This story begins behind a locked door in a room as black as night in a house with all the lights turned off. This is where the man lives; you know him even though you have never met him. You have seen him in a dream that you have never remembered. In the dream you are sat in your living room and the only light comes from the silent television in front of you. The room is silent too, in the way that the pictures on the television are; no hush, no whisper, no trace of sound. The room is so still that it may be that sound cannot travel in it at all.
The television light flickers across you as your head turns to the right, moving to look at the slightly opened door. As you look at it the door seems still but you cannot stop looking at it. Perhaps the light flickering over it may seem to make it move. You keep looking and trying to tell if it has moved and time seems to disappear in the same way that sound has, into the heavy stillness of the room. Then the door begins to move.
Now your body is as still as the room, as heavy as the air. Now the only movement in the room is the slowly moving door and your blood pumping through your leaden heart, sluggishly coursing around your body. You can feel the deep red colour of your blood as it slows to amber and now you are trapped in it. The door keeps moving, steady as a blooming flower. Slowly it moves, it's bottom edge gliding over the carpet like a spirit. Here it comes, moving on it's hinges and you know that something behind the door is pushing it with a heavy and cold inhuman precision.
The man is there before you even know it. You must have been looking down , though you don't know how you could have even moved your eyes, you now feel so frozen in place. When you first see him it is like being plunged into freezing water, every part of your body turning chill at the same instant. You want to flinch away but you cannot. Your stomach drops and your heart lurches in your chest. You feel sicker than you ever have before in your life but you cannot react. No movement is possible.
Only the corner of his head has appeared; hairless, grey and blue with veins of dull purple under skin like tracing paper. Like the door before it the head moves slowly and inexorably forward, unstoppable, inevitable. You cannot remember what it is like to breath, if you ever knew. You have stopped still.
Now a single eye begins to appear. The eye is open and staring, the eye of a dead man but wet and glossy and alive and it shines with an intensity and an intelligence more frightening than the dead could ever be. The cold cheek that follows betrays the horrific grimace that contorts the face of the man, a nightmarish rictus that is not a matter of effort or intent but simply how he is, how he has always been.
Slowly, slowly he moves forward, as if he has forever to do this in. In equal measure your ability to reason, to think or to do anything but shriek inside in terror, diminishes. Nothing is left in you but a frightened animal as the tiniest corner of his mouth appears. Cracked and bleeding lips with tiny rivulets of scarlet spreading onto shores of pale, pale skin. The merest glint of pearl teeth and black, shining gums, a stinking tongue just as black.
Now the face of the man is appearing in full and you are shocked by a sound. There is a soft rasp like fine sandpaper as his cold, dirty, sharp fingers move around the door and hold it still. Then he just stays there, unmoving, held still in space but with a horrid tension that could erupt into furious movement at any moment. His face, unreal and false, waxed paper and flesh, awful, uglier and sharper than anything you could ever know is just staring right at you, unblinking.
If this were not a dream you might leap up, screaming in fear and panic and desperation as you pushed the door at him, terrified at the feel of his weight and heft behind it. Then he might laugh and you would surely be lost.
Instead it is a dream and you sit, held in it beyond your own will. You cry inside as nothing else happens and you sit and sit and horror washes over you every second and the man who lives in his dark house smiles at you and pulls his living dead face further away from anything that is normal and sane. This is the house that the man lives in, it's doors locked tight; you are always here with him, every night when you go to sleep.