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What Was Seen Ahead Was Seen Below

Princess Anderson

    When I opened the door, the monster stood still. It blended in with the silent and inky bark of the trees which clouded the blue summer skies that I had not seen since I moved to this house. Wait summer? Or was it fall? The time that I have spent in this house passes slowly, slower than it did when I lived back in my dingy apartment. The apartment that smelled like must and the carving of a dead animal when I had first moved in and the middle-aged landlord had continuously reassured me that the apartment was their newer ones.  

    I’m pretty sure he did that in order to snatch the little bit of pocket money I stashed from my parents to fuel their alcohol addiction, something I knew they would they wouldn’t stop. Especially after they stopped apologizing for the glass shards that comfortably lodged themselves in my face after they had a small argument. I remember I was sitting on the couch one night after bandaging the new scar above my right eye, the bleeding stopping after the third wrap. They were arguing once again but instead of blankly staring at the ceiling and pretending that it was the starry and indigo trail that would safely lift me up and guide me on a brightened path, I looked at the family portrait that shattered on the ground upon impact. The picture looked so abnormal compared to the events transpiring now, the picture having warped smiles instead of the habitual unhinged jaws that my parents have to scream obscenities at each other. While the photo looked like it took place in a fresh and sweet-smelling grass field, I smelled the burning and bitterly scent of drunken alcohol. I’m snapped out of thoughts after the landlord slammed the door, though the aftermath sounded like the door was going to fall off it’s hinges. I paid no mind to the deterioration of the apartment and unpacked the rest of my belongings, which consisted of a number of notebooks, one intact stuffed toy, and a few of my chargers to my busted and cracked phone. I continue on with my life, finishing high school with a barely functioning mental state and looking into getting accepted for an internship.  

    Some of my friends had researched the internship with me and we found that it included renting a house for their interns to stay in order to assist in some kind of study. A small percentage of my friends rapidly nodded their heads to the idea, probably more focused on the ten-thousand-dollar paycheck interns would get for every month they stay. The other percentage narrowed their eyes in suspicion and doubt, probably more focused on how the house in question is in the middle of a forest, no known civilization for miles. While being concerned for my safety was a declining factor, being paid generously for just staying in that house outweighed it majorly. A few days afterward, I nervously sent in my shady resume to the equally as shady company and to my surprise, they accepted my resume fairly quickly just a week after. No physical interview, no fees, and even more unexpected, no question about my definitely wrong age. I was probably around sixteen when I turned in my resume, but I most likely assumed that it was because I graduated high school early. So, with haste, I packed up the few things that recently took home within the apartment that I had rented a year prior. I remember the landlord having a somewhat disappointed look on his wrinkled face as he sighed and wished me good luck. I rose my brow in confusion and a bit of disbelief, considering that this was the same man who was willingly to kick me out about two months ago because I was a month late on rent, his hand accustomed to feeling the crunch or jingle of money at the appropriate time. Whether he cared for my wellbeing or not, I grabbed the dingy cloth strap of my bookbag with one Kirby pin attached at the center and eagerly hopped into the sleek black car despite having somewhat low expectations for what the house may look like. The man who drove was silent and strangely had one strand of his hair a skylight blue. 

    Skylight blue?  

    Like the skylight blue of the sky.  

    A large paw crunching the leaves below the ground jolted me out my then obscure memories as I fearfully looked up to face the creature. It unhinges its jaw as its macabre moan escapes its throat, the breathe it exhales smelling familiar. Something akin to a bitter and burning feeling. My hand clasped over my open-mouth, preventing me from even gasping. Is this what it feels like to be truly mortified of something so familiar yet veiled under the darkened curtain to make it unknown? I glanced at the creature once more, it’s colossal body refusing to take a step forward as if it had been stalking its prey and eerily biding its time to swiftly strike to take their life. It was cloaked with the bark of the trees, wordlessly welcoming the dark and murky cloak the forest had gifted it. The chalky, blank, and widened eyes of the beast penetrated the blackened fur-no scales-maybe skin that completely surrounded its figure. I carefully glimpse up and see it has antlers similar to that of a deer. I remember the deer plush that sits on my desk in the house, the little guy surviving the multiple times my dad tried to burn it in the furnace for taking too long to get his beer. Though with all that time to think, I noticed that the eyes that once burned into my skull and memories disappeared into the dark. I slightly fidget before everything went dark.  

    The house was an empty hunting ground once more. 

Fall 2023

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