A Short Story


Finn Dimeo, Contributor, Lit Mag

 Click, click the lighter ignites with a low hum. Grabbing a candlestick, Gavriel lights it; closing the lighter and placing it down, he holds another candle and lights it too, repeating this again and again. It’s a repetitive motion of turning the candle to the side, touching the wicks, and waiting a few seconds for it to catch. As he sets the last candle down, he sees someone approaching– a young, tanned man with short dark hair.

“Hello Father, how are you today?” asks the young man. 

Turning around fully, Gavriel looks at the boy smiling gently and holding a handful of taper candles.

“I’m doing alright; how about you?” Gavriel responds, smiling back.

  Walking up onto the altar, the boy places the candles in a neat pile. 

“I’m great,” he responds.

He takes up a candle holder and yanks the old candle out of it. The wax made it hard for the candles to pop out. Placing it down, he grabs another, repeating till he replaces the old candles. Grasping the lighter off the table and lights a candle, he places the lighter back down and picks up the candle and lights the rest, then he places it back down.

TING! They both turn to face the noise, and the boy walks over to it, leans down, and grabs it.

“It was just a candle holder, but it’s broken now,” he sighs. Standing up he walked back over to Gavriel. 

“Damn, it’s one of the good ones, but whatever I can try and fix it, just hand it here Jonathan,” said Gavriel.

  Handing the broken candlestick to him Jonathan grabbed the lighter and walked off. Gavriel put it down on a pew and continued the daily upkeep of the church. 

Later that afternoon, Gavriel is sitting alone on a pew, about to leave when he hears a noise: a shuffle, a clank, and a deep hiss. Confused, he gets up to investigate.

“This a dumb idea, something might be there and no one is here to help if there is,” he thought.

Nothing. Just a fallen candelabra with wax all over the floor. He sighed and picked up the candelabra, at least it wasn’t broken.

“Is everything okay? I heard a clank,” Jonathan walked in hastily, a worried look on his face.

“I’m fine these candles were somehow knocked over, I just need to clean up the wax,” Gavriel was more annoyed by the mess than the weird noise he heard.

By the time he finished cleaning, it was pitch black outside. It wasn’t that late; the sun started setting a lot earlier. After grabbing his coat and keys, he walked back to the pews where he left the broken candlestick, picking it up, and walked towards the door of the church.

“JONATHAN, HURRY UP; I’M LEAVING!” Gavriel yelled. Jonathan’s footsteps went from a walk to a run as he came into the entrance.

“Sorry, I lost track of time,” panted Jonathan. Sliding his coat on

“There’s no need to apologize, I was just calling you,” he replied, opening the door and meeting the cold outside air. 

They walked side by side shivering to the car. Jonathan wastes no time hopping into the car and shutting the door; Gavriel gets in too and turns the car on, and the radio resumes the last played song, Danse Macabre. As he pulls out of the parking lot and turns onto a dark, silent road, the only noise is the music, which was quite faint. 

“Do you only listen to classical music? Does it not make you tired?” asked Jonathan, rubbing his eyes.

“Most of the time, and it makes me calm; that’s why I listen to it most of the time,” he replied.

He pulls into the driveway; they live in a small, 2-story house; in the woods, and the wood on the outside of the house is aged; they both stepped out of the car and walked up to the house; Gavriel unlocks the door and opens it; he enters, Jonathan follows in right after him. They both take off their shoes and coats, and Jonathan goes straight to the couch and sits down on it. A cat runs up to him, rubbing against his legs and jumping on the couch.

“Oh, hey mamas, how were you today?” says Jonathan in a baby voice, petting the cat’s dark coat.

“Jona, I’m going to go start making dinner, okay?” said Gavriel.

Jonathan just hummed back, still focusing on the cat and how she rubbed her head into the palm of his hand.

“Well, aren’t you just the sweetest?” says Jona, scratching her chin.

Time went on as Gavriel cooked and Jonathan petted and played with his cat; he barely 

noticed when Gavriel called him into the kitchen to eat.

Both of them ate in silence like they usually do, just enjoying each other’s company. Once they finished, Gavriel did the dishes, and Jonathan went to feed their cats. Gavriel went upstairs and walked into his room and got ready for bed. Lying in bed staring at the ceiling, hearing a chatting noise like a cat messing with a bug. 

“Daisy quit bothering whatever’s there it aint bothering you, leave it alone and come here,” groans Gavriel.

Looking over, Daisy is laying on his bed, sleeping. He’s nervous about what’s making that noise, he’s disturbed, but he tries to chalk it up to the imagination. He hears it again but this time it’s louder and deeper. He slowly sits up and looks around, his eyes settling on a tall dark figure blending into the darkness of the room, two small pale eyes stared back they glowed in the darkroom. Gavriel sits up quickly and pushes himself up against a wall with a thud, it shocked him, and he tried to convince himself it was fake, that it had to be a dream of some sort. He looked around the room all of the crosses on his walls were inverted, Gavriel pushes himself harder on the wall, making him flush against it he stares at it, watching its every twitch; it lets out a deep growl now, and it walks over slowly like a predator stalking its prey, once it reached the bed it crawled on it reaching out to Gavriel with a hostile swipe. Gavriel’s eyes widened.

Screaming himself awake Gavriel says up and looks around his room, nothing was out of place, not a cross or picture frame. It had the same pale wall color, same with the dark wood dressers, even his cat was in the same spot. Looking outside his window he saw that the sun was rising. While he was disturbed by the nightmare he was glad it was just one; that it wasn’t real and couldn’t affect him. 

Days went by, it was like his life was on repeat the same day over and over, monotonous. Along with the blur of days the night stuck out, the same nightmare every night, but it got increasingly more disturbing; more aggressive, it was more grotesque looking. Gavriel dreaded it, he hated the night he grew more paranoid as every hour passed. He tried to put off sleep, and it sometimes worked, but he became more irritable and ready to flip out if something inconvenient happened. He also started to notice things changing in the real world, well he thought it was the real world, but he didn’t know what was real anymore on account of the sleep deprivation. Jonathan started to notice the change in mannerisms.

“Father Gavriel, are you okay you seem estranged?” questioned Jonathan.

“Eh- I’m fine, I just haven’t been sleeping very well,” answered Gavriel.

“Oh well okay, I hope you get some good rest soon,” said Jonathan.

That night Gavriel lies in his bed, and once again he is back in the dream world, at this point he expects it, and he looks over to face it, but it’s not there, he’s confused it is the same setting as always, the inverted crosses, broken picture frames but it’s not there. Gavriel slides out of bed and walks up to the picture frames, most are broken, he picks up a photo of him holding Jonathan when he was young, the glass was broken it looked like someone purposefully broke it on the side of Jonathan, tearing part of the image.  He walks out of his room and downstairs, once he is down there he sees that the sun is just starting to rise. 

CRASH!  Gavriel is woken up in shock, in the pitch black of the room. Trying to look around he sees it again, and his eyes widen.