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on: 03/01/19, 06:33 PM
I woke up to the sound of glass breaking.

I rolled over, got up, and rubbed my eyes. I instantly noticed that my mother's stained-glass lamp was no longer on my dresser.

I looked down, and sure enough, it was in pieces all over the floor. I put on my shoes, and got the broom and dustpan out of the closet to clean it up. Just as I finished sweeping up the last of the shards, I heard a noise from behind me that sounded kind of like a squirrel chittering its teeth. I looked behind me, and there was nothing. It appeared that I hadn't completely finished the job after all; there were still some smaller shards left. But looking closer at them, they didn't really match the colors of the lamp. These ones were milky jade-green and ruby red, not the amber tones of the lamp that I had grown up with. Curious.

I continued to think about this as I went into the bathroom to take my shower. As I entered the stall, I thought I heard pinging and scraping noises behind me. Once again, there was nothing there. Seeing the thing that had reminded me the most of my mother destroyed had upset me, sure, but was it enough to make me hallucinate?! I decided to actually take my shower to clear my head.

When I exited, the pink glass soap dish on the sink had been smashed on the ground. OK, now this was getting creepy. After I went back to my room and got dressed, I got out the broom and dustpan again, and headed back to the bathroom to clean it up. Again, I noticed that not all the shards were the same color. Was I going nuts, or was someone stalking me?

I cautiously went downstairs, and checked all the doors and windows. They were still locked. So how did they get in?

I went to the kitchen to fix myself a breakfast of 12-grain toast, orange juice, and two fried eggs. I looked around to make sure that whoever was stalking me wasn't there, and listened for the strange sounds I heard before. Nothing. Nervously, I ate my breakfast.

I damn near jumped a mile in the air and choked on my toast when I heard the phone ring in the kitchen. My hand hit the glass of orange juice, which toppled, fell on the ground, and broke. Okay, this one was my fault.

I went to the kitchen and answered the phone, honestly expecting the person on the other end to say "You will die in seven days." To my relief, it was my Aunt Ginny. As usual, she just couldn't shut up about how I never came to see her, and I was a lazy bum, wasting the inheritance I had gotten from Mom, and yada yada yada. About five minutes in, I heard the sound of glass breaking about ten feet from me. I told Aunt Ginny that I would call her back, and quickly hung up the phone.

The bottle of Shiraz that had been in my fridge had been broken this time, the wine soaking into the cracks in the tile floor. Once again, there were differently-colored shards than those of the bottle mixed into the mess. And again, I heard the chittering noise behind me, this time much closer. Only it was more like glasses "pinging" together now that I could hear it more clearly. I went on high alert again.

I spun around and there it was, in the dining room. I couldn't believe it, but there it was.

It wasn't a human at all. In fact, it wasn't even organic. It was a roughly lizard-shaped thing - the size of a cat - and made of glass shards of every imaginable color and opacity, with four legs of slightly differing sizes. The shape of its head strongly resembled that of a horny toad, with six violet, orb-like eyes arranged in a circular pattern in the center of its face, around a cobalt-blue glass plate. Two horns, one a twisted clear spiral and the other a straight green shard, jutted from the sides of its head. Its tail was curved upwards, in the shape of a quotation mark, and large shards jutted out from the underside in crazy angles. This creature was impossible. And yet, I was witnessing it.

It appeared to be picking through the remains of the recycled-glass green tumbler that had once held my orange juice. It sorted the large shards from the small ones with its tiny crystalline claws, and sniffed at them. While it was distracted, I tiptoed towards it. When I was almost to it, it suddenly turned to face me, hissed, and zipped off like a lightning bolt.

I didn't see it again for the rest of the day. Even while fishing with my friends, the memory of it haunted me, and my friends noted that I was a nervous wreck. I explained what I had seen, and most of them just laughed at me. Paul didn't, though. He suggested that I may not have been getting enough sleep. Well, I HAD been up late at night lately working on my book. Maybe the creature was just an illusion brought about by a combination of sleep deprivation and my grief over the loss of my mother's most prized possession. Perhaps I'd just been clumsy and blamed my accidents on something that didn't even exist. Yeah, I felt a little better now.

That night, while I was preparing for bed, I suddenly had the ghastly thought: what if the monster WASN'T an illusion? What if it really had been the one who had been breaking my stuff? And what if it was still in the house? I became nervous again, and gave the house a once-over.

I found nothing unusual. No glass shards, no footprints.

I decided to have a bit of bourbon to calm my nerves. My hands shaking, I put the ice cubes in the glass. "Just tell yourself, Mark Redstone," I thought to myself as I gripped the handle of the the cabinet of the mini-bar. "There's nothing to be afraid of. There is no monster. There is no monster. There is no monster."

Oh, there was a monster, all right. The glass beast pounced out of the cabinet the instant I opened the door. Next thing I knew, I was in the hospital.

The doctor explained that I had been unconscious for five hours. It was a good thing my aunt had come by, seen the scene, and called 9-1-1, or I would have died of blood loss from all the lacerations.

For once I was glad Aunt Ginny never left me alone. And now that stupid monster wouldn't get me. But then, in the corner of my eye, I saw a flash. I turned my head, and there was the broken glass beast, peeking at me from behind a trolley in the hallway. It seemed to be smiling at me.