He was eight the first time it happened, sitting and staring out the living room window into the front yard. He wanted to go outside and play, but his mother kept telling him he had to wait for her. “No going outside alone!” It was just the front yard! He would be right there, right in the front yard. Why couldn’t he go out?
It looked like a pretty day. Bright sunshine. Breeze blowing in the trees by the street. It wouldn’t be too hot, he knew, because it hadn’t been too hot all week. Finally, it was feeling like fall and the summer heat was gone. And it was Saturday! He did not want to sit inside all day. He did that at school. He wanted to go play!
And, look, there went some kids running down the street. He didn’t recognize them, though. White boys not from his neighborhood. He wondered if they’d let him play with them. They mostly didn’t look older than him, and the one trailing behind looked like he wasn’t even in school yet. A baby. They ran on down the street, and he realized they were probably going to the park two blocks away. They didn’t have any moms with them… “Mom…!”
“You have to wait! I’m busy!”
“I said no, Jeremiah.”
He grumbled and went back to staring out the window. His mind drifted off to thinking about the boys and what they must be doing and how much fun they must be having and outside became out of focus, so out of focus that he started staring at the pane of glass instead. Staring at his own reflection in the window, his dark skin and brown eyes and tight, curly black hair. He wondered again if the boys would play with him. Sometimes white boys would act like he wasn’t even there and he was left to play by himself.
But that was better than being stuck in the house.
“Not right now!”
He breathed heavily and went back to staring at his reflection in the glass. Then outside. Then his reflection. Until he discovered that if he made his eyes hurt by looking at outside and at his reflection at the same time that he could see his face on things. Like the tree by the street. Or on the street. Or on the door of the car. Or on the monster walking down the sidewalk…
It took him a moment to realize what he was looking at. It must have been ten feet tall! White but dirty all over like it was covered in grease or oil, splotches of it everywhere. Except for the white pointed head. That was so white it almost hurt his eyes. One arm was scaly, a sickly green yellow color, and had huge claws on its long-fingered hand, so long the claws almost touched the ground. The other arm was a bunch of tentacles, slightly more green than the scaly arm but still sickly looking, writhing and squirming in the air, glistening and dripping with slime. When he started screaming, it looked at him, and he saw its blazing eyes and huge open mouth full of long teeth.
He fell over out of the chair, screaming and trying to get away.
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