Elliott Merriner's Nightmares; 1: LACY
It started with the girl. Curled up in a ball on the bed of blue sheets. Sleeping, I think. She was hissing as she slept. Hissing or growling or I don’t know... but the sound resonated. I remember I truly cared for her. It's not that she was my daughter, but she may have been. I leaned over her, just to see her. She opened her eyes... it wasn’t her in there. She kills me. I don't know how, but I died; that much I know.
Before this, she was just a girl. We were in this house. Four of us. The girl and I, and two men; family or close friends is what it felt like. Their frameless faces I recognized, but as of this moment I wouldn't dare to describe; I have no idea of their features.
The house was wood all around. Hardwood floors, hardwood walls, tables, chairs – all hardwood. Stained? Everything had the faint touch of red.
A second floor balcony overlooked the living room which lead to the kitchen.
Basic, but the house seemed like a maze. Every room or hall was eating memory; relearning every corridor as though it were the first time being there.
A door beneath the balcony is open. It’s too dark to see inside. Chaotically black. I don’t know why, but something is one off. I don't recall this door. I'm still learning this house. A knife hangs from a string in the doorway. I shut the door. A sense of urgency. It felt like the demons were already inside. They can’t escape. Do they want to?
She must have been only twelve. "We can’t leave her alone," I said. "Something’s gotten a hold of her. I don’t know how, but I know there’s a demon inside of her." She’s very quiet. I don’t know how, but I’m going to help her. I’m going to save her.
The others listened but they didn’t hear me. They didn’t understand, and thus, they dismissed. I told them someone has to have an eye on her at all times. They heard, and they dismissed assuming foolish paranoia.
I wander around the red house and find the kitchen in shambles; destroyed. The pantry door ripped off its hinges leans lazily on the broken table nearby. The refrigerator disemboweled. Broken dishes and glassware. Cabinets in disarray.
I call everyone. I ask everyone, "who did it?" They deny any part. No one heard a thing. Nor did I, yet the damage screamed 'adult'. Rhetorically, facetiously, I ask her, the girl, if she did it, thinking – knowing she didn’t. Too small, too delicate.
She responded, “Yes, I did it.” The only time I ever heard her voice – angelic yet with a nuance of ... well – like it’s wrapped with sandpaper.
The door beneath the balcony is open again - Too dark to see inside. A noose dangles in the doorway. I couldn’t tell if it was inside or outside the door. I slam it shut.
There was always something happening. Something wrong - off. I’m not letting her out of my sight. I won’t lose her. Protect her at all costs.
I pick her up and carry her wherever I go. The others ask me why I carry her.
“Because I won’t let her go.” I think that’s what I said. Something like that. It was a slew of explanation that happened in an instant of layered cross-talk. A dissertation in a blender.
In my arms, over time, she’s morphing. Nuanced, subtle. Into something horrible. I care. I worry. I'm vigilant in stagnation. She bleeds from orifices and places I cannot see. Bewildered; I do not know how to save her. She breathes heavily. She never struggles and she never screams. Never seems to be in pain, but I know she can’t bear it. At times, she latches onto me. A primal physical call for help. Other times, she’s reserved, not limp in my arms, just... reserved.
My love for this little angel. A little angel that’s becoming a little monster. A demon. But how?
Everything has fallen apart. The others are oblivious.
Always something happening... I don’t know, but at the same time I know.
She’s curled up in a ball on the bed with blue sheets. She’s sleeping. Hissing or growling or I don’t know. On a pink post-it note I write “Lacy” and place it on the right side of her face. Her little cheek.
On another note, I write something to the affect of “Lucifer.”
She opens her eyes.
I am small.
I wake up. Carrying this little devil with me...