Read Short Story: CURTAINS By S. Michael Simms

Read Short Story: CURTAINS By S. Michael Simms

Wild-eyed and groggy, hair a rat’s nest, huge, hairy monster in his tighty whiteys, he paused to look around, assessed the situation, grabbed me by my hair, and pulled me kicking and screaming to the bathroom. The upstairs bathroom had no windows, one door, one sink, one toilet, and one bathtub. The shower curtain was light blue and matched the shag toilet carpeting and the wallpaper. “SIT.”

And I was directed to sit on the edge of the bathtub and “see what it feels like to be trapped in the dark” as he clicked off the switch and slowly closed off the world of light and life to plunge me into solitude and darkness… in front of the curtain. And Makanimit was wasting no time. In fact, at present not only was he very much with me, but he was stronger than ever because… well, I was more afraid than ever,

After all, I’d brought this on myself. He was practically licking my ear with sadistic glee; I could almost envision his wolf-like face, eyes rolling back in ravenous anticipation. The worst part was that old feeling of knowing that he knew I knew he knew I knew he was there…I realized that once the curtain was peeled back it was going to be the end for me, and honestly? I welcomed it. This was torturous.

But after a mini eternity, Dad opened the door, flipped on the light, and ordered me to go clean my room. Why, oh why did I look back on my way out of the bathroom? Hadn’t I learned anything from Lot’s wife? I may not have turned into a literal pillar of salt (I don’t think she did either, if she ever even existed), but the color drained out of me enough for Paddy to tell me I was “white as a ghost” when he saw me again.

And it was like that for years – me finding myself in a dark place with curtains, Makanimit getting ever cozier with my soul. I thought, after about a decade of peace, that I had shaken him off somehow – maybe I’d accidentally said the right prayer or something at church – but when I was about 19 or so I was lying on my back asleep in bed when this being of pure darkness with the stealth characteristics I mentioned before appeared over me quite suddenly.

He planted two pitch black arms on either side of my head, apparently standing on the floor behind me (how stupid had I been exposing my head like that to an open room?), leaned in and “whisper shouted” I’M BACK!!! right in my face, startling me awake… except I wasn’t quite awake. I tried to scream “MOMMY”, but it kept coming out backwards, “MEMA! MEMA!” and Makanimit didn’t move.

My roommate who was in the bunk above my feet (it was the old one-horizontal, one- vertical bunkbed setup) called my name until I woke, and the demon dissipated. I told him what had happened – I told him all about Makanimit, and it freaked him right the hell out. He suggested I find myself some Jesus, “He’s the cure for demons, bro.” But my agnosticism was a roadblock.

That whole year I was plagued with horrible, realistic nightmares – the half-asleep, half-awake kind… the worst kind. I’d switched sides so that my head was under the top bunk and my feet on the open end and I’d discovered some amount of privacy. Enjoying the recent memory of June’s Playmate who I’d cleverly positioned on the boards under the top bunk, I was having a happy little moment for a change when there was a low growl beside my head.

I actually SAW the sonofabitch – looked almost like Gmork from The Neverending Story. Huge, slavering fangs, very lupine features, and exuding pure evil and hunger. I got up so fast that I bumped my head, waking my roommate and knocking the Playmate (who ended up with a very inconvenient rip over one of my favorite bits) off her board. I don’t think I slept a wink at home for weeks after, choosing instead to nod off in school. He was ruining my life.

The horror culminated in a live, daylight encounter when I was 21. I lived on my own at the time in a crappy room I rented out of a Korean lady’s old house, and I was drinking quite a lot, mostly Southern Comfort (you drink some awful stuff at 21) and Natty Ice. On one particularly slovenly afternoon in my messy-assed bachelor pad I was lit up pretty good and watching Faces of Death II. The autopsy scene came on, and it happened to be a well-endowed lady on the slab.