After a hard work day and a long car ride, Harper’s home was finally in sight. Exhausted, he finally pulled into his usual parking spot. It was another late night at work, and Harper pushed into his apartment after fumbling awkwardly with the keys. He flicked on the light and shielded his eyes as the living room was illuminated in a yellow hue. Dropping his bags on the floor Harper sighed as he gazed into the empty fridge. Looks like he’d be skipping dinner again tonight; he silently hoped that there would still be cereal for morning.
It made Harper disheartened to see the state of his apartment, with those cracks in the drywall underneath the loosely hung wallpaper. His very home seemed to droop in around him as he examined the water-damaged ceiling. Unfortunately for Harper, no one ever came to remove the black mold that was starting to form in the corner, no matter how many times he brought it up with his landlord. It gave him a terrible cough that he carried with him throughout the day, adding another terrible layer to his grim work weeks. Soon, a pair of small footsteps began to approach him.
Harper looked to his hall, startled, before relaxing. “Hey buddy, what are you doing still up?” he said drowsily.
“I couldn't sleep, can you tuck me in?” His innocent voice made Harper smile wearily.
“Sure thing buddy. You get back in bed, I'll be there in a minute.”
He replied, “Okay dad,” and with that he moved back into the bedroom, his shaggy hair standing up strangely from the way he must have been lying.
Harper went through his nightly routine of showering and brushing his teeth before retiring to bed. “Alright bud,” he said hoarsely, as he pulled the covers tightly over him and flipped the pillow over before gingerly kissing his forehead.
“Goodnight kiddo, I love you,” he said as he climbed into bed next to him.
“I love you too,” he said as he rolled over. Finally, Harper’s heavy eyes shut and he relaxed. The bed felt softer than usual, and he began to drift off to sleep until a faint noise made his eyes snap open; what sounded like an elastic stretching and faint movement of air. To Harper’s horror, it dawned on him that he never had a child. What Harper couldn't imagine was what was lying next to him in the bed. It was so heavy that the entire bed sunk in towards it.
He was petrified as thick strands of saliva fell onto the back of his neck, making his hair stand on end. Hot, sticky breath clung to his skin, and a low animalistic growl escaped the creature behind him. Spindly, black appendages stretched out in front of him and firmly planted onto the bed, leaving dark stains on every surface they touched. These appendages had multiple joints each. They cracked and twitched with every slight movement behind him. More saliva dripped onto his neck and back. Harper’s shirt was clinging to his back and his whole body was shaking.
He noticed the thing had stopped moving. Everything was completely silent, the bed stopped creaking, traffic outside stood still, the clock stopped ticking, and he could no longer hear the rain, only his own heartbeat drumming right in his ears. He finally gathered the courage to roll over and look, only to stare into the gaping mouth of a terrible monstrosity. Its throat, seemingly being an abyss in the center of deep, red flesh, overlapped and twitched inside the mouth, oozing saliva and other liquids all on layers upon layers of jagged teeth. Harper exhaled as a flash of lightning illuminated the room. An inhuman gurgling screech escaped the monsters gaping mouth and it moved with impossible speed for its size.
All Harper could do was close his eyes, his last sensations being a tingling at his neck, the sounds of crunching, snapping, and slurping filled his ears, until it all began to fade.
Hunter Saavedra is a junior in high school and enjoys writing in his spare time. He mainly writes sci-fi and horror stories, and enjoys the genre. He would like to thank his friends for encouraging him to keep writing.