It Shambles Closer in the Dark

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“No monster’s comin’ for you.”

Doc says night terrors. Could leave the overhead on, but Billy’s almost twelve.

I grasp the light switch. Billy whimpers.

“Look, Billy. I’ll guard. In the dark. When you’re asleep, I’ll go. ‘kay?”

Billy gives a curt nod.

“I love you, son.”

“Love you, Dad.”

Click. Darkness.

(Image by Julius H. from Pixabay)

“Doin’ okay, Billy?



“Billy, answer me. I know you’re not asleep…okay, I’m gonna go…”

But I don’t. I flick on the light.

Billy’s sheets disarrayed across the bed. Pillow on the floor.

No Billy.

I don’t find Billy in his room.

I don’t find Billy. Ever.


“No monster’s comin’ for you.” Dad grasps the light switch.

I whimper, knowing it is near. Endlessly hunting in its lightless void.

Stupid doctor suggested “night terrors.”

Dad sighs. “Look, Billy. I’ll guard. In the dark. When you’re asleep, I’ll go. ‘kay?”

It’s not, but I nod.

“I love you, son.”

“Love you, Dad.”

Click. Darkness.





Squelch squelch. Closer.

I whip my pillow at the sound. Leap off my bed. Run for Dad. The light switch.

Can’t find them.

Backtrack in pitch black, but my bed, room…gone.

Flee into unending darkness, the squelch squelch ever nearer.


Through the door: “No monster’s comin’ for you.”

It’s coming for them.

Billy answers his father by whimpering, undoubtedly sensing it beyond the void’s barrier.

I whisper forgotten words.

The barrier thins.

Just needs darkness.

Murmuring… “Love you, Dad.”

Billy’s sweet, but that’s not why he’s here.

Click. Dad killing the lights.

Billy’s here because he’d have power.


And he does. Vast. Unharnessed.


It stirs, clawed tentacles perfect for shearing flesh. For cracking bones to slurp marrow.

It’ll devour Billy. And his power, some escaping.

To me.

Billy’s a sweet boy.

But I can always have another child.


Through the barrier: a boy’s whimper.

His mother whispers forgotten words. The barrier thins…

I hear her desire. If I devour her progeny, Billy, some power will slip by. To her.

The barrier vanishes.

But Billy’s young. He’ll grow succulent.

Billy stumbles into the lightless void. My tentacles reach out. The mother leans in to catch any scintilla I miss.

My tentacles ensnare her arms and legs before she realizes. One tentacle worms down her throat, silencing further forgotten words.

Billy flees into the darkness.

As I suck down morsels of the mother, I dream of the day Billy ripens.


This story previously appeared in 666, A Dark Drabbles Anthology.
Edited by Marie Ginga


When not composing stories, Dan tweets writing tips (@CDanCastro43), dreams of traveling again, or studies languages to imbue his stories with je ne sais quoi (whatever that means). He lives in Connecticut, where he’s making a final polish on his first novel, a middle-grade fantasy.