Down With The Thickness

Matt Roberts

The switch clicked loudly when pressed, and the recliner began reclining. Hank, the man pushing the button, enjoyed watching TV in the evenings while reclined. It was what he did every evening, and at seventy-one years old, he had his ways he liked to keep.

He would watch some reruns of old shows he used to watch decades before when he was much younger. He liked to see them and think back to when he was young and full of life.

Watching these shows was fun for a long time, and he still enjoyed it, but the older he got, the fewer he got to watch, because he would typically fall asleep in his recliner, only awaking a few hours later to use the bathroom, then back into the chair until morning.

Sanford & Son came on and Hank smiled. He liked ol’ Sanford. They were both the same, cranky old men. Sanford maybe more so than he, but he still liked the old man. Plus, Sanford was in the junk business, and Hank used to be a garbage man, so he felt as if they had sort of a connection.

After the second commercial break, Hank began to nod off, and was almost completely asleep when he heard Sanford speaking again, so he opened his eyes and attempted to watch the rest of the show. Why he had to, he couldn’t say, since he had seen that episode dozens of times.

Over on his couch, Hank’s son Brett was sleeping, having passed out from exhaustion. He had only come home from work just an hour before falling asleep where he did. He did it all the time, and Brett’s wife, Nichole, was used to it. She was at the other end of the trailer, in their bedroom, sleeping.

Brett and Nichole had moved in five months prior to help take care of Hank, whose health wasn’t the best. They all got along just fine and loved living in the country.

Hank had sixty acres that he liked to call the front thirty and the back thirty. His trailer sat right in the middle, and if he had a story to tell about something on the property, that’s how he referred to it.

There was one streetlight on top of a telephone pole forty yards away from the trailer, and it kept the trailer and surrounding area lit at night, but other than that the rest of the property stayed pitch black. Even a full moon and a sky full of stars wasn’t enough to light that property up at night.

Hank awoke abruptly when the trailer began to shake violently. Earthquake? he thought to himself. Maybe, except he also heard a loud humming coming from outside. He knew all the sounds the country around his property made at night. There were the cows down the road, and all the crickets, frogs, and toads out by his pond. Every now and then he heard a car drive by, and if it were harvesting time, he would often hear the farmers all around him working with their machinery well into the night. Sometimes he even heard the coyotes that came through every now and then, looking for something to eat.

But he had never heard this humming before, and he could only associate it with the shaking of his trailer.

He clicked the switch on the remote and his chair started to sit up. His legs went down, his back came up, and a moment or two later his chair was helping him to stand.

He reached over next to his chair and picked up his cane. On the couch, Brett snored once but otherwise didn’t seem to notice the humming or the shaking.

Hank walked to the door, unlocked it, then opened it, only to hear the hum extra loud. Slowly, he crept outside and shut the door. He could see that the light on the telephone pole was out, but he could still see his property. He walked through his enclosed porch to where it was open for his car to pull in and out, and when he stepped out, he saw the back thirty was lit up a bright green. He couldn’t see the cause of the humming, but the ground was vibrating like everything else because of it.

Hank looked up in the sky and couldn’t see the moon or the stars, all he saw was green. It slowly faded out the further away he looked from the back thirty, but the back thirty was glowing such a fierce bright green that he couldn’t see through it. It wasn’t the brightness, but it almost seemed as if the light had substance to it and was thick like a dense fog.

Scared, he turned and hobbled as fast as he could with his cane back into the house to warn his kids. He opened the door and went inside to find his son still sleeping on the couch. Now it appeared that the green light was starting to come in through the windows on that side of the trailer. Hank didn’t know if it was growing or moving.

“Brett!” he yelled over the humming that seemed to be growing louder also. “Brett! Wake up!”

Brett stirred on the couch, then was aware of the humming and vibrating and opened his eyes. “What the hell is going on? Dad?” He looked around and saw his dad standing there, his face pale.

“Brett, there’s a bright green light outside and the humming is terrible! We need to get out of here I think!”

“What? Are you serious? What is it?”

“No idea, I couldn’t see or find a source. Look at the green light coming in through the window! We have to go now!”

“Okay, okay. I’ll go start the car.” Brett jumped up and ran outside.

Hank decided to go wake up his daughter-in-law and he began to walk down the hallway when her bedroom door opened, releasing more bright green light. She stepped out through the door and her skin was green, her eyes glowing that same green as the outside was.

“Father...” she called to him.

“Oh no! That can’t be good!” Hank yelled and turned to get away from her.


  Outside, Brett saw the bright green light and saw that his van was almost completely covered by its thickness. He wanted to run to the van, but the humming was growing so loud that he felt as if his ear drums might burst.

Brett turned to run back into the house but tripped and fell. He felt the vibrations from the ground coursing through his body as he struggled to get up, the bright green light growing closer, now completely covering the van up so that it could no longer be seen.  


  Inside, Hank made his way back through the trailer. He looked over his shoulder and saw that even with his slow walking, he was still getting away from his green daughter-in-law. He turned his head back around and almost made it to the door when it opened and Brett walked in, now green, eyes glowing.

“Father...” he called out.

Hank cursed, and stopped walking. He had nowhere else to go. He looked around and saw his daughter-in-law almost upon him. He looked back and his son was drawing near.

The hum was now vibrating the trailer so much that it was all he could hear. The green light was now coming in through all windows, filling the trailer with its bright, green thickness, making it impossible to see anything it touched.

The inside of the trailer began to close in on Hank, everything being swallowed up by the green thickness. Hank screamed but couldn’t hear himself.

The thickness was now all he could see as he looked around. He couldn’t see himself anymore, even his hand right in front of his face. Just the bright green thickness, everywhere. The hum was so impossibly loud, yet he didn’t feel as if he would explode from it anymore. It seemed to melt into him, until he was one with the hum. One with the green light.

All at once it all went blank and silent, and Hank no longer thought anything. He was only aware of his existence.

Matt Roberts was born having nightmares, and he enjoys them. You can read all about these nightmares in his horror short story collection, Lil Horror Stories For The Soul, available now on Amazon
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