By C. E. Pereira
A complete short story which I wrote in 2007 and decided to republish it. Things that go bump in the night, monsters in the closet, and the Bogeyman. Enter into my domain….
DO you mock or laugh at something you don’t believe? There are so many things that cannot be explained. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and The Twilight Zone takes the imagination beyond its limits. But there are always cynics. Such things don’t exist, they laugh. I tell them not to tempt the unknown. And still they mock what they don’t understand, until it’s too late.
Darkness! It always comes out when it’s dark. Never in the light. It seeks those who laugh and mock it. It waits patiently until you are alone and there is no one to help you. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. You can taste your own fear, feel it crawling into your skin, choking you until madness claims you.
It exists the same as the fairies and leprechauns. It’s as real as dragons and unicorns. But then they don’t believe. Isn’t it sad, they stopped being kids; they became adults with the worries of everyday life.
Were you afraid of the dark when you were a kid? Or hearing a scratching sound coming from under your bed? How many of us remember the things that go bump in the night? Do you remember tucking yourself under the blanket so that whatever lurks under the bed cannot get you. Or checking your wardrobe to make sure there were no monsters hiding inside. Have you forgotten the days of your childhood?
They did. They forgot. It is real. Fairies and leprechauns, dragons and unicorns are not fantasy, they exist. It exists. It is hurt and angry. It doesn’t like it when they laugh and mock it. It hates when they dare and challenge each other to prove It exist.
The hour is coming when it will lure one of them into the dark. It is waiting patiently for its victim. It can taste victory even before it has met its victim.
It only frightens kids to show them that it exist. And It knows that kids not only believe in fairies and leprechauns but also believe It exist. But it shows no mercy to adults because they don’t believe. It has to teach them a lesson. Who will be the unlucky one to fall into its trap? I pray it won’t be you.
IT has chosen. It will be Anne. She was one of them, an unbeliever. And it was tired of her irritating laughter. It wanted instead to hear her scream and beg. But most of all It wanted her soul. So it waited patiently savouring the moment when she will fall into its trap.
Anne was contented with life. She had a steady job that paid well. She’d just put a down payment on an apartment and was in the process of moving in. She still had to take the subway but that would soon change when she got her car next summer. Her circle of friends were fun, they met every Friday night for drinks and to unwind. Life on the whole was beautiful.
Twice a week, after work Anne would take some of her things from the old apartment to the new one. She was slowly moving her things into the new apartment and Jesse, her next-door neighbour and good friend was helping her.
Today, Anne was running a little late as she got stuck in a meeting. On top of that she missed her train and had to wait another fifteen minutes for the next one. Feeling hassled she arrived home at about eight o’clock to find a note from Jesse stuck on her door.
The note read, “Family emergency. Have to be out-of-town for about two weeks. Have to take the car, sorry. I feel bad you’ll have to cart the boxes on the subway. – J”
“Great! The day just keeps getting crappy”, Anne sighs as she unlocks the door.
Her mood plunges when she sees all the boxes stacked up against the wall. At last count there were twenty-five boxes. She plops herself onto the sofa, closing her eyes for a while. She must have dozed off as when she awoke it almost ten o’clock.
“Damn! Can’t believe I slept for two hours.”
Reaching for the phone. Dialing a number from memory she listens and at the fifth ring someone answers.
“Hello! Jared speaking.”
“Hi Jared. It’s Anne.”
“Hey beautiful. I can’t wait for Friday to see you.”
“You sure do know how to make a girl feel special.”
“That’s me. I aim to please.”
“Hmm…Jared. I need your help tonight if you’re free.”
“Sure Anne. What’s up?”
“Could you help me move some things to my new apartment? Jesse had to go out-of-town for a couple of weeks and I’m stuck without transport.”
“Okay! Give me a half-hour to get to your place.”
“Thanks Jared. See you in a while.”
Getting off the sofa she made her way to the bedroom to freshen up. Passing the closet she heard a scratching noise. Anne stopped and listened at the closet door.
“There, I heard it again. Sounds like rats. Eek! I hate rats.”
