A Terrifying Tale by Raven Black.

What terrified him most was that no one looked. No one saw him and as each person went by, oblivious to his presence, his terror rose. He turned around, his hands held out in a plea to a young woman, and her child. The woman didn’t even blink at his blood covered self and he slumped in defeat, his torn clothing hanging like rags from his bony body. A bloody tear made it out of his ruined eye, and he wiped it away, his fingers leaving black marks on his skin. He turned to leave when he saw it.

Fear covered the child’s face as her gaze followed him, while her mother dragged her down the busy street.

The knowledge that someone could see him made him stand straight. His bony body looking like the strong winter winds would break him.

The panic on his face disappeared, replaced by sheer uncontrolled pleasure.

A smile curved his broken lips.

He stalked the mother and child through town, and for each glimpse the child saw, the confidence on his face grew.

Their journey ended at a small house, and he waited patiently outside, making sure to stay where the child could see him.

She was clinging to her mother’s skirts, her tiny face hidden in the folds of the dress. The mother’s frustration over the child’s actions making her snap and sneer.

When darkness came, the child was crying, and annoyed the mother let her fall asleep in the master bedroom.

He smiled as he made his way into the room, cold spreading around him like fog. The small body hardly made a wrinkle under the heavy bed sheets, only her perfect little face visible from under the covers.

He stood there, watching, humming a forgotten nursery rhyme. Locked in a moment of ecstasy and pleasure. He leaned down, his hands hovering over the small child before he grabbed her. He carried her through the room, her brown curls bouncing around her small face. At the door he turned, looking down at the empty husk that lay in the bed. It breathed, the sound filling the room like the mechanics of a broken clock. Ticking but with no real purpose than to be discarded and forgotten.

Raven Black is the author of dark fiction and tales from the shadows. She delights in working with many different forms of writing and her newest publication, the poem Tender, recently appeared in The Quaterday Review.

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