A thought process written at 01.21am. Forgive any glaring errors!

Henry lives with me.

He arrived on an August day otherwise unmarked and unremarkable. I woke up bathed in sunlight; showered, shaved. As I dried myself with soft and thick Marks and Spencer towels, I noticed that Henry had taken residence in one of the wings, his dark dome raised cryptically, almost mockingly, as he looked back at me with a visage void of emotion. Poked and prodded I had, to ascertain how his arrival and occupation had come to pass, but nothing was offered. Henry was as quiet as he was persistent, as solid as he was shadowy, as omnipresent as he was rooted.

“Henry,” I’d say, “Henry, how did you get in?”

He would simply, silently, stare back.

“Henry,” I’d say, “Henry, what is it that you want?”

Stoic. Shaka, when the walls fell.

“Henry,” I’d say, “Henry, why are you doing this to me?”

Unmoved. Resolute. Smug.

When the anxiety got the better of me, I sought advice. In a cornflower office, with a very cheap plywood and veneer desk and a chunky winter knit, a gentleman in Tom Ford glasses informed me that as long as Henry didn’t occupy any more room than he already had, then it was best to just leave him be – let him sit comfortably in his part of the house and just ignore him. The glasses went up and down on the bridge of his nose as he spoke, gently poked back into place periodically as they slipped down; I fixated on this repetition, the sound of his voice slowly disappearing to nothing, as the black and gold frame was reset by fingers kept professionally manicured, each touch betraying the tell-tale dips of a removed ring on his third left. An almost imperceptible beep from the computer on the desk refocussed me and prompted his so-is-there-anything-elses.

Henry simply was, and there was nothing to be done about him.

So, I did nothing. Henry has remained in his wing for fifteen years, so far. I nervously tip-toed around him for a while, considering him an impostor, an invader. Angrily, and with some determination, I then resolved to continue about my life, remembering him every now and again when he showed himself, checking briefly to see all was just so, and moving on shortly after. He remained simply Henry – no conversation, no movement, no interactions at all. I grew used to having him around, a dandelion in my lawn that has flowered yellow, unobtrusive, unnoticed.

Eventually, I came to think of him as a guest at a birthday party that nobody can remember inviting: as long as he causes no trouble, and he keeps buying his own drinks, then he’s okay to stick around – but he’ll have to cope with my choice of music.

Quite in contrast, Seider lived with my Father. Like Henry, she moved in without a word, quietly insinuating herself here and there, around the place, in little nooks and crannies in which nobody thought to look. Unlike Henry, she was a subtle, coiling beast: it took a long time to notice that she was even there, hidden in the depths of the property. She undertook no major works, no redecorations, just little trinkets here and there, bits of herself, aggressively left for others to find when she eventually decided that she wanted out.

I look at Henry, from time to time, and wonder if he’ll do the same to me. If he has grand plans to surreptitiously move a vase or put down a new woven basket. If I’d even notice. From time to time, I check in on him, like I was told to; he’s still there. He’s still minding his own business. ‘Likely benign’ was the phrase that Mr. Glasses had used.

As long as that doesn’t change, then Henry lives with me.

Follow my main account in the Fediverse: @dav@social.maleo.uk

Shared automatically with @writers@a.gup.pe @shortstories@a.gup.pe @novellas@a.gup.pe @microfiction@a.gup.pe

#shortstories #microfiction #novellas #writers #speculativefiction #sff #scifi #sciencefiction #mastowriters