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You remember the night the Policeman escorted you home.

You couldn’t have been more than 12 at the time. You remember this distinctly because you were a big fan of Superman comics, but now you think Superman is totally lame. It was probably late, around 9:00 pm because the sky was already that Chicago Night shade of purple. As the train wobbled on you watched Superman beat Darkseid into submission.

You were coming home from After School Matters and the only people in the last cart were you, and of course, the policeman. He had been sitting quietly on the opposite end of you the entire ride; you can’t recall ever seeing him hop onto the train, to begin with. It's only when you casually glanced up that he twitched and noticed you.

Under the dim lights, you could barely make out his face. The eyes glinted like tiny holes underneath the shadow of his cap. Nervously you looked back down. The policeman is here to make sure you’re safe, you think. Don’t give him a reason to be suspicious of you.

Ding dong. Doors closing. Western is next.

As the last stop ground further away from you, you cautioned another look up, pretending to look at the next stop sign. The officer was now directly staring at you. His mouth looked somewhat agape as if he got knocked in the jaw.

A small icy trickle of fear ran down the nape of your neck. Maybe he’s drunk. Sometimes crap like that happens in this city. Whatever you do, don’t acknowledge him. You’re fine.

Despite this, you could not help but notice that the policeman was slowly getting up and plodding over to you. You could feel a dull pounding begin to vibrate your eardrums.

As he sat down in the seat opposite of you, you take note of his shoes over the comic pages you held. They were dirty and ragged as if he hadn’t washed them in years. Furthering another slight glance up, you also note that his hands are clawing at the knees as if he himself is the one who is nervous. His nails are overgrown and have dirt underneath.

Glancing as minimally upward as possible, your brain fully registers the man’s face for one gut-dropping second.

Underneath the cap is a doughy complexion with lumpy skin. His mouth doesn’t look like it has lips, and he had no nostrils or cheekbones. His ragged breathing is what tipped you off that he had settled down directly in front of you, to begin with. And his eyes oh dear god, they were awful. They looked like tiny black holes puncturing his brow. You had a sudden irrational, sickening idea that they’d pucker open and closed like tiny mouths and resisted the urge to throw up a little.

Mustering every ounce of courage you have, you look up and squeak out a “good evening Sir”.

You immediately regret it upon seeing his mouth - the thin line with tiny black cracks stemming from it - drop open again. It is quivering violently and a disgusting scent smacks you across the face. You don’t know why, but you immediately feel like you’re right in front of the Chicago River.

Time begins to stand still as the policeman slowly crouches over you. His head twitched left and then right as if trying to shake a bug off. He looks down at you from above and you realize he’s somehow tall enough to block out the light from the train. In fact...somehow, in a maddening trick of the light, it appears his shoulders and arms are as wide as the train cart, looping around the poles and making sluglike motions.

You feel short-breathed as this thing in front of you leans down. A fat, black slug darts in and out of its mouth as it lays a single claw-like hand on your shoulder. Indescribable pain shoots through your shoulder as what feels like a million tiny teeth begin to chew through the fabric-

DING DONG. Doors closing.

Your stop. Addison.

The policeman glances away just long enough for you to slip out of his grasp and into the yellow light safety of the train platform. As you shakily turn back around, you see that the policeman, silhouetted as a normal man is standing with his back to the door. As they begin to close, he turns slightly and utters one inhuman phrase, understandable even through the rumbling echoes of that monstrous frame:

“Be. Good.”

You sprint the rest of the way home as quickly as you can, not even taking a moment to say goodnight to your mom as you slam the door behind you. She’ll ask you later what happened to your shirt and why you wet the bed, but you won’t be able to tell her. Not for several years anyway, since you lose the ability to speak not long after that night.

You often have dreams the policeman continues to escort you home every night after school.

Sometimes, even when you’re not asleep, you can see red and blue lights silently flashing through your bedroom window for a few hours before they disappear and blend in with the deep purple and blues and yellows of nighttime Chicago.

Written by William See
Content is available under CC BY-SA