Smile Bright

Kevin had dicked around on the computer late into the night often, it was now a common thing to happen since he had nothing to keep him company. His wife had left him with the apartment, his computer, a coffee table and a beat up old gaming chair. His stained and beat up old futon mattress from college days was his bed on the other side of the studio but other then that it was barren. He had never taken down the Christmas lights that had been hanging in the window. Why bother? It would have driven her crazy, tacky she had called it. Currently they acted as a kind of night light for his apartment to cut down on the cost of using the over head lights.

After getting to page 47 of his favorite website full of community posts he had figured it was time for bed. He had already fell asleep once or twice in his chair when watching dash-cam videos from Russia. He quickly checked his friend requests on his profile to see if she had responded to his last barrage of apologizes. Looking at her last words to him he grabbed his room temp beer and took a swig. “Fuck you and everything about you. I hope you die with those monsters you created. You don’t deserve forgiveness, you deserve hell you asinine shit faced wanna be. I hope you rot.”

He had a feeling that she wouldn’t feel any differently any time soon. He powered down his system with that message still up, staring at the words til his screen turned off. He felt the quite and darkness surround him, it crawled across his skin. He felt it all the time now. The same darkness that we all avoid. You don’t look behind you when you shut a door at night in the dark. You feel the footsteps chasing you when you walk up your stairs even though you just checked everything. You can’t unlock your door fast enough in the quite hour of the night. The fear that grips at you even though you know it isn’t real. The fear that you have had as a child and had been hushed away by a caring parent or shouted down by an irate drunk. You always expect it to be there.

This feeling had become common place for him. Walking to his bathroom he removed the night’s drinking from his bladder and didn’t bother flushing. He turned to the sink and washed his hands. He didn’t want to touch his dick hands to his face in his sleep. He turned off the light expecting something to appear in the mirror behind him. Not seeing something he continued out the door pulling it shut behind him. The few times he had left it open he had seen things standing there watching him or crouched on the sink following his breathing. The firm click was a nice reward to know he wouldn’t be seeing anything from that room tonight. He walked over to his futon and placed his phone on the charger. It was completely dead from his constant use in calling and texting his excuses. He dropped it on the bed and walked to the other side of the room to unplug the lights, maneuvering around the empty pizza boxes, beer bottles and general trash he hadn’t bothered with. He memorized his path back to his bed. The room would be thrown into complete darkness once he unplugged the lights that is normally how the shadows visions worked. Only finding him in the dark to whispers unkind words.

He reached down and unplugged the light string, squeezing his eyes closed tight. Allowing his eyes to have time to adjust so he could see ever so slightly. He expected there to be a face or something in front of him when he opened his eyes. He almost had to trick his brain into opening the stubborn eyes. A quick jerk of his eyes reveled the blank wall in front of him. Nothing had changed. Taking a deep breath he turned to make the shuffle walk back to his bed. He was glad nothing had happened tonight, he was so tired from the nights filled with nightmares both believable and impossible. His lack of sleep was part of the reason he felt so jittery. Two more steps and he could just crumple onto his warm nest and hope for the quite sleep that brought nothing to his mind.

Quickly and without sound the shadow slid from behind him and stood to his right. His body froze with terror. Nothing so bold had ever happened before. He quickly tried to pull his imagination back and tell himself is was a box on the table or the tree outside casting a shadow into the room, but the defiant shape and bleak outline of this shadow had ripped each logical thought to shreds. He wanted to run, to jump into bed and cover his head. He knew nothing was in the room. Nothing had come in. He had seen every part of the room before the lights went off. Which is what made him stand firm in place with an icy cold grip grabbing at his heart and lungs. He couldn’t push this away with his mind. He couldn’t force his body to move out a hand or foot. Something almost primal had taken charge and told him that movement would mean death.

He spoke almost in a whisper, “Faker..” not loud enough. The shadow raised a hand toward him. With a raised vigor of helplessness, “FA-aker” stumbling past the fear holding his breath back, but it seemed to have no effect on the approaching hand.

“FUCKING FAKER” he felt as if he had screamed it so loud that anyone in the complex should have heard him. The figure stopped moving. As if someone had taken out a cell phone with a picture of teeth, a broad white smile appeared nearly a foot and a half above him where the head was. Nothing but the beaming white grin that was well to wide for any device or natural figure to have. With teeth slightly pointed and shining. Looking for a snack.

Laura had called the police because she had feared that Kevin had taken to killing himself over their separation. He was a jerk yes but he had never showed signs of someone who would be prone to offing himself. In fact he had on several occasions stated that he thought it was the most cowardly way anyone could leave this Earth. When the calls and texts and private messages had stopped she was relived. He was going to give her the respect of some space to breath and think about things. When she messaged about meeting up, around two weeks later, just to talk. She didn’t get any message back. No response of any kind. Her calls went right to voice mail and she thought that he was being juvenile or maybe he had moved on? This was later proven not to be just her, once she got a call from his mother asking where he was.

The fight had been a big one, and they both believed in forever, but she never expected that he would kill himself. The police had asked her to come to the apartment since she still had a key so that they could go in. She offered to just give the key to them but they told her that like vampires they had to be allowed in. A light hearted joke to try and relive her.

The apartment was dark, blackout curtains had been placed on the few windows to keep out the light so he could sleep in. Piles of trash showed that he took no care of the apartment. The most overwhelming part was the smell. She knew they would find a body. Somewhere there was a rotting body of a man who had given up. She had her nose and mouth covered as tears streamed down her face. The two officers walked around the small room looking for any signs, they tentatively opened the bathroom door and expected to see him there. Nothing.

In fact he was no where to be found. They made the case a missing persons case and brought in a team to see if they could find signs of him anywhere in the room. Everyone agreed that the smell was classic to that of a weeks old rotting corps but he had left no trace. His wallet and keys in his pants on the floor next to his computer. Phone plugged into the wall. The man she had left was no where to be found. For a week they had the apartment closed off as they searched for clues. The case was cold they said. Nothing more to be gained here. So she had a professional cleaning crew come in and remove all the trash and bring it up to new again. Was this her fault? Had she driven him mad? She moved into the apartment and for two weeks she cried. She couldn’t move his computer. Never removed the phone. The police had said it was broken anyway because it wouldn’t power on for them. After such a deep scrub of the apartment the smell was gone. She kept incense and candles lit to keep herself from remembering the stench.

It had been one month. One month when she had started to look for him. She was so tired now. Hearing voices of doubt in her mind all the time. “You will never find him. He got sick of your shit. He is dead and you caused it.”

She cried. Every night she sat on the little white bed an cried.


This hadn’t been a whisper. This was him. His voice.


She frantically looked around. His phone sat on the ground plugged into where he had left it, now glowing brightly. Suddenly the power went out on the block. She was left sitting there on her little white bed, tears now drying to her skin, looking at the bright white light of the phone. The only thing in the room keeping it lit.

“RU-” The phone went black. No light shone anywhere. Her eyes were adjusting to the dark. As she started to get up off the bed to reach for the phone a cold dark hand grabbed her hand. She froze with terror. She knew this hand. The hand she held many times, on a date, on her wedding, on the news of her mother’s death. She knew it was him, cold and calm. She knew he wasn’t here. “It will hurt so much, and I am sorry.” She knew his voice. She wanted to scream, to run but nothing would work. The hand held tighter as a black shadow slid into her view from behind her and smiled.


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