The Monsters Within Us
Word Count: 408
It started as a joke.
His father bought him a totally black poster entitled “The Eclipse”. He’d laughed hardily, slapped his seven year old son on the back and fully expected that the boy would toss it the next day.
Instead the boy hung it on the wall and looked at it often.
It hung over his desk while he drew with his colors. While he read his first book. It hung there when his father set up a brand new computer and its electronic noises replaced his coloring books and toy soldiers.
It stayed on the wall when he traded his small bed for a full size one, and moved the whole room around to accommodate it. It hung above the headboard now.
It was still taped to the wall the night he had his first wet dream, and it began to change. It became mottled gray and white, very subtle, only visible in the moonlight. In just as subtle ways, the boy changed too.
The next year it changed again, and so did the boy, slumbering under the poster, growing older and wiser in the ways of the world. Now its mottled grays and whites suggested shapes, vaguely reminiscent of faces.
The months following, the boy would stir in his sleep and the poster would stir on the wall. Angles would sharpen, fangs marking mouths.
The boy would wake in the morning and look at the poster in the bright light from the windows.
At night he would avoid looking at it, closing his eyes instead to shut out the nightmare. Then he would dream and add to the nightmare, and wake again and wonder. Years passed.
Faces and bodies and scenes fought for space on the poster as the boy grew older and learned more of the world, then created it at night, his version of it, in his dreams. He moaned in his sleep, and rolled and the poster’s images rolled across the glossy black surface. Not a movie, but stills of his fears and his hopes. His mind grasping at possibilities in the dark.
On the night before he moved out of his childhood home, no longer a boy, he pulled the poster off of the wall and rolled it up and secured it with a rubber band. Then he slid it under the bed, and out of sight.
It is there still.