There's Nothing to Fear
The wind driven tree branches, like out stretched skeleton arms, scrape against the window. The loose windowpanes rattle in sympathy. The old house is alive with movement.
I listen to the harsh symphony and I’m afraid. I’m afraid all the time. But tonight I’m afraid of something specific, something greater than my other fears. I should be alone in my room, but I’m not. My room is usually my haven, but it isn’t tonight. I can’t hear anything, but I can feel something in the room with me…something alive.
The click of the switch, as I turn on my bed light, reassures me for a moment. I survey the room slowly. Everything is as it should be.
My model ships and the framed picture of my dead father are on the bookshelf just as I left them. The chair I wedged against the closet door is still in place. Nothing is out of order anywhere in the room, but something’s wrong. I can feel it.
Maybe if I hide under the covers it will go away.
I grab the flashlight and my Little League bat off the headboard shelf and burrow deep under the covers. If I hold perfectly still maybe “it” won’t notice me.
Gripping my bat and flashlight I hide and wait.
Hold still. Hold real still. I’m not here. Go away.
I’m afraid nothing will save me.
“Creeakk…” The sound echoes in the room. It’s not outside, its inside, and its close. I consider bolting for my moms and stepfathers room, but only for a moment. If I wake them again it won’t be a good thing. Hank won’t listen, he’ll just be mad. He’ll tell my mom I’m crazy, like he did when he thought I couldn’t hear. Mom says quit worrying. You’re imagining things. But I don’t believe I’m imagining things. My nightmares are real. I’m sure of it.
I’m alone. Alone. Oh god, what would my comic book heroes do?”
I know what my comic book heroes would do. They’d fight back. Would they hide? No way. I tighten my sweaty grip on the bat and flashlight and wait. Tonight I’m going to fight.
“Creeakk.” Once more that sound. It’s close, very close. I throw back the covers and I’m standing, nearly tripping on the blankets still half wrapped around me.
“Get back! I’m warning you!” I cry out.
I’m swinging wildly at the sinister shapes I can feel drawing closer. The narrow beam of my flashlight echoes around the room as I swing. My first wild swing connects with the bedside lamp sending it clattering to the floor. I swing wildly left, then right again, trying desperately to connect with the creatures that stalk me. My third wild swing sends the piled up comic books flying off the headboard shelf. I keep swinging.
The bedroom door flings open and the overhead light flares as it lights the room. Hank’s bulky frame fills the doorway. Storms brew in his eyes as he takes in the mess. His spotlight glare lands on me. I’m standing, wild-eyed and panting, in the middle of my bed. Of my monsters there is no sign. I look around at the room. It’s a wreck. My comics are strewn across the floor, and my lamp lies in two pieces by the bed.
“What in the hell is going on here?” Hank yells.
I look around at the tornado I’ve made, and then down at myself.
Now he must really think I’m crazy.
He might have a good reason to think that. I’m standing amongst the mess I’ve made, in my underwear, and I’m holding a baseball bat and flashlight.
“I asked you what’s going on in here. What are you doing?”
Say something before he really gets mad.
“Monsters. There were monsters in here. They were going to get me,” I reply. I’m afraid, but even in my fear I can see Hank doesn’t believe me. “Really, monsters,” I continue. “They were getting closer and closer. I had to fight or they’d have got me. Really.”
“Give me that bat.” Hank said, as he puts his hand out. “What’s wrong with you? Calm down right now. Were do you get these goofy ideas? For sure we're gong to get rid of all those crazy comic books.” He took the bat from my hand. “You and I will talk about this more tomorrow. Now good night and I don’t want to hear any more noise out of you, and turn off the flashlight your wasting batteries.”
He doesn’t even wait for my reply. He turns and stalks out of the room, turning off the light and slamming the door behind him. I’m left standing in the middle of my bed as a gloom -a gloom my flashlight can’t hold back- invades the room.
Hank marched down the hall muttering his irritation. He shifted his grip on David’s bat. As his hand slide down the wood his fingers encountered a circle of wetness.
“What’s this?” He grumbled as he moved under the hallway light.
He stopped and peered closer at the end of the bat and saw a small red smear embedded with several course black hairs, hairs far different then David’s blonde buzz. He turned and looked back at the door to David’s room.
“What the hell?”