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“Sit, Terry. We have a long summer ahead of us.” His voice seems almost to reach out and touch me as he speaks. But this is not a pleasant touch. It is a touch which turns the skin cold wherever felt, and it causes the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end.

His words seem hollow and faint, and float to my ears like a whisper. I have no proof they were ever spoken at all, save for the chill which they force down my spine.

He crawls along the floor, obscured in darkness, scraping His nails across the tile as He does so. A chair stands in the center of the room. He finds His way to the chair, and seats Himself upon it. He positions Himself facing away from me, as He always does, until I see nothing but the shadow of His back.

He first came to me years ago. How long exactly, I cannot recall. He is always with me. He lives in the painting beside my bed, you see.

Others who come here see only the portrait of a room, with dark walls and a light, tiled floor. A metal chair sits upon the floor, and save for that, the room is empty. The chair is rusted and worn, giving off the impression of having been there a very, very long time. There is only one door, located at the far side of the room. It is old, giving off the same ancient feeling as the chair.

Visitors to my room never pay the portrait much attention. If they had, perhaps they’d have noticed that the door’s blood-red paint had been clawed away, not chipped slowly by time and constant use as one might assume.

I have stared long and hard into His painting, and seen things which others care not to see. The door has been scratched, and the scratches sit like scars; the scars of a thousand fingernails, run across its surface, as if someone were trapped inside, and try as they may, could never leave. The scars of a thousand failed attempts.

Every night is the same. Each evening the tile in the portrait begins to shift, and He crawls up through the flooring, pulling His way across the ground to that one, old chair in the center of the room. I have never seen His face. When I look upon Him, all I can make out is darkness, and I can never see beyond the charade of this void.

I do not know who, or what, He is. And yet, He knows everything about me. He has been my dark passenger these long years, and never leaves, an unwelcome guest in this room He has made His own.

“Sit, Terry. We have a long summer ahead of us.” His voice induces shivers, and I feel as though I have spiders crawling up and down my body.

His painting sits across from my window, and outside He can see the last hours of a sunshiny day. Children play at a park across the street, and we can hear them, faintly.

“Listen to them. You will never be like them, Terry. You will always be here, with me. You will always be mine, and you will always feel my pain.” He raises His arm, and I see red. Blood drips slowly down His fingers, and onto the tile floor. I avert my eyes, only to catch a glimpse of another flash of red. But this is not His blood. I look down at myself, and see a gash appearing on my own arm. He is being especially cruel tonight. I rush to my dresser, and find a t-shirt, wrapping it around my arm to stop the bleeding. But the cut only grows.

I’ve had enough. Desperate now, I grab a shoe lying on my bed and hurl it as hard as I can at Him. I hear a terrible sound, and look away. When I finally gaze back to that side of the room, the portrait is gone. Bits and pieces of broken glass fill the floor, my shoe at the center of them.

Slowly, I make my way over and pick up one of the larger pieces of shattered glass. As I look into it, I see Him, seated on His chair. He is faced away from me, but as I stare, He slowly begins to turn. I tense as His body contorts to look into my direction. All breath leaves me as I finally see His face. His eyes are cold, but His mouth forms into a crooked smile upon His face. My face.

Credited to Him