• Jeff South

Blogtober 2021: Chair

WORK FROM HOME, DAY 17


"I want you to sit in this chair." Sandy leads me into my office and eases me into my desk chair. "You have me worried."


I stare out at the hallway which seems to extend for miles. Brilliant sunlight illuminates it from the open bedrooms, giving off a deceptive glow of warmth and kindness. The doors are open as they should be. Yet, I know that the light doesn't chase away the darkness. It only reveals what the darkness tries to hide. Whatever is in the dark is in the light. I point a trembling finger down the hall.


"Something is down there. I know it sounds crazy, but I've heard it moving. I've seen its face in the mirror. I've heard its whisper."


"What do you mean, you've seen its face in the mirror?" She kneels down, her gentle hand on my knee. "You're scaring me."


"I tried an experiment with something called the Caputo Effect. I stared at myself in the mirror for a few minutes and then..."


"Then, what?"


"I saw a face. Not my face. Its face."


"What did it look like?" she asks.


"A monster."




*




Bedtime usually consists of me brushing my teeth, putting on pajamas, letting Daisy out one last time for the night, and heading to bed first and then Sandy does her routine. We both try to read and we will chat about whatever random topic is on our mind before I rollover on my left side (always my left side) and drift to sleep within seconds. Tonight we have talked longer than normal, neither of us ready to turn off the light.


"Are you afraid of going to sleep?" she asks. "I would be."


I shrug. "The funny thing is I am more worried during the daytime than at night. Stuff doesn't typically happen at night when you're here. And when I heard something earlier, you didn't."


"What did you therapist say?"


"She said maybe it's stress related. But I wasn't feeling stressed until the damn thing showed up."


"Well." Her tone suggests she is trying to ease into a piece of feedback I might not be receptive to. "You've seemed on edge for a little while now. You get a little snappy sometimes. Or, like earlier, when I mentioned putting things away correctly, you took it really hard."


I can't argue with that. I did take it hard and I have felt edgy, irritable.


"I just don't like making mistakes," I say. "It shuts me down."


"Everyone makes mistakes."


"I've made big ones, though."


She touches my arm. "But, you've longed moved on from that, right?" I nod silently because to say anymore will bring tears I'm too tired to shed.


"Tomorrow is Monday. Do I need to stay home with you?" Her voice is a mix of sincerity and playful teasing and I laugh in spite of myself.


"No."


"What about going into the office?"


"They're not letting people into the offices until after the first of the year. This is where I work for the foreseeable future."


We sit in silence and I wonder what I might hear that she won't.




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