The Man with the LightMature

His head was pounding. It’d been pounding all day. He’d forgotten what a head without pain was like. Surely he’d lived that way, once. Yesterday he must’ve been headache free, but yesterday seemed fuzzy, dreamlike, not-quite-real.

A sliver of light worked its way through his fingers and stabbed directly into the grey matter usually protected by his skull. Today there was no protection to be found.

“Fuck...” Yesterday, it would’ve been a growl. Today the curse came out a whimper. Why was there light? He’d turned off all the damn lights when he’d gotten home! He groped blindly outwards, grabbing onto the arm of his sofa to help shove himself up. It was probably the motion light outside, triggered by some damn deer. He thought he had turned it off automatic when he had gotten home, but he must’ve not.

Whatever it was, the damn light wouldn’t shut off. Some damn deer must be having a party on his yard. Great. Usually a yell would chase them off, here’s hoping a croak would do the same.

As he stumbled the few agonizing feet to the door, shielding his eyes with one hand and keeping the other outstretched, the light seemed to jab directly at him like some kind of demented spotlight. Oh jaysus, it was enough to make him want to vomit. How had he never noticed his fuckin’ motion light was so damn bright?

It felt like the hike of a lifetime by the time he reached the front door. He fumbled the locks open, keeping his eyes closed as he groped his way outside. “Get the hell off my lawn!” He hoped the sound was loud enough. The light seemed dimmer outside, at least. Weird that, shouldn’t it be brighter?

Whatever. He’d just go upstairs and hide under some blankets. Why hadn’t he just done that to begin with?

He groaned as his body twisted back around and was met full force with another stabbing beam of light. “The fuck!” There was no reason for light to be stabbing at him now, not like this. Without thought his hand jerked forward, grasping for whatever caused the offense to his brain. His fingers touched slick fabric and he recoiled, stumbling backwards.

Blearily he opened his eyes, pressure, pain and too bright light beamed right at him causing spots to dance in his gaze. Water welled and he blinked and blinked, trying to turn the fuzzy lines into something concrete.

A man began to emerge from the swimming starbursts of his migraine. Short, bit pasty, clad in a rain jacket of some kind and with a honest-to-dog’s miner helmet on. Complete with those high-intensity light attached to it. It took John a second to realize the man was standing in his doorway. The man was in his house.

The man smiled and John’s blood began to curdle. “Wha….Who..?”

“How’s your head, Johnny boy?” The man tilted his own and the light stabbed at John again.

Dimly John realized that the light he had gone to investigate had been that man’s hat. It would explain how it had snapped on, how it had seemed to track him as he moved toward the door how—“You were in my house.”

“Oh, yes, for quite a while now. It’s a nice house. Lots of nooks and crannies to hide in; especially if the owner turns out all the lights and sits in the dark. Don’t you know things hide in the dark, Johnny boy?”

The man hadn’t moved, not yet. John knew it was only a matter of time. Worse, John could feel the adrenaline pumping and breaking into his skull. It should’ve cleared his mind, but all it did was make him more brittle. “Why?”

“Why, Johnny boy? Why not! It’ll be fun!” The man’s smile never wavered, too many teeth and that damn light.

John squinted his eyes, stumbling backwards. No motion light flickered on. Great, he had turned it off. “Please, I just…I don’t understand!”

“I’ve heard migraines feel like someone stabbing you. Tell me Johnny, would you say you have a stabbing sensation or a pounding one? Temple, back of head? Where does it hurt? Let me fix it for you.”

John tried to run, he really did. His legs weren’t coordinated though, no light, too much pain and too shocked. Nothing was real, everything was in too sharp relief and suddenly…greyness. Something thudded into his head. He dimly heard a crack, like celery snapping but so much louder.

His body slumped to the ground and the world was licked by darkness. The ground dragged against him (or maybe he dragged against it? He didn’t know the difference, really) as wiry arms wrapped around him and pulled him back to his home.

From far away he heard the man’s voice, chattering happily. “Don’t you worry, Johnny boy. I’ll fix that head of yours right on up. A couple of knocks, maybe a special home remedy and you’ll be better than new! Then the real fun can begin.”

The End

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