that never stop moving. Even with it pulled so tightly together, he can see faintly through to the other side; it’s “skin” seeming to crawl like individual living creatures. It, this living darkness, flew straight for him stopping maybe an inch from his face. He could smell death and decay so strong he thought surely he would lose his supper. That twisting madness floated there right in his face almost nose to nose as his fear grew. His mind runs this way and that looking for an out, for a way to save himself. He knows, feels this is it. He’s done for. A goner. That’s when his bladder gives way, a warm puddle forming at his feet.
The face throws itself back in screaming laughter. One second it is there filling his entire field of vision, then next it flies back howling. He feels himself flushing, growing red and hot, and it howls harder pissing him off in the process. He is standing in his own damn house being laughed at like a fool and bleeding from where his pinky used to be.
“It was just a few hundred thousand dollars from people that never fucking missed it, you bastard!” he screams in desperation shaking his bleeding fist in the air and immediately regretting it.
The darkness answers with so, so many high-pitched screeches as it breaks down into thousands of ravens that fly straight at him knocking him down, pecking, screaming, and shitting on him in the process. For a moment, everything is quiet then the blackness swirls again dragging debris from the ground into its midst in his front yard.
From his position on floor, he sees and lifts himself up on his knees. He puts his hands together in front of his face almost in prayer, “please. Please! Just… I… I’m sorry. I never should have done it. I never should have taken that money from my clients. But it’s gone. I swear it’s all gone. I don’t have any to give back.”
Growls emanate from the swamp of living night growing louder and deeper as it shifts and moves tighter once more until a bear forms, black as coal and impossibly large. It seems like intangible mist and solid muscle all at once as it stands tall on its hind legs and roars again before coming back down on all fours preparing to change.
He screams howling out imsorryimsorryimsorry over and over again. His maimed hand is still cradled against his chest as he pushes himself backward into the house as the bear charges forward. He gets up running for the pantry door making it inside milliseconds before the bear swiped for his face. He held the door closed with one shoulder bracing himself against it.
He moves his ear close to the door. There’s no sound. Nothing. Not a hum from the appliances or a creaky footsteps from the bear on the floorboards he should have replaced years ago. No growls. Nothing. The weight of that quiet, the unknown, pushes down on him second by second by second.
He wonders again what is happening to him, how this, this…thing knows what he did with the money. He thinks about the letter he got in the mail, the black bordered envelope with the elegant script sealed with a red wax symbol. The card inside was ebony matte cardstock with vermilion-colored glossy lettering embossed on the front.
It said, “What you stole you must return or it will be taken from you one way or another. –K”
He hadn’t thought much of it at the time, but it comes back to him now in the quiet. Maybe whatever K was had taken what it came to take. He slides down the door with a sense of relief taking in a deep, shaky breath laughing uncontrollably that it was all over.
He stops abruptly, though, when he sees everything around him darkening, the shadows growing thicker, moving, swirling around him, filling the pantry little by little.
K isn’t done yet after all.
So, yay, we are back to Sunday Confessions! I am totally stoked about this. Today's prompt was Square. check out the other linkups below as well as on the More Than Cheese and Beer page. And if you want to do your own SC post, hit the link up below to link to your own blog!