“Have a peek through the keyhole,” Benjamin says. He prefers plain Ben, but every morning I forget this predilection as his face is erased by fresh daylight. My waking eyes are blind to the spectre I call Benjamin. In my recurring dream, he is boyish, and handsome–that is all I do recall.
“What will I see, Benjamin?”
“I’ve told you to call me Ben.” He is annoyed; I had been reminded just yesternight.
“I don’t want to look, dear Ben. I’ve seen such ugliness already–a blonde woman, emaciated, on her back in an abandoned warehouse; she was dead and naked with odd shapes carved into her belly. That was the first night. The second, I saw myself against a monochrome landscape of dirt and rocks, and surrounded by hissing Komodo Dragons; they licked my hands, snapped at my fingers. The third night, sepia, my hands were taken at the wrists by the beasts, and I bled in violent color. Crimson hot and syrup sticky. Please, don’t make me look tonight.”
“We all must look.”
And look, I did. The dead blonde woman lay naked and ashen on dusty concrete, spread-eagle. A great Komodo Dragon, red-mouthed, walked ’round and ’round, as if guarding the body. When I screamed, the sound was muffled, echoless. I felt a hand on my shoulder. Jim’s voice seemed to grow from the inside out. He shook me harder…
and Ben was lost. Again.
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