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A Game with No Prey

Shhh…
They’re listening.
They’re in the walls.
They’re in the floor.
They’re in the air.
“Hush your voice.”

Huddled around the small bonfire they are looking for trouble.
They laugh and dance and trick instead of treat.
The hold flashlights under their chins and make scary faces,
The girls scream in mock fear and the boys snicker behind hands.
They are not really scared, not yet.
The fear hasn’t set upon them.
It hasn’t sunk in, until they hear it.

Do you feel it?
The change in the temperature?
Your breath is coming out in puffs of white.
Your face pale white like you’ve seen a ghost.
Have you?

The giggles stop.
Sudden silence falls over the group.
A log drops in the fire and sets off sparks.
The only sound besides the beating of hearts and sharp intakes of breath.
No one breathes and they listen,
And then there’s a scream.

There’s a giggle that echoes through the dark.
You close your eyes as you feel the invisible fingers.
They have an icy touch.
So cold it hurts.
They pull your arms trying to take you.
You’re stubborn,
But they are everywhere,
Remember?
We’ve been over this before.

They run.
Everything is left behind including the scream.
They are trying to erase this as just a joke.
A practical scare!
Except it’s not going to be that easy.
Nothing is.
And they have just turned this into a game of cat and mouse.
The moon grins and the game begins.
Who’s the prey?

You know they don’t feel anything?
They feel the chill of their own souls.
The heartbreak of their loss of life.
They want it back.
That’s why they can’t pass up this opportunity.
This pure warmth that fell happily into their grasp won’t be given up.
You hear them whisper unpleasant things and you know what’s going to happen.

The children run.
The wind yells to their ears.
The vines grab at their toes.
The trees shuffle closer and closer together.
They become claustrophobic caught in a tight space,
Unable to breathe,
Unable to escape.

Tears pool in your eyes and the begging begins.
It’s a foolish attempt and your body falls numb and you fall with it.
Tip forward into a freezing oblivion with:
Cold walls.
Cold fingers.
Cold skin.
Warm breath.



You have risen.
You feel the same.
Your body stretches with muscle and you can think clearly.

But it feels…
Cold.




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