When Midnight Came to Call

When Midnight came to call,

we were asleep,

dreaming gossamer promises

on fat, puffy clouds of comfort.

We were sedated.

Full to our teeth

with self aggrandized portions,

helpings heaped with our satisfaction

and swimming in a rich sauce

of wanton disregard.

 

Of course,

we had not been shy

with the wine of opulence

and the spirits

distilled from our entitlement.

It is our lot to dine as such

and such a meal

would make anyone drowsy;

so no one heard the doorbell

when Midnight came to call.

 

We have never locked our doors.

Why should we have to live in fear?

We worked so hard

for a free and open society;

locked doors just show that we’re afraid.

Besides, this is a large, private community,

patrolled  by security,

who could do harm here?

That is why,

when Midnight came to call,

he rang the bell,

twice,

and when no one responded,

he tried the door,

found it unlocked,

and let himself in.

 

Our dogs,

of course,

did not bark.

We had long since removed their voice boxes

and their claws

and their testicles;

so when Midnight came to call,

he stood inside the door

and the dogs looked at him for a moment,

puzzled.

They had never met anyone like Midnight,

but his scent reminded them

of something old.

Something ancient and primal,

so when Midnight reached out

his pale hand towards them,

the dogs just sniffed it

and decided that Midnight

would be their new master.

Midnight gave each dog

a scratch behind the ear,

then they lay down quietly.

 

We woke

with an inexplicable feeling of trepidation,

but it was only indigestion

and after a quick trip to the toilet,

we were again fast asleep.

Then, in the darkest moment of the night,

before the sun begins its way to the horizon,

we woke again

and there was Midnight,

standing inside our bedroom door.

We shouted at him to get out,

but then he was standing at the foot of the bed.

We threatened to call the police

and reached for the phone,

but we were paralyzed with fear.

We were terrified.

 

This couldn’t be happening.

We had passed laws,

making it illegal for Midnight to return.

We had barred and banished

Midnight from our communities.

We had educated generations

of our children

that Midnight was not welcome

in our homes,

in our cities,

in our world.

 

Midnight just stood there,

now at the bedside,

looking at us

with deep, black, eternal eyes.

His face was unremarkable,

if pale.

His expression verged on disinterested.

Then he opened his mouth,

but no words came out.

Instead, he exhaled a great breath

of all our greatest fears.

Death, disease, mediocrity, madness, violence,

ugliness, deformity, poverty, war,

famine, hate and abandonment;

all these and more.

 

When Midnight came to call,

he returned to us

the world we thought domesticated.

He brought us back our pain,

our discomfort, our tragedy

and our humanity.

 

When Midnight came to call,

he spoke in words that were nightmares,

that woke us from our dreams

and gave us back our terror

and our lives.

 

HG – 2016

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