That night, Jenna felt extraordinarily self-aware. As she stared at the ceiling in the dark, blinking, she thought to herself, “I can’t possibly die right now. I’m too much aware of my own being.” Then, she said those words out loud, into the quiet.
“I can’t possibly die right now. I’m too much aware of my own being,” Jenna said.
Her hands moved up from her stomach to her face, and she covered her face with them. She breathed in deeply, then sighed. Rolling over on to her stomach and looking at the door to her room, she began to think. It was a Friday night. No one would be coming through that door this evening.
Her roommates were gone for a night of partying and drinking and dancing. It wasn’t that Jenna didn’t like to dance. She loved to dance. But something about being trapped on the floor, surrounded by men, the lights low and the music loud, just didn’t appeal to her.
Turning onto her back, she placed her hands on her stomach and listened to the air conditioner. It was soft and constant and the gentle hum started to send her towards sleep.
Voices outside her window pulled her awake and she gasped a little and opened her eyes. She turned back on to her stomach and using her pillow as a prop placed her head near towards the blinded window. She peeked between them like someone out of a movie.
Her room was on the top floor of a complex of apartments for college students. It was two stories high and from there she could see perfectly where the workers for the school would take their little carts. They’d patrol the campus during the day, collecting trash bags and such. At night they would come back here, behind Jenna’s room, throw away the last of the collected trash and sit out in the gated parking area. There was a shed out there as well, for tools. Near the shed every worker parks their real cars. Most had trucks. Often they would all sit in the bed of a truck and drink beer and talk. Jenna sometimes would watch them for a couple of minutes and try to guess what they talked about. Tonight though something different was happening. There were men there, but Jenna wasn’t sure if these were the same men that she usually saw. They drove up in their little carts and they had just one bag. It was full of student garbage, Jenna imagined.
This time though, the men moved with a different intent. They didn’t move as men who wanted to sit in the bed of a truck and drink beer. They parked their carts, and some moved towards the shed. These workers had no hop in their step. They slouched a bit actually, and moved as if they were very, very tired. “It was a Friday night,” Jenna thought.
She let her fingers slip, closing the gap between the blinds a little. Out from the shed, being led by one of the tired men with a thick, thick rope was a large creature. It was a hulking thing, taller than all the men. Its skin was gray and thick and muscled and it had no neck. It dragged its arms and shuffled its feet. The torso turned nearly into a mouth, and close by its mouth were two black eyes. They glinted if the light hit them a certain way.
The thing walked a good distance from the shed and sat down. It scratched its face and opened its mouth and closed its mouth. A low, low moan escaped from it. Jenna’s eyes widened.
Now some men came over with the student trash bag. They brought it over to the thing and they cut the bag open. They cut it open. It wasn’t a bag, Jenna thought. It was a sack. It must have been a burlap sack and it wasn’t trash, no it wasn’t, a girl fell out, a girl wearing an off-white dress, who was young probably, and she fell out on to the ground from the sack and the Jenna started to cry because the girl was awake.
She was tied up and gagged and she was awake and she was squirming and she was trying to scream, probably. Jenna closed the blinds a little more, but she kept looking. She had to keep looking as the thing picked up the girl and quietly pulled her apart and stuck her body-pieces into its mouth and the girl’s dress was getting stained and now the men pulled out beers and watched and there went the left leg, and the lower half, and the creatures face was stained, and it was very quiet, because it was just lowering them in and not even swallowing and the girl was gone now, and…
Jenna stopped looking, but kept crying. She scooched back onto the bed, onto her back. Her hands went to her stomach again but they weren’t still. They were grasping and pulling at her shirt. She kept crying and she didn’t stop, and when she heard a low, low moan from outside her window, and shuffling feet, she sobbed. She pulled up her blanket, and she covered her face and just shook for a while.
After a long time, without even meaning to, Jenna fell asleep. She woke up late in the morning. So late, it almost wasn’t morning anymore. Her eyes hurt badly. Turning over onto her stomach, she moved to look through the blinds. Just a little peek. And she saw, out where the thing had been, with the men and beers, and the girl, there was a large stain on the ground. That was it. There were no beer cans, or pieces of a dress, or girl, or anything. Just a splash of dusty, dry, dark blood. “Nobody will know about it,” she thought. Nobody goes back there but those men.