William Fitzgerald & the Lurker in the Dark

A man’s voice, thin, querulous, and confused, asked who’s there? It could feel someone there. Who was it, what did it want?

William Fitzgerald said nothing, but seethed internally. He waited actively.

The voice pleaded. Listen to me, it said. Please listen to me. There’s no way out of here, there’s nothing outside of here, there’s only this house. Foote broke through the windows… he smashed them with his body, he threw himself again and again and again against them until they shattered and the glass went into his body and the blood was everywhere and outside the windows there was nothing, there was only the other side of the room, do you hear me, are you still there? There’s no escape from this house, there’s nothing out there.

The voice sobbed, raged, swore, begged, mumbled, until William Fitzgerald’s legs ached from standing poised to take another step. He put his leg down silently. He put his hands in his pockets. The voice ran itself hoarse, then there was silence for an endless stretch of time that William Fitzgerald guessed was really about six minutes. Soft snoring began, and William Fitzgerald softfooted his way toward the noise. He touched the sleeping body lightly with his hands, until he found the head, the chest, the throat, then he put his knee firmly between the chin and the sternum and pressed all his weight against the body. The body flailed and thrashed and clawed at William Fitzgerald, but then it lay still. He counted slowly to three hundred then stood up and put his fingers against the throat. There was no pulse.