Smudges

SMUDGES

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all keeping well and keeping creatively fulfilled. Today, I’m sharing a piece of flash fiction. I hope you enjoy it!

Smudges

Max couldn’t sleep. For weeks now, at bedtime, he had found himself transfixed by the strange image of a face in his bedroom window.
     It wasn’t a real face, of course, that would have been impossible with him living on the twelfth floor of a tower block. No, this face was a product of his overactive imagination.
     In his bed at night, he would find himself staring at the smudges on the window which, once the sun had gone down, would present themselves as a skull-like face with hollow features. He knew that his brain was simply creating familiar patterns out of the random marks – he’d read about it, it was called matrixing. But knowing that didn’t help. It still gave him the creeps.
     “Why don’t you try cleaning your windows with an anti-smear cleaner?” his mum suggested over the phone one day. So, Max took himself to the supermarket and bought some.
     After scrubbing his windows spotless, that night he climbed into bed. It hadn’t worked. He could still see the face with its hollow eyes glaring back at him.
     “It seems to me that there must be impurities in the glass itself,” his dad said when he popped round the flowing day. He inspected the windows for himself and even commented on how clean they were.
     “Perhaps,” he told Max, “you should move your bed.” So Max and his dad manoeuvred his bed from the centre of his room over to the far wall, as far away from the window as possible.
     That night, Max tried to see if he could see the strange smudges. His room wasn’t all that big so no matter where his bed was situated, he would still be able to see the window. It did seem to help, however, that he wasn’t looking at it dead on any more. The face was gone and for the first time in weeks, Max was able to drift off to sleep without the creepy sensation he’d been feeling.
     At some point in the night, Max was wakened by the need to use the toilet. Climbing back into his bed afterwards, he lay on his side and looked at the window. Still no sign of the smudges or the face. Finally, he thought, problem solved.
     Turning over onto his other side, he tried to fall back to sleep. But something felt off. It felt as though he was being watched.
     You’re being ridiculous, he thought. It’s because you keep thinking about those stupid smudges. But they aren’t even there any more – or at least if they are I can’t see them from here.
     He squeezed his eyes tighter, hoping his mind would switch off and let him go back to sleep but he just couldn’t shake the feeling. He kept imagining that stupid face glaring at him.
     Rolling back over, he decided to have one last look – just to prove to himself that he was going mad. That there was no ghoulish face spying on him from outside his twelfth-floor window.
     He stared at the glass, squinting his eyes as he did. Part of him felt certain that he would see it. But he didn’t. It was definitely gone. His dad had been right – probably some impurities in the glass reacting to a street lamp.
     As he began to relax, he was struck by the notion that there weren’t any street lamps on this side of the building. Or where there?
     Moments later he found himself going to check. “It could even be the moonlight,” he said aloud to himself, “or the reflection of another building.”
     At the window, he couldn’t see anything. The night was pitch black. He pressed his face to the glass but his eyes wouldn’t focus.
     To get a better look, he slid the window fully open and the moment he did, the blackness of the night shifted – except it wasn’t the night that moved, it was something like a thick, black cloak that smelled of rotting flesh.
     As it moved, Max was startled to see that beneath it was the horrid face he had been seeing for weeks. Or rather, it had been seeing him – watching him sleep. Its hollow eyes stared right into him and all he could see in them was blackness.
     And then, he saw nothing as a bony hand reached forward and grabbed him, pulling him out into the night.
END
As always, thank you for reading my words, I really do appreciate your time!
Until next time,
George
© 2020 GLT


Categories: Creative Writing, Fiction

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  1. Remembering – GEORGE L THOMAS

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