Every night for the past week, as my eyelids grow heavy and I slip into unconsciousness he comes out, his hands grasping the metal railing, rising one inch at a time.
He peeks out his head first. Black and featureless, a pair of cobalt-blue eyes set high up where the eyebrows should be. Then out come his shoulders, then his chest until he’s fully upright. He looks like a store mannequin; sexless, starved. I know I’m sleeping but my eyes are open and I see him, but I can’t bring myself to talk to him, or reach out to him. The gaunt man just stands there, his eyes transfixed to mine, his breathing shallow and ragged.
On Monday, the gaunt man reached out a thin hand with long fingers and pulls back the sheets covering my legs. He drags his fingers across my heels or up the soles of my feet, leaving long trails of red that stain my sheets. It felt like a nightmare, the kind you can’t wake yourself out of.
Tuesday, I caught a glimpse of him in my bedroom mirror. His back was the same as his front. His cobalt blue eyes found mine in the dark room and just watched me, as I slept. He dragged his fingers across my legs all the way down to my toenails, scratching them.
There’s always pain in the morning. There’s blood on the sheets, scabs on my legs.
He loves mirrors, this I know. He likes to look at himself, when he comes out from under the bed. Wednesday, he just stood and stared at his own reflection, as if he were in love with it. His front though, his front stayed fixed at me.
Thursday, his eyes moved, shifted across his face until they were in just the right place. When this was done, he crawled into the bed beneath the covers and lay beside me. The way he felt, when my hand brushed his skin, it made me think of rotted shellfish in a freezer drawer.
Friday morning, he was gone. My feet were a bloody mess. Just trying to stand up felt like a dozen needles running through the soles of my feet. I saw him in the puddle I made on the floor. Don’t ask me how I could tell, but he looked like he was smiling. I went to see a doctor about it, he sent me to see a shrink. I’ve showered three times already, but I still smell like rotten shellfish.
Friday night, he was leaning over me as I slept. He looks proper now, bit round in the waist, same as me.
Saturday morning, I missed the appointment with the shrink. It’s hard to type now that he’s in my monitor’s reflection. He’s dragging his fingers across the back of my hands, up my arms all the way to my shoulders. I can’t see the letters all that well, for the blood. My eyes are all wrong.
He’s fading now, but from the creaking of the boards in the next room, I know he’s in the bed. Don’t ask me how I know this, but it’s his bed now. Tomorrow, he’ll be in my rearview mirror. Come Monday, I’ll be the one standing behind him as he looks at his reflection in the bathroom stalls.
I look at my reflection. My eyes are cobalt blue.