The unspeakable thing in the night

You lie there awake, listening to the sounds on the roof. Something is on the roof, skidding over the slates. Back and forth it goes. They go. There is no sense in this scrabbling about around the chimneys, and yet you cannot be sure that there is nothing intelligent up there. 

All you can do is hope that it is a donkey, again. There is no imaginable way that a donkey could be on your roof because there are no means by which it might ascend. You know this. You have checked extensively. But there has been a donkey on the roof before – you saw it with your own eyes in the uncanny half light of an early summer morning. The donkey looked at you and you expected it to speak, giving some pronouncement to justify its position or identity. It said nothing. How it descended remains as mysterious to you as the means by which it found its way to your chimney pots. It declined to come down while you were watching, and everyone must succumb to the call of the privy in the end.

You really hope this sound comes from hooves on roof tiles. That the skidding is exactly the way a donkey would sound on a roof and that those aren’t slithering noises at all. But now you’ve thought about it you can’t quite let go of the idea that the sound from above is a slithering sound. The low grunt doesn’t dispel the possibility of night visiting tentacles. It does however raise the possibility that what you’ve got on the roof is a werewolf. You’d had your suspicions for a while about Amos next door, and he has a window that would make it easy to get out onto his roof, and from there to yours. You are fairly certain this is not the route the donkey used.

How dangerous is Amos if he really does turn into a werewolf? He’s not eating well, that’s for sure. The man is bone thin, which makes you think he’s maybe not that good at hunting and eating people. On the flip side he’s probably very hungry, and your roof connects with his, and here you are, all fleshy and nutritious.

The darkness around you feels heavy and oppressive, and you think about lighting your candle. It might be a comfort to be able to see what’s around you. Of course that still won’t help you with the thing on the roof. You briefly entertain the idea that it could be some sort of perfectly normal night bird doing perfectly normal night bird things up there. Then you hear it breathing slowly into the chimney, and the hairs rise on the back of your neck.

Please let it be a donkey.

One thought on “The unspeakable thing in the night”

  1. Reblogged this on Druid Life and commented:

    This is a recent short story written for the Hopeless, Maine setting. By my standards, I haven’t written much fiction this year, but I’m getting back on top of that, I think.

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