"Again," came the command, and he winced. Small hands tugging at his sleeve; small eyes boring up into his own. "Again, Grampa, please?"
He rubbed his aching eyes. His mouth was dry, his throat parched. He had a feeling that he had been hungry for a very long time.
"Grampa." The thing tugged at his arm, harder this time. "Read it to me again." Its voice still didn't sound quite human, but it was eerie how close it was. He could almost believe that it was his granddaughter seated on his knee, begging for another recitation of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".
Of course, the illusion was weakened somewhat by the presence of his actual granddaughter's corpse a few feet away.
He forced his attention from little Vera's body, back to the book he had already read so many times before. He cleared his battered throat, once more wishing for something to drink, or eat; or for sleep; or for death. "Once upon a time," he began again.
The thing which was not his granddaughter -- which was not human at all, but only some thing which had somehow taken her place, tossing her aside like a broken doll -- leaned into him, a grotesque mockery of the little girl whose form it took. He had no idea what it was, or where it had come from, or even why it was making him read the same storybook for what had to have been weeks on end. He didn't even know how that was possible, but it was true all the same. Vera's body remained unchanged on the floor; he knew neither sleep nor any more permanent form of respite; yet here he sat, reading Goldilocks over and over again.
The thing looked up at him with wide eyes, so much like Vera's, only strangely offset, as though the skull itself were somehow distended. It had not looked much like her at the start. No, when he had come into the room, seen Vera on the floor and the thing standing by her bed, book clutched in one... he could not properly call it a hand... there at the start, it had not looked human at all.
It appeared to be learning, though. He wondered what would happen to him once its transition was complete.
"There were three bears," he continued, once more; and the thing offered a contented little sigh.
Look, you tell me what's with that kid's eyes. I mean, yeesh.
Can I really be blamed for assuming the Lovecraftian worst?
Of course, after this and "Typewriter", I should probably go back to the regular kind of depressing, existential, properly Pluggers-esque horror for a while. Ia! ia!, and such.