The Sentinel, poetry by Jordan Trethewey at
Jenn Zed

The Sentinel

written & performed by: Jordan Trethewey



The shadow man’s face is a swirling hole
where darkness unfurls and light becomes trapped.
Glimpsed only at the edges of vision,
if you see him, you’ll think that you’ve snapped.

Alone one night, after children asleep,
something slipped through crack between wall and door.
It seeped like a blossoming water stain;
when I turned, wasn’t there anymore.

A malevolent pall raised my hackles
that night. Old horrors did dance in my dreams.
I awoke drenched in sweat, a figure stood by my bed.
For the kids’ sake, I stifled my screams.

Rubbing my eyes, as dark tendrils curled out
of the gap between forehead and chin.
Each one stretched the hole, and held me in thrall;
then a scene in that foul cave did begin.

This diseased, looking glass produced puppets of light,
the creature cured from the ambient moon.
While squinting my eyes, the scene then resolved
into my wife’s deathbed hospital room.

He played back to me, what only I saw—
Julie’s tired and sunken last days.
Lending credence, not doubt, to what I witnessed next,
with my horrified, grief-stricken gaze.

My kids appeared sleeping, all snug in their beds—
in a drowsy, ethereal glow.
The shadow man made them stiffly sit up,
and open their bedroom window.

Within spreading darkness, a muted light.
Conjured by spirits, causing mortal fright.



This simultaneous act took me aback,
because my children are nothing alike.
They spoke a strange pledge, then crawled on the ledge,
and immediately dropped out of sight.

Insanely, I laughed, then felt a cold draft,
as the figure’s face started to shrink.
Paralyzed in my bed, I felt a deep dread,
and my mind was unable to think.

After initial shock, my throat came unlocked,
and I let out a blood-freezing scream.
In a corner, by the door, it sank through the floor,
and I felt I could finally breathe.

I put feet on the floor, it was cold as before.
My shallow breath hung suspended in air.
I blinked my sore eyes, and without surprise,
saw my children were no longer there.

Fear seizing my chest, I then stood abreast
of my children’s open bedroom window.
Before I passed out, I uttered a shout;
their small bodies lie crumpled in snow.

I arose with a start, stared at the clock;
the time was half-past eleven.
I plunged through the window to meet them below,
but I did not ascend to a ‘heaven.’

Having snapped my damn neck, I was a wreck.
but my children did somehow survive.
Now forever more, I darken their door—
a sentinel that pushes evil aside.

Within spreading darkness, a muted light.
Conjured by spirits, causing mortal fright.

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This publication is part 54 of 103 in the series 13 Days of Halloween