My Daughter Learned to Count
My daughter woke me around 11:50 last night. My wife and I had picked her up from her friend Sally’s birthday party, brought her home, and put her to bed. My wife went into the bedroom to read while I fell asleep watching the Braves game.
“Daddy,” she whispered, tugging my shirt sleeve. “Guess how old I’m going to be next month.”
“I don’t know, beauty,” I said as I slipped on my glasses. “How old?”
She smiled and held up four fingers.
It is 7:30 now. My wife and I have been up with her for almost 8 hours. She still refuses to tell us where she got them.
* * *
I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.”
* * *
I heard my mom calling me into the kitchen. As I was heading down the stairs I heard a whisper from the closet saying “Don’t go down there honey, I heard it too.”
He Stood Against My Window
I don’t know why I looked up, but when I did I saw him there. He stood against my window. His forehead rested against the glass, and his eyes were still and light and he smiled a lipstick-red, cartoonish grin. And he just stood there in the window. My wife was upstairs sleeping, my son was in his crib and I couldn’t move. I froze and watched him looking at me through the glass.
Oh, please, no. His smile never moved but he put a hand up and slid it down the glass watching me. With matted hair and yellow skin and face through the window.
I couldn’t do anything. I just stood there, frozen, feet still in the bushes I was pruning, looking into my home. He stood against my window.
* * *
Don’t be scared of the monsters, just look for them. Look to your left, to your right, under your bed, behind your dresser, in your closet but never look up, she hates being seen.
What’s in the basement?
Mommy told me never to go into the basement, but I wanted to see what was making that noise. It kind of sounded like a puppy, and I wanted to see the puppy, so I opened the basement door and tiptoed down a bit. I didn’t see a puppy, and then Mommy yanked me out of the basement and yelled at me. Mommy had never yelled at me before, and it made me sad and I cried. Then Mommy told me never to go into the basement again, and she gave me a cookie. That made me feel better, so I didn’t ask her why the boy in the basement was making noises like a puppy, or why he had no hands or feet.
When I was a child my family moved into a big old two-floor house, with big empty rooms and creaking floorboards. Both my parents worked so I was often alone when I came home from school. One early evening when I came home the house was still dark.
I called out, “Mum?” and heard her sing song voice say “Yeeeeees?” from upstairs. I called her again as I climbed the stairs to see which room she was in, and again got the same “Yeeeeees?” reply. We were decorating at the time, and I didn’t know my way around the maze of rooms but she was in one of the far ones, right down the hall. I felt uneasy, but I figured that was only natural so I rushed forward to see my mum, knowing that her presence would calm my fears, as a mother’s presence always does.
Just as I reached for the handle of the door to let myself in to the room I heard the front door downstairs open and my mother call “Sweetie, are you home?” in a cheery voice. I jumped back, startled and ran down the stairs to her, but as I glanced back from the top of the stairs, the door to the room slowly opened a crack. For a brief moment, I saw something strange in there, and I don’t know what it was, but it was staring at me.
All I saw was red
I checked into a small hotel. It was late and I was tired. I told the woman at desk that I wanted a room. She gave me the key and said, “One more thing - there is one room without a number on your floor and it is always locked. Don’t even peek in there.” I took the key, went into my room and tried to sleep. Night came and I heard trickling of water. I could not sleep, so I opened my door and went into the hall. The sound was coming from the room with no number. I pounded on the door. No response. I looked into the keyhole and saw nothing except red. Water was still trickling. I went down to the front desk to complain. “By the way who is in that room?” She looked at me and told me the story. There was woman in there. She was murdered by her husband. Her skin was all white, except for her eyes, which were red.
* * *
The doctors told the amputee he might experience a phantom limb from time to time. Nobody prepared him for the moments though, when he felt cold fingers brush across his phantom hand.
* * *
I can't move, breathe, speak or hear and it's so dark all the time. If I had known it would be this lonely, I would have been cremated instead.
* * *
My daughter won't stop crying and screaming in the middle of the night. I visit her grave and ask her to stop, but it doesn't help.
* * *
I just saw my reflection blink.
* * *
My grandmother told me that it was a gift to see the angel of death in front of people's houses, to know that he'd be collecting someone there soon. I thought it was a gift too, up until the day I began to see it in front of every house.
* * *
You know that weird, full-body twitch you get sometimes when you're falling asleep? If there was a camera pointed at you, and you saw what it captured at that moment, you'd never sleep again.
* * *
After struggling desperately to move any part of his paralytic body just to alert the doctors that he was conscious before they made the first incision, he was relieved to see that one of the nurses had noticed his pupils dilating from the bright light. She leaned in close and, in a whisper that tickled his ear, said "you think we don't know you're awake?"
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