Nick the Phobia

(Nyctophobia: an irrational fear of the night or darkness)

All is still, soundless, and waiting. The dark outlines are seared remains of what used to be. The slide, flattened into the ground. The merry-go-round, blackened to a crisp. The jungle gym and teeter-totter, ground to a fine line. Mere shadow imprints are all that are left. Corroded toys lay discarded. The grass is yellowed and withered. Not even the wind disrupts this playground.

The playground has been shutdown since that day. It is best remained untouched. Please do not disturb the playground. It becomes uncomfortable at night. The entire playground transforms. All the equipment gets a brand new shine, an unnatural sheen, restored to pristine condition. Seeing that shiny slide too well lit in the dark is so tempting. Maybe you start thinking if I go down that slide: I will feel like a child again, I will validate my childhood, or I take that slide. The moment of contact, Nick comes out to play.

Click, clack, click is heard as Nick approaches. The sudden fireflies are its blinking eyes. Nick holds a toy clacker in its lengthy, slender tongue which slinks out of a wide grotesque mouth full of shark teeth. Beware of Nick’s monstrous hands, massive gnarled hands reaching form the darkness. The fingers are twisted and bent like branches of an ancient tree, twitching towards you. You should be extra wary of the fifth hand which holds Nick’s stomach. Nick’s stomach is a quivering, moist, chewed up mass that squelches and belches out oozing gastric fluids. It’s unsightly.

Nick is not the only one who plays in the dark. The ghosts of the children from that day linger on. They giggle, play, and “live” out their last moments from that day. Every night they can be heard. People who actually see the ghosts aren’t seen again. So sad what happened… what happened that day, that day Nick arrived.

I was there, a serene summer afternoon. A dozen other kids aiming high on the swings, not sharing the slide, and keeping upright on the merry-go-round. The parents conversing among themselves. A beautiful summer day. Click, clack, click, clack, we should have fled when we heard it. We continued to play as the breeze died and nature went silent.

Evelyn was the first to whistle. She was whistling an unnerving tune. The eerie kind that worms into your ear feeling familiar and itchy. All us kids joined in, whistling the same tune. The parents were nodding along. We whistled louder, our mouths drying and our faces reddening. The parents looked like bobble heads. Their heads jerking up and down; their necks straining with the motion. No one could stop. I couldn’t move. Everyone was stuck that way until sunset.

The sun shrinking as the shadows grew. The clicking was closer. Nick’s hand reached out of a shadow. I heard its fingers creak and snap. I was fixated by its long, jagged nails. I was staring at Nick’s nasty, filthy nails, a sickening brown yellow color. I could nothing but whistle as Nick’s fingers enclosed on me.

I don’t know what happened after, but my body was found later. The bystander who found me was horrified at the sight. My blue tint skin, eyeballs bulging out of the sockets, both of my hands violently shoved into my mouth, and drool foaming down my face. I was left quite unsightly.

Please stay away from the playground, from Nick. Funny, I’m not sure why the monster is named Nick. I-uh, uh, I-I-I…

I was the first victim. My name is Nicholas.

  • IronMosquito

    This was really cool until the end. Just a tip! Writing from the perspective of the victim/pulling the “I was the monster all along” reveal really takes you out of the immersiveness that a story offers. Otherwise good job, I found the concept to be really interesting! Have a good one 😀

  • DJ bunch

    Great story!! I even liked the ending, but it begs the question; what got Nick if Nick was Nick?
    Awesome detail on everything, really put me there.
    I know as a general rule you shouldn’t perspective shift at the end, but rules should be followed until they shouldn’t. Just my opinion.