Straightening her shoulders and steeling herself not to lose courage, she opened the closet door. Ann she stood still, peeking inside the closet but couldn’t see a thing, and it was pitch dark. She tried the light switch but nothing happened.
“Damn! The day just keeps getting peachy.”
Mumbling to herself, she entered the closet, which was about eight square feet. Her hand touched the handle of the broom, which she quickly armed herself with. Using the broom she poked along the sides of the wall.
Suddenly the door slammed shut. She nearly jumped out of her skin and the broom went flying out of her hand. Heart beating fast and wild she tried turning the doorknob. It wouldn’t budge. She was stuck inside the pitch-dark closet.
Trying to stay calm but nearly letting in to panic, she tried the doorknob again. Nothing happened. She was trapped inside and starting to feel like there was not enough air.
Fighting the panic and keeping it at bay was getting harder. She heard the scratching noise again and a shiver ran down her spine.
“Stay calm. Don’t panic.” Anne kept repeating the words like a prayer.
Then she felt something cold and slimy brush against her arm. She screamed but no sound came out. Her scream was lodged in her throat. She couldn’t breathe but she could taste her tears, the salt hot on her tongue.
This time it felt like whatever that was cold and slimy was caressing her upper right arm like a lover. She could hear her screams in her mind but no sound came out of her mouth. She felt the cold air near her ear and a whisper.
But her mind couldn’t comprehend the words whispered. Anne felt herself sinking into the blackness. The pressure on her chest was increasing as the panic set in. Then nothing as she slid onto the floor into unconsciousness.
BANGING. What is that banging? Groggily, Anne wakes up, her mind still in a fog. She can hear the banging. It was getting persistent. Trying to clear her head she realises it’s someone banging on her door.
“Just a minute. Coming.”
She gets up from the sofa and stumbles towards the door. Looking out the peephole she sees that it’s Jared.
When she opens the door, Jarred says, “I was about to give up and go home. I’ve been knocking on your door for the past ten minutes. Where were you?”
“I don’t know. I must have fallen asleep on the sofa again. I’m sorry.”
“You look kind of pale. Are you feeling sick?”
“I don’t know. My throat feels dry and sore. I’m cold and I’m scared.”
“I don’t know. My mind feels like cotton. Must have had a nightmare – this feeling of being scared. I just can’t remember.”
“Here sit down. I’ll get you a glass of water.”
Coming back with the glass of water, Jared gives it to Anne saying, “Maybe you should rest today. We can move the boxes to your new apartment tomorrow.”
“No. I’m all right. I’d still like to do one trip at least.”
“Okay Anne. But if I see that you’re still pale, we come back here straight.”
So, Jared helped to carry the boxes to his car. About eight boxes were placed on the back seats and in the boot of his car. Anne gave Jared directions to her new apartment and in about half-an-hour they reached their destination.
THE night had grown colder and there was the smell of rain in the air. Anne and Jared carried the boxes up to the apartment in four trips. The last trip up the five flights of stairs seems to take forever. Out of breath they put down the last of the boxes and collapsed on the sofa.
“I’m out of shape,” gasped Jared.
“Me too!” said Anne. “I’ll get you a drink when I can feel my hands. They’re frozen, I think.”
“You’re lucky. I can feel a thousands needles pricking my hands. Ouch! It hurts.” complained Jared.
Just then there was a flash of lightning followed by thunder and the lights went out.
“Jared?” Anne called.
“I’m here. The lightning must have struck a power point. Where are the mains?”
“In the basement, I think.” Anne answered.
“Do you have a torchlight?”
“In the drawer. The side table next to you.” said Anne.
Anne heard Jared open the drawer and after a few seconds the light from the torchlight brought a sigh of relief.
“There’s another torchlight on the dressing table in the bedroom.” said Anne.
After getting the other torchlight, Jared told Anne to stay inside and lock the door while he went to check the mains. Anne argued with him not wanting to be left alone in the dark apartment. But Jared wouldn’t budge with his decision. She couldn’t understand why she was feeling frightened and panicky.
