The crabmen are out walking their puppy again. It’s a ball of fluff, unaccustomed to existence; it falls over itself and savages its leash with tiny jaws. The crabmen watch with eyeless curiosity, pincer-faces cocked. A posture of fondness, but it’s possible they’re considering eating it. Nothing with mandibles like that should be given benefit of the doubt.

They are new here, the crabmen, moving into the renovated craftsman on the heels of a dozen delivery trucks: new rugs, new mattress, new fridge. They appear to have brought little with them, save for what they wear, though perhaps the suit coats and neckties grow, like carapace.

The puppy is new, too. One of the crabmen flexes its chitinous face. I close my window for fear of hearing laughter from that serrated throat.

If they are in their yard, I stay inside. If they are watering the lawn when I pull out of the garage, I look at my phone.

I can see into their living room from the den. From their bared chests galley-rows of grasping claws pass something from a popcorn bowl to spindly arms and into their mouths, strands of gore caught between nubbly teeth. I think they have done it, they are eating the puppy finally, until one of them tosses a bit of what they are eating to the floor and I see the ball of fluff chase after. So they are turning the puppy into a monster, too.

It is too early in the morning when the doorbell rings. I answer without looking. It is them, or one of them; too close, right in front of me, the tip of its glossy pincer-face so close I can smell it, and naturally I react. I make some idiot sound, lash out. The crabman tips backwards, stick-arms thrashing, surprise somehow evident on its featureless face as it falls off my porch. There is an eggshell crack.

The other crabman runs up my walk, puppy dragging behind on its frayed leash, and kneels next to its ichor-leaking twin.

I bend to pick up the envelope the crabman dropped. It has my name on it, my address. It got my mail, somehow. Stole it. I back into the house. I lock the door.


One thought on “Neighbor

  1. Pingback: Mine. #creepiestobject | Where is Here?

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