You know how TVs have advanced so far they show details better than real life? A giraffe at the zoo seems unrealistic and vague, like you expect it to have more pixels or something. Well, that’s how the Nebraska sky operates.
It blares an eldritch blue, too bright, too bold. It shouts like a bathroom LED bulb, revealing your red splotches where none showed in the forgiving yellow light of the bedroom vanity.
Unnatural. Too real. Too high a frame rate.
At first, it will fascinate you. Hypnotic. But don’t stare too long. Sometimes, at high noon on December days, when the cold freezes the moisture in your nose into tiny stalactites, the sun ricochets off the blanket of snow back up into the cloudless, windless sky, and the air tastes like peppermint because of nostalgia, a shadow appears in the East.
In other states, the human eye can’t catch it, but the blaring blue presides over the prairie and uncovers the outline of something with wings. Angelic? No, not angelic. Those who do spot the silhouette shudder and gibber at reporters in semi-coherent sentences.
“Heavy,” they say. “Like it wants to fall.”
The reporters snigger and smile at each other, and the cameramen try to capture the ‘weather phenomenon’ with their high-tech cameras. They never do. The lens cannot grasp the loudness of the Nebraska sky, cannot capture the vastness of the open horizon that somehow adds to the crescendo of it all. The reporters don’t see it, either, because they stare at the wrong times and never for long enough.
But the weight of that silhouette presses like the drop on a rollercoaster. A sinking. An inevitability. A judgment for decisions you cannot withdraw, no matter how much you scream and throw your hands into the air to surrender.
Step over the state line with trepidation, and don’t look up during cloudless days. The locals know. It’s a horizon transplanted from another place, where giant shadows show up in the florescent heavens. Shadows heavy enough to fall.
Emmie Christie’s work tends to hover around the topics of feminism, mental health, cats, and the speculative such as unicorns and affordable healthcare. She has been published in Intrinsick and Allegory Magazine, and she graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2013. She also enjoys narrating audiobooks for Audible. You can find her at www.emmiechristie.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @EmmieChristie33 and on Facebook @EmmieChristieFiction.
At first, they kept Her on the chair in Veronica’s room. Little Veronica who collected rocks and kept them in the pockets of her coat when the family would go for walks in the wood. Little Veronica, who would proudly tell you she was five even though she’d been six going on seven months now.
After little Veronica woke up the entire house screaming about Her, they’d moved Her into the attic. It was the only way to stop little Veronica from screaming and thrashing in her bed.
Her words were slurred with a child’s mercurial terror, but the message was clear anyway, “She’s watching us sleep! She’s watching us sleep!”
It was dear Dad that saw it next. Dear Dad, with his ugly ties and bags under his dim eyes. Dear Dad, with a house he couldn’t afford and a job that was eating away his life 50 hours a bite. He’d awoken to a creak. Dear Dad had walked into the hallway, only to find the stairs into the attic extended down. He’d closed it, understandably dismayed. When he’d come back to bed, Her was sitting on the bedside table.
Dear Dad dropped Her into the dumpster outside, cursing her under his breath as he went along. He didn’t want it in his house, even if he didn’t believe that Her was anything more than what she appeared to be.
It was lovely Mother—while dear Dad was at work—who found Her at the kitchen table. Lovely Mother smiled because she knew her little one was playing, growing, imagining. It warmed lovely Mother’s heart and made her wistful all at once.
Her watched, Her watched.
It was vile Her who found her way into the bed of Mother and Father, vile Her with her porcelain skin, blue dress, and black eyes. No one had purchased Her, no one had carried Her home from any vendor or store. She appeared one day in the house of this family, an invader from another place and another time. Vile Her, with her hungry eyes and voracious appetites.
It was Vile Her who looked over lovely Mother and found Her way into the fleshy part of lovely Mother’s brain, the invader breaching those soft walls.
When the morning came, Vile Mother sat with Little Veronica and Dear Dad. Her family continued on their lives, blissfully unaware of what had transpired.
It was Vile Mother who watched. It was Vile Mother who would act next.
Logan Noble is a horror and science fiction writer who lives in England with his wife and two dogs. His short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines, including Pickman's Gallery, Miskatonic Dreams, Deracine Magazine, and Sanitarium Magazine. His fiction and blog can be found on logannobleauthor.com and you can follow him on Twitter @logan_noble.