After Jared left, Anne locked the door and walked to the window. She felt a little calm looking out the window at the city lights and street lamps. She didn’t feel so alone looking out the window.
But that feeling didn’t last long. A scratching sound from the bedroom made her jump with fright. She tried to ignore the sound but it seem to get louder and she felt herself being drawn towards it.
Dropping the torchlight, she moved towards the bedroom in a trance. Her mind was screaming “No” but her legs carried her to the bedroom door.
She felt it in her mind. It was excited and waiting. She could her it. “Come here Anne. I’m waiting!”
The fear was over-powering but she couldn’t stop herself from opening the bedroom door and entering.
The door slammed shut. And for the second time in one night she found herself locked in with an unknown fear.
HER knees buckled under her legs and she slid down to the cold floor. She curled herself into a tight ball, whimpering with fear. She tried to shut It out of her mind but like a mist It slid easily inside.
Cold! So cold! The darkness, blacker than night. And slime… touching her all over, caressing her like a lover.
It made her feel the nothingness. It showed her the emptiness within the darkness. So much pain. She felt the anguish pressing down on her. There was no happiness, no laughter. Only screams.
Please stop! It hurts. Anne pleaded.
The black void of nothingness faded slowly. She was flung across the floor; the room was rocking from side to side. But she wasn’t inside the room; she was inside some sort of vehicle that was speeding. She heard the whine of horses. Steadying herself, she managed to lean against the window and looked out. She was in a carriage. And the four black horses pulling the carriage were galloping like the fires of hell were snapping at their hooves.
The wind was howling. Was that the howl of wolves? A storm was coming. But what else was coming, Anne didn’t know. The countryside was deserted of life except for the horses and Anne. She kept looking out the carriage, trying to see if she could recognize any of the landmarks.
At first she thought it was the wind. But it was music, soft and haunting. Yes, Anne was sure it was music, Celtic music. The horses slowed down to a trot and then stopped completely. Anne opened the carriage door and stepped out.
The music was getting louder. A shape was forming and the wind was getting stronger, lashing at her like a whip. She could make out the shape in a distance…a castle. Just like magic it appeared and the music was coming from it.
She pushed herself against the wind and headed for the castle. Within a few minutes the fog danced around her and she lost sight of the horses. The music guided her. Reaching the castle she saw firelight inside. It was an ancient ruin almost crumbled away.
The music changed, eerily compelling, hypnotizing her. Anne had no choice; she had to follow the music. The place smelled of damp and mildew. Shadows were dancing near the firelight. Panic was starting to rise inside Anne.
But her feet kept moving forward towards the shadows. Their shapes were grotesque. Some were bent and deformed; others were skin and bones like there was a famine. They all looked very tired and hagged. But they kept on dancing, compelled by the music.
They must have sensed Anne. They turned and looked at her, without stopping their dance. Anne cried out in pain. Their eyes … she saw their sadness, felt their anguish so much sadness and hopelessness.
Crying and pressing her hands to her heart, Anne pleaded, “Stop! The pain. I cannot stand the pain? It hurts and burns.”
There was no answer. The music continued its evil spell. The shadows kept on dancing. But Anne heard their screams inside her mind getting louder. Anne felt the room spinning, and then blackness claimed her.
The screams stopped. Slowly the pain and anguish was no more. It gave her a recess from her nightmare.
She opened her eyes and slowly got up. She was in a field, full of flowers. Daffodils, sunflowers, daisies, all covered the field. She felt peaceful, the quietness calming her mind.
Where was she now? Everything looked familiar. Like she’d been here before when she was a kid.
Skipping between the flowers, she sang a long forgotten nursery rhyme.
Oranges and Lemons
sold for a penny
All the schoolgirls are so many
the grass is green
and the rose is red
Remember me when I am dead.
So, Anne danced and sang in the field full of flowers, forgetting her nightmare. But it was laughing gleefully like a kid playing a prank on a friend.
It had patience. It wasn’t in a hurry. It wanted to play and have fun with Anne first.
Patiently it watched as Anne sang the nursery rhyme.
