I used to call him Spaghetti Man. It sounds so silly, but I was only a kid. I couldn’t express what I was seeing, and so, he became Spaghetti Man.
He was there every night, when I closed my eyes. I’d pray to dream of something else, holding my teddy bear tightly and wishing for sweeter dreams, but as I fell asleep, he’d find me.
We would always be in my room. Me, tucked up in bed, and him, over by the door. His arms and legs flailed wildly as he floated across the room, long, slender fingers running up and down his pale, putrid face.
He was dead, I think, or at least close to it. Frozen in a horrifying haze of horror, his face covered in sores that surrounded his panic stricken eyes and always open mouth. Thin strands fell across his face, flicking against his skin and running back and forth over his sores, and his eyes bore deeply into mine.
It was just darkness. He never spoke, and whenever I dared to peak past his lips, there was nothing but darkness.
His long fingers would extend out towards me, never quite reaching, at first, but they always found me in the end. Spindly, slimy fingers that floated through the air and wrapped around my neck.
I’d scream but nothing would come out, and so would he. We wailed in aching silence, but no help ever came. His eyes were wide, red and sore as his fingers closed around my throat and I choked and choked.
I would struggle for hours, days, years, it felt like, but then, he’d fade away, so quickly and quietly and the dream would end.
I was afraid to sleep, because he’d find me, but soon, it didn’t matter what I did, because he found his way into the real world.
I never told anyone. I don’t know why but I had the feeling nobody would believe me.
In the beginning, he didn’t approach me when I was awake. He’d just wander the house, the bones of his back and hips jutting out and clicking madly as his arms and legs moved awkwardly through the air.
We’d exchange glances for a moment. His eyes full of worry, and his mouth full of darkness and his silent scream.
I wondered what frightened him so, and why he wanted to frighten me, but my sympathy faded as I fell asleep and fell into dreams where he would torment and torture me.
No part of my life was free. He was everywhere. Street corners, behind the lockers at school, under the bed and beside it. My whole life was swallowed into his dark, dismal world and all I could do was try not to drown.
He began to show me things. He’d beckon me close, our eyes an inch apart, and as I gazed into them, I saw such darkness. His wheezing, woeful breath rang out, and his eyes were full of war, pestilence. The end of the world as I knew it.
Bombs. Violence. Fire. He had seen it all, and he showed it to me.
I’d watch my parents die. All the kids at school. My brothers. Myself. All of us. We were nothing but a pile of bones in the end, and there he stood, atop the remains, screaming as always.
I couldn’t tell what was a dream, and what was not.
He became bolder. Following me everywhere. Blood dripped from his empty, ever open mouth, dribbling down his pale chin and onto his bare, bony chest. He’d scratch the walls with his long nails, silently shrieking as I watched, helpless.
His hands wrapped around my throat, his slender, soaked fingers choking the life out of me as we screamed in silence together.
He would sit by my bed after he grew bored of playing. Staring with his wide, wicked eyes, screaming his silent scream and staring until the morning came. There were no words between us. Just an aching dread in the air.
I wish I could remember how I made him go away. He just stopped visiting me one day. I was plagued by his presence for years, but one day, when I was seventeen, it just stopped, and I slept well for the first time since childhood.
All I can remember was the only thing he ever said to me.
“Will you accept?”
That was all. I nodded, and it all stopped. At last, I was free.
I forgot, as time went on, and now, I’m unprepared.
I think I understand our trade now.
The stakes are high and I’ve no idea how to stop him.
I understand what he was asking for. I finally understand the deal I made, and now it’s too late to go back.
I was only seventeen, and sick of the sight of him. I just wanted to be free. I didn’t know what it would cost me. I didn’t know what my future held, not really.
He’s back. Spaghetti Man, and this time, he will take the only thing that truly matters to me. I know I sound insane, but it’s true. I know this because my Son told me.
“Spaghetti man wants to talk to you.”
I froze, my whole body consumed with fear as my Son looked up at me. He tugged at my sleeve, and I knelt down to meet his gaze.
“A deal is a deal, Mummy.”
I clutched him to my chest, I shook but he smiled, his eyes growing wide as I broke down in tears.
A chorus of clicks filled the air, and I didn’t dare to look. The cracking of his bones surrounded me, and I covered my Son’s innocent ears, wailing in hopelessness as the nightmare that had plagued my childhood placed his cold, spindly, slimy fingers on my Son’s shoulders.
My Son had the dreams too, just like me. He told me all about them, as we were watched over by Spaghetti Man. My Son’s jaw fell deeper with every word, until soon his mouth hung open in a constant scream, and he fell silent.
Spaghetti Man stood behind him, staring at me, his frozen face and his bulging eyes filling my body with panic. It must have all started with the dreams, but then, he found his way back into our world to collect what he was owed. I don’t know how. I still don’t know why he came to me in the first place, but as I watched my boy’s soft skin boil into sores, and his bones break and shake under his pale skin, all I knew was that Spaghetti Man was the cruellest monster I could have ever imagined.
I pleaded with Spaghetti Man. I asked him to take me instead. I begged, pulling my son back into my arms and begging him to stay with me, but no matter what I did, I was destined to be alone.
My Son is all that I have. He’s all that I am, and now, I’m watching him walk away. His little hand is captured inside the fist of that thing, and all I can do is cry.
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