I have this dark place in me,
That holds all the scary in.
It is a quarantined cell inside my mind,
It keeps every horror movie that I’ve ever watched
Under strict probation.
This cell is encased with a locked chained door,
And unbreakable steel bars.
And is the only reason I sleep at night without fear.
I try not to think about it too hard,
I try not to listen too clearly to the sounds beyond,
I close my eyes and try to fall asleep quickly.
Because bad things happen when I become aware.
Bad things form when I pay attention to the shadows in the room.
If I listen closely, I can hear the sharp blades running down the hot pipe,
My forearm heats in preparation of what comes next.
I can see the sweet seducer with a white painted face holding a yellow balloon.
My eyes widen as I remember those razor teeth and disturbing face that should not belong to a clown.
The scene of the baby walker moving across the room on its own freezes me into place.
But as a writer, I have to knock on that fateful door.
As a writer of horror, I have no choice but to take a peek.
How else am I supposed to draw the breath of fear from you readers?
With a deep breath I tell myself just a peek and tap into the shadows of the night.
I hesitate though,
If I tap into that place, I’m not sure I can pull myself back.
The mirror in my room will no longer be allowed,
Summer camps near a lake will never be on my bucket list and banned for my future offspring,
I will never relax fully in a bathtub full of bubbles.
How else am I supposed to disturb your sleep, dear readers?
So I write with a candle nearby.
White. It has to be white.
And pray nothing follows me back from the darkness
Quanisha A. McGruder