What They Want You To See

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
On his way home, Matthew Prior encounters a strange figure that changes his perception forever.

Submitted: October 19, 2018

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Submitted: October 19, 2018



What They Want You To See


Stumbling out of McKinney’s Irish Pub, Matthew Prior basked in the cool October air. The sun had set, turning the sky into total darkness. He checked his watch and anxiety crashed through him. It was 8:48 p.m. and he would be late for dinner. 

Matthew zipped up his jacket and walked east on the sidewalk, dreading the inevitable argument with his wife. He knew what she would say. Stop wasting our money, you’re never home, blah blah blah. It’s true, he had been spending a lot of time and money at McKinney’s, but by God things were stressful and he needed to relax.

Matthew continued with his head down and his hands in his pockets, the cold air he was enjoying now becoming a burden. The nearest streetlight flickered and then went dark. Matthew stopped and raised his head.About five feet away, a man blocked his path. 

“Pardon me,” Matthew said.

The man did not move. It was too dark to make out his features, but Matthew could tell he was tall and bulky. 

“They look like you and me, but that’s what they want you to see,” the man said in a shaky voice. 

Matthew stared at the man’s dark silhouette. “Yeah. Have a nice night,” Matthew turned to cross the street, but was grabbed and spun around. The street light turned back on, and Matthew almost screamed. 

The man had black varicose veins pulsating all around his pale face; Torn blood vessels replaced the whites of his eyes. Blood dripped from his wavy, unkempt silver hair. Something was familiar about his face, but Matthew couldn’t place it. 

“They look like you and me, but that’s what they want you to see,” the man repeated.

Matthew nodded. He was positive this man had escaped from a mental institution. “Okay. I think-” Before Matthew finished, the man coughed a thick black liquid into his face.

The man released his grip and Matthew fell to ground coughing. The black liquid had gotten in his mouth. Matthew spit and tried to wipe the liquid off his face but nothing was there. He cocked his head up and surveyed the sidewalk. The man was gone too. 

Matthew got to his feet and shook his head. I need to go home and rest, he thought. Matthew picked up his pace. His head felt light and hot. Stopping for a second, he leaned against a nearby wall. Wait,why should I go home? All I’d get is a mouthful of what a terrible husband I am. It wasn’t like this when we first got married. It’s like she’s changed into a different person. They look like you and me, but that’s what they want you to see.

Matthew rubbed his eyes. Get a grip.

“Hey pal, got any change to spare?” a voice said. 

Matthew looked to his side and saw a homeless man approaching him.

“Anything would be a great help,” the homeless man said. 

Matthew opened his mouth to say something, but stopped. The homeless man’s face contorted until there were only two slits for eyes and a thin red mouth; The nose, hair and ears appeared to have melted off. When he spoke again, it sounded many octaves lower. “Please, anything you can spare?” 

“No!” Matthew said and ran off. 

He moved at almost a full out sprint until he reached the front door of his small one-story brick house and went inside. His head felt shaky and his mind clouded. He went through the tiny hallway that led to the kitchen and stared at the pictures of him and his children as he passed, focusing on their faces. Everything looked fine. Matthew breathed a sigh of relief and went to the kitchen.

His wife, Janet, was sitting at the table, her face normal. She started to say something about being late. Matthew ran up and hugged her. 

“Thank God,” Matthew said. 

“What’s gotten into you?” Janet asked.

“Oh nothing, I’ m… I’m just so glad to see you.”

Matthew kept the hug going but something on the front page of the local newspaper that was lying on the kitchen table caught his eye. There was a picture of a man, the same man that attacked Matthew. The headline read “Local Man Kills Family, Evades Police Custody.” 

He broke the hug and looked at his wife. Her face was a thin red mouth and two slits for eyes. The mouth curled into a smiled. “Everything okay?” 

Matthew almost screamed, but something told him to stop. His clouded mind cleared. “Yes. Everything is fine,” He said.Matthew felt a strange compulsion to get up and go a kitchen drawer and get something. Something sharp. “Are the children asleep?” 

“I tucked them in a little while ago. Why?” 

“I wanted to make sure they were here.” Matthew went to a drawer and took out a large butcher’s knife. He stared at his reflection in the blade. The blood vessels in his eyes were tearing and the veins in his face were becoming black. Matthew turned and faced Janet. He saw the mouth on her face remain in a smile but the tone of her voice was panic. “Matthew? What’re you doing?”

He advanced toward her, gripping the knife tight. He couldn’t stop himself. “They look like you and me, but that’s what they want you to see,” he heard himself say.

Janet screamed as Matthew raised the knife. 

© Copyright 2019 J.D. Jones. All rights reserved.

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