Horror Funny Bedtime

Listening to the soft panting seeping through the thin bedroom wall, a few of Warren Walker’s oddities from yesterday started to make sense to me now.

I gave him a few days to settle in, then invited the new neighbour round. Opening the door, I was struck by how his hirsute frame seemed to occupy of the doorway. Yet in my peripheral vision, I nevertheless detected a synchrony of net curtain twitching over the road.

I’d long past giving a crap what the housewives thought. I am still considered an outsider in this little town, despite having lived here for fifteen years. There are families that have lived here for generations and I don’t expect to ever catch up with them, even if I had nine lives.

So I like to welcome strangers. People may think that’s risky behaviour from a single woman, but they underestimate my age (thank you, water and calisthenics), and with age comes wisdom. And being less inclined to give a toss.

Now I can hear whining. Homesickness, perhaps?

He had been cagey about where he had come from; just saying he needed a “change of scene”. I watched him scooping up the nachos I had put out on the coffee table, ravenously pawing at even the soggy ones, ignoring the fork I’d placed on a napkin for him. No, he didn’t have a job lined up, he said, but he had a lead from a security firm that were going to interview him for a doorman position. He certainly had the brawn for it. I tried not to let my gaze linger too long on his thick forearms or the triangle of chest his shirt exposed. I bet he had a hard time tanning with all that thick hair covering everything. But personality-wise? He seemed so skittish. Perhaps it was nerves; being in a stranger’s home. I didn’t think it would bode well for him if he were tasked with breaking up fights between 20-somethings. He didn’t look that far away from his teens himself.

I did most of the talking, but that I didn’t mind. Being on my own for so much of the time and then having the opportunity to speak – well, it was a surprise to even hear my own voice at first, but anything to pierce the cloud of trepidation emanating from this amber-eyed man perched on the edge of my sofa like someone was about to scream at him to jump off at any moment.

After I’d prattled on awhile, bringing him up to date with bin collection days, next-door-but-one’s son with the new motorbike, neighbouring churchgoers and pubgoers, I began to run out of steam. I glanced at the clock – so as not to be goggling at the sight of Warren licking salsa off his fingers – and he took it as a sign to start making tracks. Or rather, pounced upon it.

As I walked him to the door I wondered if the little community I’d chosen to settle down in after many years of aimlessly drifting had turned me into a bit of a bore.

Warren snapped me out of it by raising a finger to point at the moon.

“Moon looks so bright here compared to where I lived before. Looks like it’s gonna be a full one tomorrow.”

I already knew it would be, because I have an app that tells me. I murmured agreement, then bade him goodnight. Ghostlike flutterings from windows let me know others had been waiting to see when we’d go to bed, and to whose.

I can hear whimpering now. Between that and the moonlight beaming onto my bed (why do I never remember to close the curtains?) I’m in for a restless night. Well, with that and the fact I can’t stop replaying the scene from earlier.

I had been making the preparations the tracker app nudges me to do, then by the time the moon was at its fullest and brightest I turned my attention to my garden. I liked to walk out there, looking for things at play in the shadows while others preferred to sit in and bathe in the glow of their television screens. I see it as my night-time meditation. A saunter around the garden usually results in a good night’s sleep, I have found. I also like to sit on my bench and indulge in some singing. I thought my crooning was quiet, melting into the background noise of traffic from the main road. That was until the night I heard the rattle of a window opening and a cry of “SHUT UP!” before it slammed closed again.

Still, it didn’t stop me.

This night, however, I had competition. I could smell it before I heard it. Something off, something musky in the air. With so little ever really happening in this neighbourhood, one’s senses become attuned to the slightest changes in rhythm.

A howl then shattered the tranquillity.

I leapt up from the bench. And waited. It wasn’t far off. It sounded like it came from next door. But Warren hadn’t mentioned bringing a pet with him. A stray, perhaps?

Another howl, then greedy snuffling noises. I stood where I was, frozen save for the flickering of my ears. A few unreasonably lengthy seconds of silence passed and then I saw a nose emerge from the hedge separating my place from Warren’s. I realised, as I listened to the rasp belonging to the mouth under the nose, that I had been holding my breath. My lungs ached.

Although that pain was probably nothing in comparison to what the owner of the arm dangling out of the werewolf’s mouth was experiencing.

I gazed into familiar amber eyes, tiny torch lights of a fairy search party entangled in the leaves. We regarded each other in mutual understanding for a few moments. My gaze dropped to a gradually lengthening string of saliva curling out of his preoccupied mouth, twinkling silver in the moonlight. Warren turned tail, taking his prize away to be gnawed, before presumably destroying the evidence by burial.

I jumped down from the tree fright had sent me flying into, landing nimbly on all fours as always. Going into the kitchen to quench my thirst with a bowl of water, I remembered the milk I’d purchased earlier, now held prisoner in a fridge I wouldn’t be able to open again until morning.

Oh god, what’s he barking at now?

I wonder who the victim was. Perhaps he’d be open to suggestions for next time. I can think of a certain motorbike owner that nobody would really miss. I might put a note through Warren’s door indicating as such. But best to give it a while; in his current condition he would only end up chewing it to bits.

October 30, 2020 17:55

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Tom .
03:45 Nov 20, 2020

This was a really fun take on the prompt. I loved the werecat twist. I had pictured it as just the ravings of a lonely lady entertaining a stray dog and humanising him. I was wrong. The internal monologue flowed so smoothly and you could really hear her voice. I am terrible at grammar and a couple of sentences in the first quarter seemed to need a tidy but other than that it was fine. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.


Karen McDermott
11:03 Nov 20, 2020

Thanks for the feedback, Tom! Hah, in hindsight the idea of the lonely lady and the stray pooch sounds a better take, love that idea :)


Tom .
14:05 Nov 20, 2020

No, not at all.


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