There’s a knock at the door.
You are sitting by the fireplace, curled up on a rug with the cat in your lap. A few of your friends lounge leisurely on the sofas and armchairs scattered about the cozy hearth.
“Who is that?” you ask out loud to no one in particular. There is a book in your hand, a political thriller based on a true story. and your friends are lazily gazing at the tv or thumbing through magazines. You don’t want to look up but no one answers your question. “Are we expecting someone?”
You’re brown eyed friend clears their throat, “Yup, I know who it is, their okay- you can let them in.” You raise an eyebrow, “you invited them over to my house?” The friend fidgets in their seat, “oh, i’m sorry i thought that was okay, you said we could bring someone to come enjoy a cozy night at your place?” You sigh and retract your bristles. That is an accurate report on what you told them, and you don’t mind new people and visitors. It always makes for an interesting night. You open the door.
There stands a monster.
On the concrete step under the decorative eaves that cover your front door frame. The monster is so tall, that they must peer down through the ivy vines that lace and weave through the brackets. The monster speaks, “Hello.”
Your throat is dry and you can hardly move or take a breath but somehow something comes squeaking out, “Hi?”
The monster chuckles, “I was told this was the address…I’m here for the cozy hang out?” You stand stiffly before them clutching the door to help hold you upright. Your heart is pounding and everything feels surreal. “I’m sorry what?…. You..You want?” There is cold air pushing past you both and seeping into the room where your friends sit contendly. You can hear them yelling, “Let them in!” “Close the door, its cold!” So you yell back, “It’s a monster!” and one friend responds, “Yah, its fine, I know them, we are very close!”
You’ve started regaining your composure so you look the monster in their yellow eyes, and try to ignore the large gleaming fangs (as long as your fingers) dripping silvery saliva to the ground. “Okay, but I have house rules.”
The monster nods, “of course”.
“I have a rabbit, a cat, and a bird. You have to leave them alone.” The monster nods, “of course, I wouldn’t harm them”
You continue, “Please don’t take anything. And be respectful of anyone who is in my house.” The monster grins wider, “Absolutely, please don’t worry. I get it.”
You let the monster in.
They sit on the ground near you and ask to borrow a book to read. You acquiesce and pour them a glass of wine. Every now and then you accidentally brush against their illustrious black-grey fur when you stretch out your legs in front of you. They make conversation with your other friends, and the cozy evening turns to stimulating conversation broken in with moments of gazing into nothingness.
You put a cello playlist on.
The cat has disappeared but you think nothing of it.
You head to the bathroom to take out your contacts, and when you step past the kitchen you hear a smacking sound, and a crunching sound. The hair on the back of your neck arises, and you pause to peer around the corner.
The monster is standing beneath the flourescent lights holding a bright red dripping pile of bones and ligaments in their hands. Hanging off their pinky finger nail is “thumper” – your rabbit’s nametag. The scream sticks in your throat as you realize what has happened.
Time passes, and your friends have helped you grieve, and allowed you to rail, blame, and shout obscenities at whatever deities can hear you. Your friend who is close to the monster doesn’t talk about what their friend has done. They support you and hold space for you and drink many bottles of whiskey with you . The monster exits your life at this time, without a fuss or fight, as if they weren’t there at all.
Months later, you are sitting on the floor across from your friend playing a board game. You’ve both had 4-5 drinks and the mood is jovial and light, finally. It’s been too long since you felt this freedom in happiness. The doorbell rings
You are tipsy at the door, and its the monster.
They are smiling and holding a bottle of wine.
You stare at them. “Why are you here?”
“Well I heard that you were having a chill night, and I wanted to get together. I brought you that bottle of wine we talked about last year.” Your mind whirls, when you ate my rabbit, you want to scream in the gleaming grinning face. “I don’t think…” you begin to explain as calmly as you can, but the monster interupts, “I know, I think we could really enjoy a nice cozy evening. You went to Spain last month right? How was that?!”
You are taken aback, “Well actually it was Tuscany, Italy- so beautiful and peaceful. Thanks for asking. But…. But I don’t think you should be here.” The monster looks slightly perplexed, “Why is that?” You lick your lips and raise your voice a decibel, “Because you ate my rabbit. And you didn’t even apologize!”
The monster says nothing.
They just look at you.
Your friend comes to the door, probably wondering about the hushed tones and why you’ve been gone so long. “Oh Hi!” your friend says. The monster looks at them and the smile returns. “Hello! I’m so excited to see you, its been so long and we really need to catch up! Oh and I have a gift for you!” They wink and pat the bag in their hand. You speak up again. “This isn’t a good idea.”
The monsters face falls, and their yellow eyes well up with tears. They don’t meet your eyes. Your friend frowns. “Well, listen..’ you begin, but the monster interrupts. “I’m really just looking forward to spending some time with you all. It’s been a rough time.” Your friend gives the monster a hug and looks at you, “we should let them in, its cold out, and its the right thing to do.”
Before you can respond the monster looks back at you, “I understand the rules, I am not to harm your bird or cat, and i shouldn’t take anything or disrespect anyone. I won’t, I promise.” You can’t tell if the monster is being sincere, but you are weary of trying to explain yourself and understand them. “Okay.” you say.
The night is lovely. the conversation seems authentic, although when it steers in a direction the monster doesn’t want it to go, they redirect with practiced smoothness. The monster lights a firelog, and plays a hauntingly ethereal song on your violin. You open the bottle of wine they brought you, and its wonderful. The monster explains why their fur glows iridescently in moonlight and the story is incredible. When the night ends, you are sure that the monster is not at all bad. You decide to invite them to your birthday party.
The monster arrives with a generous present, a brand new violin. You hug the monster, offer them a slice of cake and spin the room talking to friends and family. They sing to you, tell stories about you and enjoy each others company. You go upstairs to put your violin away. It’s getting late, and people are getting drunk and you don’t want to break the monsters gift. As you turn on the light to your bedroom you notice iridescent black hair in the corner. When the lights flicker on, you see the monster huddled on the floor with your cat in their arms. The cats belly is sliced open and the organs are pulsing out and spilling into the hands of the monster. You look into the monsters yellow eyes.
They are empty.