The thing just stands there, skin like broken charcoal, jagged shades of black that distort the night around it. Lovecraft’s HB pencil shavings coalesced. Hulking and sunken, broad, brute shoulders and lank limbs. I step to the patio door and press myself into the space before the glass, unwilling to connect with it. Though I have no need, I tell the thing I want to go outside. It backs away and doesn’t breathe. I wish it would. Breathing means living, living means death, death means hope. I watch through the dark half of my reflection, wishing it were real.

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