Christoffer came back today.
I saw him in the cracks between the door and the wall.
He had come for the first time sometime around May. I noticed him on the wall behind my desk. It was only for a moment when I saw him, I blinked and when I looked again he was gone. He must have entered through the window blinds, it had started to get hot these days and I kept the glass open most of the time.
That night I said it was just my imagination and went to bed, ignoring the little cracking sounds I kept hearing before sleep took me. Must be the dogs in the yard turning around in their cage, I thought.
* * *
Days had passed when I saw him again dashing up a wall and entering a hole which had the size of a football and had been used for the stovepipe of the wood heater my parents used to have, before we changed it to radiators. There was wall behind it but I never got in the business of covering the gap with something, I had just roughly stuffed some crumpled newspapers in, so nothing could settle in.
But Christoffer did.
He moved his feet in an incredible speed to my naked eye and in a heartbeat he slide his slimy body behind the paper stuffing. That moment I knew what I had to do. I ran to the kitchen and got the duct tape from under the sink. I got a piece of paper from a notebook too, just big enough to cover the hole, and a stool I had to rest my legs so I could reach up to him. I hopped on the stool and looked inside the hole in front of me. Not a sound. Nothing moved. Using the roll of duct tape I made a couple of identifying pokes on the newspapers. I was mentally prepared for the upcoming fright, but as I did, a small rattling came from the inside and my body replied sending chills down my spine. At once, I took the paper and placed it across the hole, I duct taped the sides of the paper on the wall, making a square barrier between him and my room.
I imprisoned him.
And I was to leave him in there until he starved to death.
I would leave him in there and forget about him. Forget even his rotting corpse after he went to meet his maker. Not even cleaning after it. Just forgetting it. I didn't care.
It was already late in the night, so I brushed my teeth and went to bed.
The bed that was right under Christoffer's prison hole.
I looked once more up to see if my ill-fashioned barricade was holding up, if everything was alright. He didn't seem to have tried escaping, the closing was still intact, and if he did I wouldn't think he could make it.
With positive thoughts on my mind that my problem was solved, I lied down and closed my eyes for sleep. That's when I heard it. The rattling again, now against the paper wall. I immediately got up, turned on the lights and looked up the hole. It was still covered and secure and not a little sound was coming from inside. I gazed at it still for a minute. Still nothing.
I lied down again and gave sleep another chance.
But it wouldn't be a restful one.
All night I thought I heard sly, muffled noises coming from every side of the room. Dreams of unease came to me. That he had eaten through his cell or that he pushed up till the duct tape unglued, and he was now on my pillow, breathing hot air against my ear through his tiny lungs. I moaned him away, changing sides and rolling around the bed in a half-sleep state of angst.
In the morning I woke up sweaty and exhausted. I reluctantly raised my stare and looked at the hole above my head. They were just dreams, of course they were. He never came down to my bed. Didn't run along my mattress getting under my sheets. Not climbed with his nimble scaly legs between my toes. He couldn't. He was still in there imprisoned. All I needed to do is wait and he would get the slow painful death from starvation, which he deserved.
* * *
A week went by and gradually I relaxed. I kept checking the hole above my pillow every day to find that it's still sealed and all is good. I hadn't even heard of him after the first night. I knew where he was and this knowledge eased my mind. He might be dead already I thought, and felt a little guilt for not taking out the corpse. It's just a little thing, won't smell, it'll be totally gone in no time. Disintegrate between sports news and real estate ads.
I had almost forgotten about him.
Until one day when I returned from work. It was noon so I made a lazy sandwich, grabbed a can of beer and went in my room. I closed the windows, that habit had crawled slowly in my mind ever since I met him, opened the fan and sat on my computer. I leaned back closed my eyes and stretched my neck a few circles around. Halfway to relaxation though, I opened my eyes, and suddenly I realized.
The duct tape was off in the top right corner of the paper. There was a hole in the hole. I stared for a moment frozen solid in the realization. Then I quickly grabbed the stool, climbed up and pushed the duct tape back to the wall ironing it with my fingers to secure the hold. The opening had been small, but he may have gotten out, his kind has limber bodies and moves like water between the cracks. But no. He couldn't. I left him for dead. He was silent for so many days, he couldn't just one day wake up, push through the paper and get out.
In the light of the day all terrors seemed less terrifying and I was confident everything was alright. Yeah, my thought process seemed to be correct. In fact, I even thought that what had happened was just the duct tape slowly detached due to heat. That should be it, I assured myself. I was safe.
The first thing I saw the moment I sat back in my computer was him.
He was hung up the wall behind my screen, looking at me with his empty, lidless eyes with the restless elliptical pupils. It a state of conserved panic I tiptoed myself to the kitchen in fear of him noticing and getting in hide again. I grabbed the fly swatter and loomed above his unprotected head. He seemed transparent on the pale yellow walls, I could see his insides. His little heart was pumping like crazy. I took my time to aim right, but that was a mistake. The moment I raised the swatter he dashed to the bottom of the wall. My hit was almost blind, hassled and slow at the same time, but I thought I got him. I checked behind the dresser where I saw him half falling, half running, like in a vertical air walk.
I had indeed hit him. But not quite enough.
His long slimy tail was flailing in a frantic speed, hopping around in the same spot, but he wasn't at the end of it. He had just left it behind. Some weeks in hiding and he could grow it back. A minor casualty. I had failed.
The night fell and with it the feelings of unease and fear came along. It's always at nights when even small things can become truly terrifying. Not in total darkness, when you can't see anything and everything you hear might come from anything you suppose it comes from. Not then. It's when the room is dim lit and shadows are formed and all is filled with dark corners. When detail blurs into a veil of uncertainty. Then I thought I heard him. Crackling and slithering sounds of miniscule volume which otherwise I would have ignored. But not now. Now I knew he was somewhere in here, getting from one hiding place to another, surrounding me with his presence. I was overwhelmed in fear of him suddenly appearing and disappearing.
I couldn't handle this again, I thought, but that's when fate gave me another chance, to end this once and for all. Christoffer was, once again, glued with his adhesive little toe-pads on the same spot where I had hit him. Tailless, but fearless.
I didn't think twice this time. I raised my plastic weapon and hit hard. Not with full force though, I didn't want his gelatinous body's fluids to smear further my already dirty by mosquito blood wall. The hit was clean and Christoffer dropped dead instantly. His body, crippled and disfigured by the blow, remained motionless, except for a small death twitching leg.
I carefully loaded him on the fly swatter and carried him out in the yard where I tossed him near the roses, in a barren patch of earth to rot away.
When I returned inside I noticed I hadn't managed to keep the wall clean after all. A little splash of blood had left a red stain. A stain I never cleaned.
The next day returning from work, I noticed a big convoy of ants trailing through my yard. I followed the line to find them all crowding around the place where Christoffer's body was. But the body was no more, what little left of him was now between ant mandibles, carried away to their underground kingdom. The ants had in one day, bit by bit, deprived him from all flesh, leaving behind only a thin white spine with an almost invisible oval skull on it's end.
Christoffer was one with all.
* * *
That was two months and three days ago. I know. I counted. So this can't be. He can't be back. Geckos can't regenerate that damage, I know that much. But I’m convinced it's him and not some other lizard. I would be crazy if I wouldn't recognize him.
It's him and he has come back from the dead to take his revenge on me.
Things are not looking well.
Christoffer came back today.
* Dedicated to a friend who passed. He didn't come back though, but still. *