Eric Watson: Dead Meat

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Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep, little baby.

Screams. Ear-deafening screams.

A man humming 'Go to sleep, little baby' opens a door and walks into the nursery. Dressed in black with his hood up, his face was entirely shrouded in darkness. He turned to close the door. And then came the screaming, the bloodshed.

Eric suddenly woke sweating. He gasped for air. It was the same nightmare he had for weeks and it felt all too real. His heart hammered against his chest, as if it was bursting to get out. He raced out of bed to turn the light on, feeling terrified for the hundredth time that night. He shouldn't be frightened of a nightmare. It wasn't real, was it?

Eric took a moment to compose himself once light flooded the room. The sweat had made his half-naked body shiny. A headache was slowly forming. Perhaps it was because he had fallen into his thoughts too deeply but something was familiar about the nightmare he had woken from – not just because the nightmare was recurrent.

He staggered to the mirror on the wardrobe door. He looked into his own eyes. He hated seeing himself this scared and vulnerable. He lifted his arm above his head and turned slightly to the side, keeping his feet rooted to the floor. He could see the scar easily; the scar that had been there for as long as he could remember.


The sun still hadn't made its appearance when Eric poured the milk into his cereal bowl. It was 4:32am. He should have been tired but the sudden impact the nightmare had on him absorbed any exhaustion he felt and replaced it with adrenalin. There was something significant about it, but what?

Eric still felt flushed and sweaty after his shower; the feeling of cleanliness not coming easily that morning. Not only was he still reeling from his father's very recent death but he was also dealing with the fact that his murderer was still out there. The man led him to a family of cannibals living in the woods nearby.

Eric wondered why nobody had come across them before now. The sickening realisation that the family probably captured and ate whoever dared wander into their domain dawned upon him. He knew the town had its fair share of troubled residents but this continued to lower the safety of everyone. The danger of living in Lakefield View only got worse with each passing day.

Eric sat back on the kitchen chair, not touching his cereal. He looked around at the constant reminders of his father. He remembered, just under twenty-four hours ago, when the two of them sat down to read the newspaper together. Frank made toast with butter and strawberry jam. It had started out like any other day and it seemed like such a silly thing to remember, but now his father was gone. It was the last time they had breakfast together. He held the memory closer to his heart.

Eric had to force himself not to cry again. He had cried himself to sleep and even then he had only slept for a couple of hours, if that. He thought pressing his hands on his face would help, to release any tension and stress, but it didn't help at all. He gave up with a whimper and let himself cry, alone in his kitchen where nobody could see.

At least, he thought he was alone. He was not cold but he covered his bare chest with his arms as he stood. He now had a fear that somebody would jump up out of nowhere and stab him in the heart. It was strange, the paranoia he felt, when twenty-four hours ago he felt fearless. He could have faced anything.

Eric walked through the kitchen and into the hallway. He examined the front door, not moving until he counted that every chain was bolted. Ever since his mother disappeared, his father doubled up on house security to protect his son from whatever was out there. Once Eric knew it was safe to move, he tip-toed to the entrance of the house.

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