Darkness had descended on the city hours ago, leaving only the streetlights to illuminate the black fabric of universe that hung overhead. An occasional honk or barking dog can be heard, but otherwise, a hush of eerie silence drifts over the community like a thick fog.
Moving through the lonely streets of Calgary, left abandoned by the endless activities of the day, an impromptu ghost town is born by the setting of the sun.
While most of the population had closed their eyes and succumbed to the call of slumber hours before, one particular bedroom window remains brightly lit.
Entering the tiny apartment, it’s reminiscent of any other messy bachelor pad. A second-hand couch stares blankly across the living room at an extra large television while a mystery plant dies of dehydration in the corner. Tonight’s dirty supper dishes, along with yesterday’s, lay abandoned on a rectangular coffee table. Stacks of unopened mail are left strewn about the matted beige carpet which is in desperate need of vacuuming.
The bathroom is littered with the remnants of the week’s laundry and the hallway is devoid of any pictures except for one that clings precariously to the corner of a tilted frame.
From the outside, it was a home like any other…except for the bedroom.
Approaching the closed white door at the end of the dark hallway, a glaring light escapes from the small crack at the bottom. On the other side of the door, only a low whispering can be heard penetrating the silence of the apartment.
Several dead bolts decorate the inside of the door even though he’d learned long ago that no amount of locks can keep the creatures out.
Plugged into every available outlet within the little room, nightlights and lamps of all shapes and sizes drown out every possible shadow.
Strategically built wooden boards form a barrier around the base of the queen-sized bed. It was simply too frightening to climb in and out of bed with the dark space underneath threatening to grab his ankles at any given moment.
A lone dresser sits unrecognizable at the far end of the room. Beaded rosaries drape over the semi-open drawers while a large statue of Buddha grins from his perch atop the dresser. A miniature nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus with his human and animal onlookers occupies most of the space on the left side of the dresser. A lovely bust of the Virgin Mary wears a Mona Lisa smile next to a large silver menorah, all its candles lit and flickering with every breath of air that nears it.
A crucifix hangs beside an amulet of the Star of David; both keeping a vigilant eye over the young man as he reads from various bibles and religious scriptures. The words of King James, the Kabala and the Quran are amongst the rows of sacred literature decorating the bedroom floor.
Kneeling before the shrine in the corner of his bedroom, the young man shivers as psalms and verses pour rapidly from his trembling lips.
His forehead beading with sweat, he glances around himself every few seconds. Palms pressed together, he ignores the pain of the fresh bruises on his wrists and ankles. Rocking back and forth, he prays feverishly to any deity that will hear him…and protect him.
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