Thursday, April 25, 2019

4/25/19

Behind the Curtain
By Rollin T. Gentry


What do you know of my suffering?

If you are like my colleagues at the lab, you think that I'm insane. But I assure you nothing could be farther from the truth. You only need to sit with your ear pressed to the cold, steel enclosure which hides the machine -- as I have done many times -- to know the truth, to hear its whisperings of deadly secrets.

Our Earth is not the only Earth. Our Schrodinger is not the only Schrodinger. And his cat...

I feel like his goddamned cat! For weeks now, I've been trapped in a box. Is a bathtub with a shower curtain and tiles all around not a box? Is not the same quantum principle that killed his cat ever conspiring to end my life, night by dreadful night.

I used to get my best ideas in the shower, but now I scrub and rinse in mortal terror. Monsters from another world bleed over, across the sacred boundary, first invading my mind's eye, and then my home, and then my bedroom, and then the bathroom itself, inching closer and closer to the tub. Each night, a new ghoul stops inches from my face as I throw back the shower curtain, gasping for what feels like my last breath, only to find them vanished. Yet, the next night they come again.

Wearing mother's clothes, knife in hand, a frightful fiend swearing he wouldn't kill a fly; a hockey mask, machete poised, a lumbering ghoul with a taste for teenaged campers; pale faced, empty eyed, stabbing throughout All Hallows' Eve; burned face and fedora, sweater and blades, waving deadly fingers; an evil clown, red balloon, slinking forth from sewer grates; a red-haired, blue-eyed, toddler of a doll, wielding a butcher knife and biting sarcasm; a head full of nails, with hooks and chains, tearing men apart for pleasure in dark realms; one, mirror bound, but five times named, belly full of bees, a hook-handed slasher; a pig masked abductor, building diabolical machines that weigh the soul, taking puzzle patches of flesh.

And now, once more unto the breach. Arming the security system, locking the bathroom door, quickly shampooing. And what's that, now? A new sound. Oh my god, what is that terrible noise?

A chainsaw?

And now we run, you and I, dear friend, to the fire escape.

Quickly now.

There is no time to waste.


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Rollin T. Gentry lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, Shelly. A software engineer by day, he can be found reading and writing lots of speculative fiction during his spare time. He’s had stories appear in publications such as Liquid Imagination, Every Day Fiction, 365 Tomorrows, and 50-Word Stories.


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