Eight p.m. Every evening they put him away at eight p.m. The soft click of turning lock and the tinkle of withdrawn key ushered in the changes. The click and tinkle confounded the tide of his breath. The click dilated his pupils and - like hooked fish - wrenched at his eyes. The tinkle snarled the stroke of his heart - it thrashed and often seemed to choke on a mouthful of its own blood.
Then there was only the light crawling moribund under the door. Some feet into the room it perished and decomposed. Exhaling its last, it gave half-life to the changes.
Now Georghe stopped his breath. He refused to contribute. But now the lines and angles of the dresser had softened. Or the dismembered wreckage of his rag dolls had bonded and begun extending a langurous tentacle. Or the shadows under the bed smiled upward and shrugged nonchalantly.
Now, while Georghe's body still obeyed, he screamed. But the click and tinkle were irrevocable. The scream began to unravel. Between the changes and the stability of the adult world was Door. The scream was infected by the changes. Door had clicked and tinkled. The scream was not even recognizable as his any longer. Click and tinkle barred forever the mysteries of adult stability, of monotonous perspective, of blase profanity, of defilements conventional and rigid and wonderful. The screamer was not exactly, not quite, not precisely him. Forever was ten hours. Scream was becoming gurgle.. echo of gurgle.. a laughter of gurgles. Just he - inside ten hours' foreverness - and the changes. It was a sob of laughter and gone, changed to silence softly; so softly - enfolding the pitted edge between sound and un-sound in velvety flesh fruit. To survive eternity to kill - nine hours and fifty eight minutes.
Georghe started in the middle of the litany: ".. don't close eyes, no surprise..." He started sudden and hard so the bed shook underneath. So sudden, the spasm sank from memory before arising. Door was gazing back. The doorknob swirled gawking darkness - a light draining, sight drinking glare. It glanced away. It looked again. It winked, then glowered.
"Stop," he pleaded when his body rose from the bed. Self-satisfied undulations, the changes slithered outside and inside his face. Skewering his breath, impaling his sockets, the cyclops tugged. Georghe, eyes to eye of darkness, gaped. There, on the other side of Door: a room, a bed, a boy writhing on a bed. The writhing boy's hand rose supplicating, reached compassion - coiling, moist hand, dripping abcessed fluid changes from night-shirt sleeve.
Georghe was pulled - it felt like being sucked from and spat into his flesh at once - through the cyclops door. Through the baleful eye, from brink to brink in the flutter of a blink, he was left abandoned on the either side. Tottering on paralytic legs, he stumbled into the boy's embracing warmth. Palm to palm, face to face; changes boiled meat flowed over-under, in-out of undiscriminating bone until all vanished with a lurch in Georghe's chest.
He opened terror-chiseled eyes to darkness. All was still. He held his breath. Still was all unchanged. No perishing light crawled under Door.
"Dream, just a dream, nothing but a dream."
One solitary moon sliver poured through the shutters - silver pure. It thrust at Door, skewering it. Power rose in him - a tide - and he rose with it. His hands blocked and held the moon sliver - feral grin - only to again release it to again skewer Door.
"Don't pretend," he intoned.
The door-knob, startled, opened. Door blinked cyclopean bewilderment; perhaps - pleasure - anguish. Fearless, he bent a mocking gaze at the eye of Door.
Through the eye, he saw, changes scampered. The living room oozed, canted, listed.. then drained swirling into the room beyond. In the room beyond creation greedily - obscene, ardorous lip-smacking - devoured itself. In the room beyond raw flux gave way to naked chaos. Still, through the eye, Georghe saw. Mother and father danced infected - insectile. At hips, at mouths, they flowed back and forth; and locked stricken horrored eyes. Mother, ullulating anguish counterpoints, spasmed.
"No, no, no, no.. "
He wrenched Door... and, sighing capitulation, it yielded. The silver moon-shaft burst forth, alighting, in the kitchen, on the knife. The knife blazed back hunger - promising unchanging foreverness.
"I'll save you."
Eternal constancy beckoned.