Night Lights – Part Three

iPhone Chilling

That night the branch is scraping my window more than ever. Sleeping pill packets litter my bedside table. At one point the silhouette of the landlord is projected on the curtain clambering around outside the window, but whatever he’s doing doesn’t help.

My phone flashes and hums in three short bursts against the top of my shelf, its body rotates around with the vibration. I’m ready for this. I throw back the covers and move over to it.

NO WONDER YOU CANT SLEEP AT NIGHT YOU BASTARD.

I squint at the glowing screen, thinking, Wow, a talking phone. But there’s more.

HOW DARE YOU TRY GET MY DAD ON YOUR SIDE!

It’s a message from Sarah, dated tomorrow, just past midnight.

I tap out a predictive response, it wasn’t me, I lie.

Soon a reply comes: SO WHO? DON’T TALK SHIT.

My reply goes like this, stop me if you’ve heard it – no one will love this child – not me, not your parents – not even you once you get bored of it. You need a termination.

I press send and put the phone down. It makes a gentle beep to say the message has sent. Just then there’s a thud against the window. I spin around and see the curtains lit up.

I move over towards the window, as I get half way the light switches off and it all goes dark. I stand with my back heel in the air. A scratching begins on the glass, it sounds like a sharp pin being grated back and forth across the surface.

The light comes back on and there’s a figure silhouetted on the curtains. Only this isn’t my landlord.

The shape is too large, distorted. It’s like one of those blobs on a psychoanalysis test where they say, “What do you see now?” Then they show you another, and another. This shape is static, unmoving, burning into the fabric. I stare hard: It’s a stuffed turkey, with a giant big toe on top of the turkey. No, it’s a giant ant whose head is melting, a syphilitic penis waddling on little legs. I give up. Commit me.

The light flashes out again. I step back until I fall onto my bed.

The banging returns, harder this time. The phone flashes and vibrates; the room is lit up a dull green for a second. The thuds rock the bed through the floor. The curtains jump to the sound. Then the phone light goes out and my eyesight goes again.

I pull myself up and grab at where the phone was. I knock it and it topples onto the floor. As I run my hand on the carpet the scratching starts back at the glass. My hand finds the phone, and I lean back on the mattress.

The light returns and I fall backwards. The shape is there, waving its tyrannosaurus limbs in time to the scratching. “So what do you see now?” The phone drops out of my hand again into the covers. The light flicks off.

I go to pick it up, but grab the quilt instead, digging my nails into it. I withdraw my legs off the floor and press my back up against the wall, wrapping the duvet around me. The window makes a slight groan then a cracking sound.

Barriers break, rubber can tear or split. Even used perfectly, a condom has a 3% pregnancy rate a year. Don’t even ask what it is typically. Typically it all fucks up for everyone at some point.

It’s dark, but the black fog slowly dissipates as my eyes adjust. All I can hear is my heartbeat… Nothing more. It’s so damn hard to see but suddenly there’s something… Slowly, the curtain is lifting outwards and upwards. For a moment I see the dull normal light from outside and something shine from behind the fabric gate. The curtain flops back down, only it looks like one piece of the curtain has an arm reaching under it. There’s the sound of a dull hum coming from over towards the window.

I stare out hard. Something is coming towards me.

Far on the other side of the room it moves, in a direct line from the curtain to me. It looks like a thin pipe now, like a rigid tube.

The hum grows into a whoosh. The whoosh and the pipe get to about half way from the window to me. I push back on the wall further. The thing gets closer. The wall gets harder. I pull up the duvet over my eyes.

The whoosh chokes near by my feet. Then the fabric is pulled away from my hand. The hairs on my leg stand up to meet the outside air coming under the bottom of the duvet. The sound of the whooshing returns until it is all I can hear.

Something brushes over my thigh, it is smooth and cold. I almost laugh. There’s a slight pinch as a point touches my side. The whooshing sound drops in pitch it feels like I am being nipped. It started out with Sarah like this, my hand under the table, at her side, feeling her tights, squeezing.

The pinch then pushes deep into my body. I recoil. The whoosh turns into a slobbering slaver – like a spitball being summoned but never expelled. I pull away. I pat my side with my hand and feel a raised part that is weeping fluid. I try to wake up.

The tube brushes against my hand. It is still moving towards me. I twist and contort, reaching out for the phone. This time the tube finds the middle of my stomach, near the navel. Again there’s the drop in pitch of the whoosh and the feeling of a love bite followed by a punch.

The duvet drops off me. I am connected to the window.

The sound of mucus streaming down the pipe stops for a second. Then something large vacates me with a pop and the sloshing continues. My body feels week, depressurized. Pain starts to grow and my vision gets covered in specks of white. I pick up the phone. The screen says, you have received a new message.

Well now, that has never been clearer.

As my intestines uncoil and rush down the tube, the phone says, I WISH SOMEONE WOULD TERMINATE YOU.

PREVIOUS CHAPTER: NIGHT LIGTHS – PART TWO

ALL CHAPTERS

more by JAKE CARTER-THOMAS

Jake Carter-Thomas’s latest novel – Nineveh Fades, or, The Bomb Shelter

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