Friday, October 28, 2011

The Specter's Gaze

By TLCoston

It was a night like this many years ago.
The full moon bright and the wind shuddering my abode.
I was a boy of ten, lying awake in bed, listening to the gust and scratch, scratch, scratching of the old oak’s branches on my window.

It was a small room that my brother and I shared.
He asleep and I most certainly aware.
Our two beds lay just an arm length apart. How I envied him.
He who easily slept, while I lay awake fearing the shadows.

On the far wall, a moonlit macabre play advanced,
as the wind howled and skeletal branches danced.
I tried to ease my mind by praying for sleep;
but was denied by whispers and moans and the scratch, scratch, scratching on my window.

I remember that night for it is always there.
The night of the specter who had taken me unaware. I was startled … no, I was scared.
This stranger who stood at the foot of my bed looked more alive than shadow;
he who was looking out my window.

His mien was not kind. His attire out of date.
This much I could make.
I tried to deny. I tried to reason.
But this specter … this ghost was beyond all that I could know.

My body became rigid and limbs ached.
Sweat beaded and rolled down my legs.
My breath I tried to measure and control; hoping to become very small.
And all the while I prayed that this ghost not avert his gaze from outside my window.

Surely, I thought this was my imagination.
That this specter … this ghost would go as it had come.
I darted my eyes away to the wall. But only skeletal branches did shone.
I glanced back onto him again, this specter… this ghost who was looking out my window.

As I dared to look away, the specter averted his gaze.
And it was upon me he smiled, a most mischievous smile.
My eyes widened and heart pumped in terror, for this specter … this ghost was most certainly aware that I existed. And all pretence was blown.

I closed my eyes hoping he would go away,
only to find out that he refused and stayed.
And this little game we did play for some time,
me and this specter … this ghost who no longer stared out my window.

The final time, I opened my eyes he was gone.
It was not relief, but dread I felt for I knew he had knelt beside me.
My heart thumped - thumped as, I slowly turned and there inches from my face a
malevolent gaze shown.

I cried and leapt onto my brother’s bed
And pulled the ceiling light string.
And all was quiet except for me and my sibling’s slumbering breath
and the scratch, scratch, scratching on the window.

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