Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Sleepless"

     Danny curled his knees up on the king sized, underneath the down filled cotton, propped up by a memory foam, as a fluorescent illuminated brightly a copy of another Stephen King.  He was halfway through when he glanced at the glaringly crimson "twelve oh-one" scolding him from across the room.  He still wasn't tired, despite another full day of working on the two-storied fixer-upper he recently invested in.

     It was barely a remnant of the house that was, with its rusty memories and dusty tales of residents past.  As it was, a corpse-shell of a once living establishment, the neighborhood kids spun many whimsical urban legends about its shadowy fixtures, faded pigments, and cracked structures.  The fact that none of them were rooted in any sort of reality or truth didn't stop them from spreading like a pox on small town boredom.  The only thing special about the place was that it wasn't special at all.  Just a greatly neglected house on an ordinary street in a dull suburb with children that don't have anything better to do than to spread vile, incorrect rumors.

     Danny hoped to alleviate some of the false myths about his acquired home with fresh coats of acrylic, shiny copper, and new panes clear enough to help brighten the whole of the house.  It was now after midnight and he had to rely on the artificial light until he either finally shut his eyes or until morning arrived; whichever came first, to which Danny placed wages on the latter.  He took his gaze off of the judgmental digital alarm and scanned the page for where his eyes abandoned.

CRASH!

     The sound interrupted Danny's optical word hunt.  His mind raced to match the proper scenario to the sound, which took him little effort since it was clearly unmistakable; another pane of glass that was propped up by the downstairs front door had tipped over and shattered.  "Shit", he muttered, "There goes another one."  As he chose to ignore the situation and go back to his book rather than deal and clean, another sound followed the first.  It was footsteps running across the hardwood toward the stairs.  Danny closed his book, placed it in his lap, and remained motionless as he focused his eyes to the ajar darkness of the bedroom door.  He remained motionless as he used his entire body to tune in to every decibel of disturbance in the house.  The footsteps did not stop at the stairs; they chose instead to climb them with heavy thumps accompanied by indistinct whispering and giggling.  Unblinking, he faced the sliver of black, the void where the commotion was originating.  "Hey!", Danny shouted, his voice startling himself with the sheer absent-minded volume, to which the footsteps and voices responded with an abrupt halt.  He waited for what seemed like hours of still silence before the sounds started up again, right where they left off.  "I said, 'HEY!'", Danny kept stern to the volume this time.  The black void greeted his outburst with giggles, almost pleased with the annoyance of the bedroom dweller.  He furrowed his smooth brow into one with endless canyons of anger and discontent.  The door slowly started to move, announcing its opening with an unlubricated creak of the hinges.

     Danny didn't budge.  The door continued on a steady path.  He blinked.  The door stopped at a perfect forty-five degree angle, almost mocking him in its own wooden way.  Everything was still.  He was reminded of a saying that fit this situation: it was so quiet you could hear a mouse fart.  Danny hated mice, so he promptly broke the muted tension with a nostril inhale and then his voice, "I thought I told you to..."  The blood hit the ceiling with a sharp splat first, as it always did, followed by the dropping of a body with a heavy thud at the foot of the bed.  The body, one of a young girl in a yellow dress splotched with dried maroon, got up and stared at Danny with hollow dark where her eyes once rested; her lifeless, alabaster cheeks bunched up then stretched out as she opened her mouth, tearing the flesh at the corners, and shrieked directly at him as opaque obsidian oozed out of her jaws and sockets.  Danny leaned into the scream and braced himself as the dead rot breath permeated his every being.  Watery-eyed, he held back the vomit in order to instead finish and spew out, "...GO TO BED!!!"  The child huffed, screamed once more, shattering the light bulb in the process, and stormed out, slamming the door behind her without even batting an undead eyelash.

     Danny sighed, leaned over the side of the bed, reached in a plain cardboard box, and pulled out another high-efficient bulb.  He twirled it into its new home as it thanked him with super-bright white.  He looked up, out of human nature. The blood stain was gone, again.  The smell of decay was quickly dissipating.  The stomps of a cranky dead girl were fading into the night.  He turned back to the clock; "twelve oh-nine" was its response.  "Every night", he grumbled, "Every damn night."  He picked up his book and continued reading until sunrise.

     The weeks passed by, the repairs healed the house, the light bulb body count increased, and the sleepless nights were taking their toll on Danny.  When he thought that he just couldn't handle the repairs or the nights anymore, he was finally finished.  Exhausted, he hung up the sign on the post planted in the fresh, revitalized lawn: "FOR RENT, 3bed/3bath, $1000/month, (non-refundable security deposit required) Call or E-Mail!"  Danny looked at the sign with a beam of pride, "Might as well make a little something for all my hard work!"

     He hopped into the driver's side of his truck, pulled down the sun visor, and removed a tattered image of a grinning, chubby-cheeked moppet in a yellow dress.  He smiled, turned the picture over, and read his own faded handwriting:

"Annabelle.  My First..."

1 comment:

  1. A good quick read. I enjoyed the pace. I appreciate the twist at the end. You might think about taking your first paragraph and segmenting it into two or three parts. With the vocabulary you are using it gets a bit muddy and needs a re-read to catch everything. Enjoyed reading, thanks. If you would like to return the favor, check out http://shadowsandtwilight.blogspot.com/

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