Read Short Story: CURTAINS By S. Michael Simms

Read Short Story: CURTAINS By S. Michael Simms

Okay, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but I didn’t have any porno tapes at the time. The closest thing I had was pausing that scene in The Fly where that lady who Brundle picks up at the bar is in her panties and spreads her legs just before Geena Davis bursts in with her “Be afraid…be very afraid” bullshit. That and the Jewish chick in Monty Python’s Life of Brian who I’ll be honest was a little hirsute for my tastes. But that chick on the slab…

I mean, boobs are boobs, right? So yeah, scumbag that I am I pause the movie at the appropriate spit… err …spot, and I’m about to take care of some business when I hear this hiss coming from behind the curtains covering my closet in lieu of a door. I knew exactly who/what it was, and I hightailed it right out of there. And for the first time he followed me. FOLLOWED ME!

I booked it down the stairs, out the front door, down the street, the thing following me the whole way… who would have thought so many houses would have closed curtains? Lean-tos? Van windows? I had a friend stop me and ask if I was okay. I was not okay, I informed him. The damn thing was after me. Makanimit was after me and my time had come at last. I kept sensing him. Seeing him. He was relentless. I told my buddy I’d been whackin’ it to Faces of Death, and he suggested I turn myself in.

And so, I did. The folks at the loony bin did their best to convince me that no demon dog shadow man was after me, but every time I saw a set of curtains in an unusual spot, I knew… I knew he was just waiting for an opportune time to strike. I got my meds. I got out. I made it a couple of years without incident, but the next time he came I was lying back in the seat in my car having another private moment when he got all wolfy again in the backseat. I looked in the mirror and saw him back there… grinning.

Don’t know how I mustered up the courage to get back in that car, but I sold it not long after… which made me homeless. Yeah, things hadn’t been going very well for me. Jersey has a high cost of living, and it’s tough to get a job, especially when you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, just one of the many perks of demonic oppression. I made a pretty good homeless guy but a lousy employee.

The best I could do was a gig at the porno store in Lakewood. I may have hit rock bottom, but at least I’d be surrounded by naked chicks all the time… well, that was my reasoning anyway. Turns out the charm of naked chicks on boxes is soon overshadowed by creepy, real-life dudes hanging around raising their frickin’ eyebrows all the time. Even total immersion in a cornucopia of porn and sex toys couldn’t erase the shame of getting handed a bucket and sponge and told to go clean the booths.

Sleeping in the alley behind the porno store and waking up to a mini-Makanimit sitting on my chest was the last straw. I called my folks who lived in the Midwest and had my dad come pick me up. He did, I got some Jesus, I got my head out of my ass, I settled down, I got married, had kids, put the awful memories of demonic oppression behind me, and found happiness for a time.

And here I sit, telling my tale, sharing it with the world, trying to decide whether I believe it actually happened or if I just hallucinated all of it. But I’ve watched a documentary film on Netflix recently called The Nightmare, and it showed the very creature I described, at least the human form of it – a being of pure darkness who terrorizes his victims when they’re in the half-asleep, half-awake state.

And I’ve also recently seen a photo of what appears to be the head of a demon dog in the wedding photo of a man who had been struggling with lust and alcoholism at the time – its wide eyed, hungry face poking up over the man’s shoulder and peering right at the camera and into our souls… as if to let us know that it knows that we know that it knows we see it.

These are real things, not stuff I made up. To me they are a form of confirmation. But my mama didn’t raise no fools. My wife’s been instructed to wake me up immediately if I start thrashing around in my sleep talking backwards or in a panic (which I have, often just saying “Wake me up! Wake me up!”). I have insisted we only use very sheer, see-thru curtains if we use them at all. Five years now without a very bad incident – five, long years… – CURTAINS