The Borrowers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 6, 2014

Ya know that thing? The one that lives in that part of your house that makes you shudder – the part of your house that gives you the creeps and seems kinda off, though you have no clue why? The thing with baseball-sized glowing green eyes, like traffic lights, only a shade lighter? The thing completely made out of hair that can grotesquely mold into any form?

Ya know that thing that can’t touch you until you lie down? (And, I mean, it’s not like you can stand forever.) It knows when you lie down, and it emerges, carrying a certain dankness with it, and when it crawls under your door, it looks at you and smiles.

What the hell? All of a sudden it has a mouth, a toothless one that seems vaguely familiar. It stands at the foot of your bed staring and smiling, and eventually it lifts its arms, which are really just long tufts of matted, sloth-like hair.

Ya know that thing that looks straight into your eyes as it starts weaving its “arms” in between your toes? It’s right around now that you realize you can’t move. It sounds crazy, but you think it’s the eyes – those huge (did they get bigger?), glowing emerald eyes, holding you down.

By now its “arms” have wrapped around your legs and waist; you can’t feel anything from the hips down. (Is it taking your skin this time?) You start having trouble breathing. It’s those damn eyes again; they’re weighing down on your lungs somehow.

Ya know that thing that continues wrapping its thick mesh around your body? Its “face” starts to join the rest of its ghastly hair wrapping around you. The only thing not covered now is your head and neck. The “face” starts sliding up, adjusting so it can look at you.

Ya know that thing that’s an inch and a half from your face, its garish eyes staring into your frightened ones? A long thing starts moving out of its smile (a tongue, I guess), and as it’s about to touch your nose it splits into four parts – one for each ear and both nostrils.

It voyages through your facial cavities, still staring, smiling. You feel its tongue on your brain; it almost tickles as it caresses each fold and wrinkle, leaving no part untouched. It wraps around you tighter and tighter still.

Ya know that thing that all at once pulls its tongues back into the smile that’s evolved into a frown? Its eyes have lost that strange vigor they had just moments ago. It seems offended, almost.

Just when its hair gets so tight around you that you feel like you can’t take another breath, two new clumps of hair awaken from either side of you. Ya know that thing that forms these sort of makeshift hands with strange amounts of fingers? Then it starts to show off its new fingernails, oddly shaped and placed – more horrendous and terrifying than its hair, if that’s possible. They aren’t pointy, but they look sharp somehow … and familiar.

You make your first movement in a long time – though you know it isn’t your doing: your mouth snaps open. It snaps open so wide you think your jaw might break. It doesn’t. But you have no time to feel relieved, because it puts its grubby “hands” in your mouth and starts digging into your gums with what once were your fingernails to pull out all your teeth, one by one, and put them in its own mouth. You think it’s the most painful thing you’ve ever experienced, but it isn’t. Because this is normal.

Ya know that thing that comes back whenever it pleases and takes things from you? You have duplicates by the time morning comes, of course; it needs to cover its tracks. You don’t remember anything about the previous night. That is, until it happens again …

That’s when it all floods back and you remember for a short time that there’s this thing that is stealing your parts, slowly trying to become you. Of course you don’t know that thing that’s taken your mouth or your teeth or your fingernails. It doesn’t want you to remember, and so you don’t.

But, doctor, I can’t help but notice that your nose seems different today, a bit crooked. The other day I noticed your fingers seemed longer, bonier. You have one in your house (most people do), and if you’d just listen to me – if all of you would just listen to me – you could get away from it! I’m not crazy! It took my teeth! It took my teeth!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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