SOMEONE was calling her. The flowers were fading, the sunlight fading. The voice was becoming louder and insistent. The words of the nursery rhyme were also fading. She couldn’t remember the words. She heard her name being called over and over again. She didn’t want to leave this place, everything look bright and cheerful. But the voice kept on calling her name.
Slowly Anne opened her eyes. Jared was staring down at her with concern in his eyes. She tried to sit up and everything started to spin.
“Take it easy. You must have blackout.”
“My head hurts. And I seem to hear Oranges and Lemons repeating in my head.” Anne muttered.
“Anne, I think you should see a doctor as soon as possible.”
“Well, earlier it took you about ten minutes to wake up and I was banging your door quiet loudly. Now, I find you unconscious on the floor. Have you ever had these fainting spells before?”
“No. I’ve never had any kind of fainting spells before. Alright, I’ll go see a doctor tomorrow and get a check up.”
“Good girl. Want me to go with you?”
“Thanks Jared. But that won’t be necessary.”
“Okay. Come on, I think I’d better get you home. You need a good night’s sleep.”
HALF-an-hour! Sitting in the doctor’s office was boring. Anne felt like walking out and going shopping. She was already feeling edgy and coiled like a spring.
The little boy next to her kept kicking the chair in front of him. Anne wanted to strangle him. She gave him a hard stare thinking it’ll frighten him. She didn’t intimidate the boy; he just stared back at her. The kicking continued. The waiting dragged on.
It was almost on the hour when the nurse called Anne to go in. Anne got up and entered the door marked “Examining Room”.
The doctor wasn’t there. The room was empty except for the examining table. Anne pushed herself up onto the examining table and waited again.
Her mind started to wander and she failed to notice that the room started to get cold. The lights went off and a fog began to creep from under the door.
Startled out of her daydream, she glimpsed a dark shadow surrounded in the fog. She couldn’t tear her eyes away, everything else seem to disappear except for the dark shadow.
Anne felt drawn towards the dark shadow. Her mind was screaming for her to run in the opposite direction but her legs kept moving towards the dark shadow. The nearer she got the colder it became.
Anne could feel the slime reaching out through the fog touching her. She felt the same helplessness and fear as before. So cold! The nearer she got to the dark shadow the colder she felt.
Her mind was screaming for help. This cannot be happening, It is not real, this does not exist. But It was. Come Anne, it’s time to make you a believer. Say the words – It exist!
She knew the dark shadow would never let her go. She found herself falling into the darkness. Such emptiness and anguish was found inside it.
With tears running down her cheeks, Anne begged, “Please let me go. I want to go home. I want my mummy.”
But It ignored her pleading. It showed her what she and her friends didn’t believe. The dark shadow surrounded Anne fully. The fog grew thicker and more slime crept up Anne’s body, touching her. It magnified all her fears and weaknesses.
Anne’s mind couldn’t take much more of this nightmare. She saw herself as a kid asleep in her bed being awakened by monsters under her bed. She saw herself as this teenager sitting for her final exam but her mind was blank. Every fear through her life was played for her to live it over and over again. Like someone pressing the replay button of the same movie. She was the lead actor.
As she moved deeper into the dark shadow, she felt and saw the fears and anguish of others trapped inside. Their fears reached out to pull her in, escape was impossible. Their screams grew louder inside her mind. She was suffocating, trying to pull away from these captured souls. But they were stronger, her mind snapped, she was trapped forever inside.
THE doctor wrote out his report while Anne sat on the examining table repeating the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons”. Her eyes had a blank look, like there was no one home. The doctor had only one option, commit her to a mental asylum.
Is that Anne? What happened to her? They ask! But they don’t believe when I tell them the story. They say that such things don’t exist. They insist that something else must have caused her madness. The doctors call it a breakdown. But you know. You heard the story. It’s just waiting in the dark! Someone else will come soon. It knows! Beware!
Remember you heard it here. There are many things that shouldn’t be mocked. Just because you don’t believe doesn’t give you the right to laugh or mock something. So take heed and listen for the walls have ears and the Bogeyman may be listening….
– The End –
Copyright © 2007 C. E. Pereira