My fascination with horror began when I was ten or so whilst on a trip to the laundromat with my Mom. At the time it was just us two, Dad was out of the picture by this point. I remember vividly the old and decrepit state of the place that night, the flickering fluorescent lights making it feel broken. And during this time that’s how things felt, broken. My parents had recently split and Mom and I were left saving up coins to wash our clothes. These were tough times.

We were the only ones left as we sat there waiting for our final load to dry. Almost out of nowhere a Man came in and sat down on one of the built in Formica waiting seats. He had no laundry and was obviously not there for any good reason. He just sat there doing nothing and would every so often give us an awkward smile and menacing stare. I paid no attention at first but then became terrified once I saw the look on Mom’s face. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget. She knew something I didn’t. We left without waiting for the last load to finish.

To this day I think about what would have happened if we’d waited for our clothes to dry.

Em Leonard is an American author who describes his work as “surreal macabre”. Since his doomed trip to the laundromat he has become a published author, a produced screenwriter and published musician providing content for globally distributed feature films and major network television programs. He is also the Dark Ambient music artist known as Sense Delete.