The Tunnel Creature

There was an old unused fireplace in my childhood bedroom.  The opening of the fireplace was covered with clear plastic – for safety reasons I suppose.  Looking through the plastic I could see that there was no back wall to the fireplace.  There was just a brick tunnel that seemed to go off forever, receding to the vanishing point in the darkness. 

Oh, the terrors and trouble this fireplace gave me!  I spent many sleepless nights staring deeply into this tunnel, trying to picture the worst, most hideous, creature I could imagine crawling up out of it.  I kept the light on in my room, but that didn’t help.  It just made the darkness of the tunnel all the more sinister and foreboding.  I stared so long that I was sure that the thing would appear, all tentacles and gnashing teeth with those wild red and white eyes, manifested by the sheer intensity with which I had feared and imagined it.

And then one night I was there, staring into the fireplace with my face practically pressed against the plastic.  My breathing grew heavier as my apprehension increased, and my breath began to fog up the plastic.  That’s when I saw it.  The fog on the plastic revealed the outline of the creature’s face where it had pressed against the plastic from the inside, trying the gnaw its way out.  I knew then that it was all real. 

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