This all began yesterday as I was walking back from The Bar. I was fortunate or smart enough years ago to choose an apartment a block away from my favorite bar and was on the familiar path back home. I didn’t plan on such a cold October night and buried my hands in the pockets of my gray hoodie as I tried to walk as brusquely as possible without stumbling into someone’s garden. The fact that the walk back was on a slight incline made my efforts a greater challenge, evened out with the knowledge I had made this walk many, many times before. I passed by the house with the shit load of lawn ornaments raping my eyes when, out of the corner of said eye I saw them, peeking out from behind the parked black Mazda in the driveway; a pair of eyes.
Of course as soon as I focused all my attention the eyes disappeared back into the ether. I blew it off as just a drunken delusion and finished the walk home, passing out immediately on my couch.
The next morning, I peeled my cheek from the pool of drool collecting on my faded brown couch and shuffled into the bathroom. I leaned forward, placing my right hand on the wall for balance and let loose an hour’s worth of piss into a toilet that hadn’t seen a cleaning since the time I accidentally dropped my toothbrush. As I waited for the stream to lose steam I glanced towards the mirror to my left and thought I saw them; a pair of eyes.
This surprise caused my aim to falter and drops of piss scattered amongst the rim and the floor below. When I looked again the mirror was empty and I shook out. My head felt like a medicine ball upon my neck and the stress was felt down the chords and into my shoulders. This was going to be a long day. Thankfully, the best cure for a hangover is unemployment and I envisioned the only time having to leave my couch today was to grab a ham and swiss on rye from the deli. Take it easy, nap a lot and I could be back at The Bar by nine o’clock. I walked to the kitchen to pour a mean bowl of Frosted Flakes when I felt something underneath my kitchen table; a pair of eyes.
This was getting ridiculous so I purposely bent down and looked underneath the battered yellow linoleum table that had probably come with the apartment when it was built in the sixties. Nothing to see. Nothing to see except for the dust bunnies and a couple of pennies that had fallen face down. This was a mother of a hangover and as I sat on the worn checkerboard tiled floor, I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hands for a couple of seconds, letting the purple squiggles dance in front of the black background. “Why the hell would I drink Mind Erasers like a fucking college kid?” I thought to myself. “Probably because I wound up hooking up with one of the college girls two hours later,” I announced out loud, at the same moment I definitely saw something staring at me in the living room floor. This caused me to jump, resulting in my already splitting head slamming into the undercarriage of the yellow linoleum table. Those fucking eyes were back!
Whether it was the blow to the head or having enough of all the fun, I stomped into the living room to prove to the irrational part of my brain this was one massive trick of the eyes. Just like there was nothing underneath the table, or in the bathroom mirror or behind the car last night. This was fucking ridiculous. There was only one reasonable solution to my growing paranoia—I needed a cigarette. That would calm everything down. I went to my coffee table, found a loosie waiting for my left hand and walked outside.
In another life I would have smoked in the middle of my living room, but two evictions tend to neuter your lesser impulses.
Standing on my porch, I lit up and surveyed the land. Ten in the morning is a serene time of day. The majority of the world is at work or school, leaving royalty like myself to rule the realm. Two drags in and I could feel the tension melt from my shoulders. Five puffs and things were back to normal. I finished the rest, reflecting again on the college girl from last night and hoping I could find her amongst the graveyard that made up my cell phone contacts. She definitely gave me her number; I knew that for a fact. I turned around to go back inside when I would swear on a stack of Bibles there was something staring at me in the open mail slot on my door; a pair of eyes.
This time I yelled and looked around to see if anyone saw my lunacy. That’s what I was dealing with — absolute lunacy. I considered calling someone, but what was I going to say? I keep seeing a pair of eyes and it’s bugging me out? Can you please come over and make sure my apartment isn’t filled with bogeymen?
Fuck that. I’m twenty-six, I handle my own shit.
Keeping a firm grip on reality, I went the rest of the day without incident. That night I went to The Bar and returned without any monsters in the rear view mirror. The bullshit was over, the adult took over and I could resume the rest of my life without looking over my shoulder. That night I slept in my own bed without incident.
The next morning I zombie walked into the shower, discarding clothes along the path. By the time I shimmied off my boxers and kicked them into the hallway the October chill went up my spine and I hurriedly turned the shower on, with the intent of blasting the hot water until steam filled the room. I reached for the valve and screamed. There, behind the shower curtain; a pair of eyes.
The shock was so swift I lost my balance and fell backwards into the shower, pulling the shower curtain down on top of me like a death shroud. The hot water blasted my partially covered body raw as my head slid down the pink tile and into the basin, a trail of blood following. I was seeing stars and fading fast and desperately tried to will an arm upward to shut the valve to no effect. My brain was mush and my left arm, the closest to the knob, was entangled in the curtain. I let out a moan that was meant to be a cry for help and despite the hot water barraging my face opened my eyes a crack. That’s when I finally saw Him, no longer just a pair of eyes.
He wasn’t just watching me.
He was turning me, face down in the shower.