Daniel S Martin
It could have been a creature. I’m not too sure. The thing grew and shrunk, moulding itself into different shapes. At one time it was a slimy eel, which slivered along the grimy floor, inspecting small cracks and unusual changes in elevation between floor boards. Another moment, the creature was a black mass of hovering smoke. It took this form for an extended period of time, usually between animals. The dense, shadowy fog floated a couple inches above the floor, changing the proportions of its shape, but never its form.
Of course it took the form of animals, like the aforementioned eel, but only very occasionally. I watched it do this, cigarette in hand, transfixed. I didn’t move when it came closer, or follow when it disappeared round the side of a bag. A cycle of hovering as the black mass, to roaming the filthy room as some strange animal, before returning to that black, shapeless form. It began to regularly take its black mass form before the door and, in the shape of an animal, just sat in the same spot, peering across the room at me.
After the cycle had repeated a few times, and as I took a long breath of smoke, the creature took the form of a gentle looking black and white dog. The dog’s eyes were the brightest blue I’d ever seen, shining out from deep within endless, hollow caverns. It just sat, watching me slowly exhale. As I looked on, through a hazy cloud of smoke, the dog’s features began to melt and fall away. The dog’s flesh piled up before it, pulsating in rhythm to my own runaway heart. I put the cigarette to my lips. Don’t panic, I thought. It will all go away if I just don’t panic. The flesh became a brighter, crimson red, burning my retinas. A permanent imprint of that dog’s flesh, mingled with the now changing creature.
The crimson died away, becoming a darker version of the same colour, until it was an endless black. Strange and unnatural movements vibrated through the pulsating pile of flesh. But it was that form no longer. It was the eel, once again, slivering round and round the floor, following its tail. Round and round it went. I held the cigarette to my lips one final time, before putting it out. Abandoned by the cigarette, I watched the eel alone. After hundreds of laps, the eel slivered around the side of the door.
I didn’t dare follow it. All my mind would allow me to do was stare, as if the spot where that pile of flesh had been would give some answers. No answers came. Possibly, because no questions were asked. Snatching up my coat, I timidly opened the door. No dog. No eel. No black mass. Slamming the door, I ran from the house. I ran until my breath escaped me, but still that crimson red was in front of me. Stained upon my retinas.