“Where are you, little Lamb?”
The boy was jolted awake.
He was drenched with sweat. For some reason, his bed didn’t feel… safe. The silence felt unusually heavy, despite it being perfectly natural in the middle of the night, right? Even the sound made by the ruffling sheets when he stood up somehow seemed different. He felt cold. A freezing puff of wind made him shiver. The window was open; had he left it open before going to sleep…? He took a few steps towards the windows. Tap, tap. Was that really his footsteps? He couldn’t really tell. But he would close the window, and put an end to this uneasiness, and
“Don’t go yet, little Lamb…”
A voice. Behind him. Twisted, distorted, evil. He had to leave right this instant. You need to flee. He knew. You’ll be devoured. He knew. He left his untidy bed behind and started running.
But this was his house, as big as a castle by day and as small as a closet by night. There was nowhere to hide. He could feel its breathe on his neck, he could hear the whispering shadows creeping behind him and the saliva dripping down a carnivorous row of sharp teeth.
“The Tyger is burning bright; tonight,
oh, how I will feast on your fright…”
The boy reached the kitchen. Empty, devoid of the life it was usually brimming with. On the wall, a set of butcher’s knives was aligned. Had they always been there? His mind was breathless and he couldn’t say. Two were missing. He knew where one was. The other one… was in his hand. Why?
“The butcher’s knife is for cutting the pig’s head off. Will you, little Lamb?”
He kept on running. Gasping for air desperately, all his muscles spurred by terror. Next was the living room. So many family portraits hung down on the chimney. But no matter how much he looked, he couldn’t find his own face. Every single picture was staring at him. Accusing him. A shiver ran down his spine and he pressed forward. He could hear a frame being shattered behind him. Had he been a mere instant slower, he…
“Who are you running from? Who are you running to?”
The voice was pernicious. It was poison oozing off every wall. Slowly creeping towards him like the tide and leaping on him like a hyena. He strongly prayed for it to stop, but nothing would stop. Not the fear, not the pain of his aching body, not the frantic race.
He reached the bathroom. The bathtub was filled with something black and gooey. He’d never get his finger back if he did more than brush the surface. He knew. The various substances found in the bathroom felt like murderous mixtures. Nothing felt right. Was this really a bathroom or a dentist’s pure, white scaffold? He didn’t want to be tied up. He didn’t want to be forced to sit down. He didn’t want to have everyone smile at him and cheer on him to be strong, as if everything was alright, when nothing was alright and he was about to die. He ran again.
“Drowning would make you peaceful, little Lamb… why won’t you?”
He knew that too. But he couldn’t just yet. He had to run, faster, quicker, he had to grow wings this instant and fly away, farther than any man had ever laid foot. Or else…
But here he was. Back in his room. The window was closed, the bed in order. The boy slowed down; there was no other way than the door he had just gone trough. He was trapped.
“Don’t you know who I am?”
The boy turned slowly.
Terror could not even start to describe how he felt.
There was nothing human in what his eyes saw. The big, green irises. The pink lips. The wide forehead, covered by a few brown bangs. He frantically tried to pinpoint what was wrong, yet he couldn’t. He didn’t know. Why was it more uncanny than anything else in the world? He was shaking.
“I am the Tyger.” purred the Tyger. “The one you hide and the one you hate. The one you wished you could be and the one you’re scared of. In the darkness I burn bright, and in return…”
A childish silhouette. A voice he was familiar with.
Slowly, the boy let his hand that was holding the butcher’s knife up to his eyes fall back by his side.
“That’s right…” the boy murmured to himself.
This was no more than a brilliant lie. He smiled, a predatory glint in his green eyes.
“Where are you, little Lamb?” the boy asked as he turned towards you.