Something wakes me all the way up, but I don’t know what. It doesn’t feel like I have to pee. My cat, Maribel, isn’t in the room. Sometimes she gets crazy and attacks my feet under the blanket. I think Maribel thinks the bump is a mouse.
I take a big breath and listen. My closet door is shut. My daddy says houses make noises at night. But I don’t hear nothing. Then I do. It sounds like it’s coming from my sister’s room across the hall, but then I hear it at my mommy and daddy’s bedroom at the end of the hall by the stairway. It isn’t fair. They are allowed to wrestle at night, but Lindsey and me are not.
I try to sleep. The last time they wrestled I opened the door, but I don’t know what I saw. My daddy talked. His voice was different. Lower, and scratchy. The sounds they made were scary. And I wanted to hear my mommy’s voice, but I couldn’t say it. He told me to go on. He said, I will check on you in five minutes. But he did not.
I remember what my daddy said, but maybe it isn’t wrestling this time. Maybe they are hurt and they are dead in the bed and their eyeballs are huge and their tongues are hanging out long. I close my eyes tight and shake my head. Then I have to pee. Real Bad.
But I can’t move to go to the bathroom. It is so dark. I can feel it being dark in my ears and on my cheeks. The door to my bedroom is open a crack, and sometimes a piece of the dark in there gets darker. A dog could be behind the dark, or a little monster, or a big monster.
But Daddy says big boys don’t pee themselves. I get almost out of the bed and I look everywhere. Then I run to the wall and turn on my light. I blink a lot. I go to my door and see my sister’s door. It is closed. It looks a little scary, but all doors are a little scary.
I remember Halloween is coming up and my heart starts bumping again. I remember the haunted bus-ride me and Mommy and Daddy and Sissy took before we had a snack and went to sleep. I remember the bus driver. He talked about the ghosts he knew about in Nebraska. He talked about one at the place where my daddy works, teaching big kids and old people. And he talked about one at the McDonald’s. He talked about a dead lady named Mary and The Buggerman. He said if you said The Buggerman’s name three times in a row, he would show up and get you. But he said it way more than three times, and I didn’t see no Buggerman. I hope he didn’t come here.
I look at Mommy and Daddy’s door before I get in and turn on the light and shut the bathroom. I pee on the white part above the water the way Daddy showed me to pee at nighttime. Then another sound scares me. I think I hear Maribel hissing, but I don’t know. I want to go to my mommy and daddy’s room, but I don’t want to make them mad. They say I can come in when I get scared but then they get mad when I wake them up. I wish I could get on the floor beside them, but Daddy doesn’t like baby stuff. And I like it when my daddy likes me. I like it when Mommy calls me a smart boy. Cause a smart boy isn’t a baby. A baby is dumb. Cute and dumb.
Then I just go a little nuts. It’s loud. My mommy is being hurted, killed! I run to my mommy and daddy’s door, but it is locked. I go more nuts. I turn the doorknob-thingy a lot and then I run to my sissy.
She jumps up in bed and grabs her pillow. Her eyes are big in the light I let in. I say stuff. She tells me I scared the bad word out of her. Then she hugs me, and her black, cold hair is in my face. It smells good. I ask her why she put a blanket over the mirror on her dresser. She laughs and pushes my me to the door. I tell myself to come to Lindsey’s room the next time something bad happens. It’s easier.
Then Lindsey screams. We stop. Her fingernails cut my shoulders. The old woman in the hall has blood all over. Her gross toes don’t touch the floor. She is holding Maribel by the neck. My cat is not moving.
Michael King writes horror and suspense. His motor runs on chips and salsa and the memory of the diet soda he no longer allows himself to drink. Please visit www.michaelkingstories.com for links to his published fiction.