The Collector


Dear Reader,

I have this dark place in me,

That holds all the scary in.

It is a quarantined cell inside my mind,

It keeps every horror movie that I’ve ever watched

Under strict probation.

This cell is encased with a locked chained door,

And unbreakable steel bars.

And is the only reason I sleep at night without fear.

I try not to think about it too hard,

I try not to listen too clearly to the sounds beyond,

I close my eyes and try to fall asleep quickly.

Because bad things happen when I become aware.

Bad things form when I pay attention to the shadows in the room.

If I listen closely, I can hear the sharp blades running down the hot pipe,

My forearm heats in preparation of what comes next.

I can see the sweet seducer with a white painted face holding a yellow balloon.

My eyes widen as I remember those razor teeth and disturbing face that should not belong to a clown.

The scene of the baby walker moving across the room on its own freezes me into place.

But as a writer, I have to knock on that fateful door.

As a writer of horror, I have no choice but to take a peek.

How else am I supposed to draw the breath of fear from you readers?

With a deep breath I tell myself just a peek and tap into the shadows of the night.

I hesitate though,

If I tap into that place, I’m not sure I can pull myself back.

The mirror in my room will no longer be allowed,

Summer camps near a lake will never be on my bucket list and banned for my future offspring,

I will never relax fully in a bathtub full of bubbles.


How else am I supposed to disturb your sleep, dear readers?

So I write with a candle nearby.

White.  It has to be white.

And pray nothing follows me back from the darkness




Quanisha A. McGruder


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