Putting his foot down on the grass was like turning into a live wire. As an itchy crackling prickle passed over his skin, the hair on his arms instantly dried itself of sweat and slowly stood straight out. He could feel the hair on his head was beginning to do the same.
By the time he had got his second foot onto the grass, the entire landscape had circled in on itself, dropping the curtains of dusk so instantaneously it took a disorienting minute to refocus his eyes in the dim and dusty gray-blue light. He might have stepped back then, in sheer surprise if nothing else, but he was too tired and exhausted from long trudging, too relieved for some change in this place, to fall back now over something as simple as light. He paused though, drawing in deep breaths, reorienting to the strange thrum, letting the strange energy pulse into his weary bones. The world between the past and present seemed thinner in that moment. As if he could join them together if he chose. As if he could remember who he was, if only he pushed at the tenuous barrier.
Once the house was back in focus, he stepped forward more fully into the circle. Small crackles of light, pale green flashes of static, arced between his shoes and the grass with each step. Nothing moved, nothing differed, yet… He tensed, sensing.
Somehow it felt as if his earlier nightmares had spread themselves out, thinned themselves into a giant bubble around this little corner of the world. Memories of the dreams that had haunted him earlier crowded in. He turned around in a long slow circle, taking in the shadows, searching for the long-legged men and their fluttering capes. He felt a tingle race across his skin. They were here, even if he couldn't see them. He felt their whispers, calling to him with urgency. “Come back to us. Come back to the fields and the open sky of daylight.”
He weakened. Daylight sounded so lovely.
The darkness crawled in, heavier and thicker. Encroaching. It urged him back out of the grass. “Let us show you an easier way.” One of the voices added more clearly with its cold metallic bite. He remembered the eyes. Those strange burning eyes set in an unearthly, gray face. His mind reeled back from tantalizing voice, filling instead with icy fear.
Whirling, he shot across the grass toward the porch.
This time as he approached the front porch, he could see that there was light streaming through the now hollow keyhole of the front door. Behind him he could hear the whispers rising,fingers reaching. He leaped the stairs, put his hand on the door. He remembered who he was, who the Watchers were. He felt powerful for the first time since he had woken up in the grass yesterday morning. No… Longer than that. In the whole of his life. For the first time he could win against the Watchers. Do something that they didn’t want him to do. He let go of preconceptions. Allowed the vibrancy, the very life and thrum of the air to seep into him.
With a single motion, he shoved against the door with all his might. It gave easily, and he tumbled forward into blinding brilliance.