by Erin O'shea
Short story in the works~.
| Being folded in half for what seemed like the fifth time that week, Hunter tried to shriek for help. No one noticed his plea, so he got stuck in his dark, dark locker.
He shut his eyes, thinking it couldn't get any darker, he thought back to all the times he'd disappointed his father, this being one of them.
His father had wanted him to be one of the people stuffing nerds into lockers, not to be the one being stuffed into them, himself. You see, his father had named him Hunter in high hopes that he would get a strong, athletic boy. Instead, he had gotten a slim, tall, curly haired, thick rimmed glasses wearing nerd.
But it didn't matter now anyways. His father had left him and his mother a year ago. There was no chance he was coming back to them after she had filed the papers.
Hunter hugged himself as tight as he could, being in the awkward position he was in. He was trying to comfort himself, being afraid of the dark and all. He had been sure that he had a bogeyman in his closet, and a monster under his bed until he was 15.
Not to mention that he had always hated their creepy attic.He remembered back to his fourth birthday, when all he got was a "big boy bed" from both his parents, a suit from his mom, and a football he got from his dad that he used all of once.
Light filtered in over his eyelids, and the locker door made a horrible noise as it opened- like it needed to be oiled. Hunter opened his eyes, and looked up at the math teacher, who was his favorite teacher, trying to help him get out.
Beep! Beep! Beep! A clock beeped at exactly 6:33 in the morning. A man with curly hair got up out of his bed. He made it, like he did every morning, and went to the closet for his clothes for the day. Since it was Tuesday, he grabbed one of the two blue suits he had, and laid it out neatly before going to take his shower and brush his teeth. Coming back to his bedroom, he put on his suit, taking care to tuck in his shirt, fasten every button on his coat, and align his tie so that it didn't show his shirt buttons, which were also buttoned to the top. Pulling his shoes on over his socks, he went to the bathroom, brushed his hair into the same style he'd had for the last 10 years, and went downstairs. Making his black coffee, and getting his paper, he sat down at the table.
Taking exactly 5 minutes to read through the paper, he only finished half his cup of coffee. Pouring the other half into the sink, he washed out the cup and the sink, placing the mug upside down on the towel to dry.
He went to the back door like he did every day, and felt something was wrong. Looking around,he noticed the trash can had moved from its spot on top of the half-tiles he disliked so much. Taking about twenty seconds or more to fix it until he was satisfied, he looked at his watch. 7:15. He still felt uncomfortable knowing the tiles were still uneven, but he sighed, knowing he couldn't fix it.
He went out the door, going to his plain gray economy car, and drove to his office. He had performed this routine for 10 years the same exact way.
He went through the work day as normal, and when lunch came around, he walked to the same restaurant he'd eaten at everyday. Even though he knew what he would order, he still insisted on seeing a menu, as if to act as if he would order anything different. After precisely two minutes, he order his regular grilled bacon and cheese sandwich (with a side of peas and french fries), seeing as the waitress (who he thought was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen) had already given him his iced tea, to his dismay. What if he'd wanted something different!?
As the waitress walked away, he took special care to watch after her. She had her hair up in a ponytail that was perfect and flowing, and wore her glasses at just the right place on her nose, or so he thought. She had brown hair, like his own, but not curly. She had the most sparkly brown eyes behind those glasses, and that was usually all he saw when he ordered. Her eyes.
He counted his peas before eating, to ensure there were an even number of them, and ate in a counter-clockwise motion. He finished one dish before moving on to the next. He drank his iced tea last, as he did always, and tipped his regular twelve-and-a-half percent, before going back to work. He went through the rest of his day as was his routine, until precisely three, when it was time for him to go home.
He took exactly 117 steps to his car, and drove home, the safe and regular route. When he got home, he watched TV for 20 minutes exactly, ate the same broiled chicken breast dinner he ate every day, and took a bath with salts as he did nightly.
Then he got dressed in his flannel pajamas, and got into bed. He tucked himself in extra tight, and pulled the cover up to his chin, still scared to sleep in the dark. He wasn't "scared" really, it was just that it's not rational for an adult to be afraid of the dark, and Hunter most definitely thought of himself as a rational adult. So he had no night light, and no place to look that he wouldn't see pitch black. So, as he did when he was a kid, he squeezed his eyes shut, and thought of memories.
One memory stood out. Everyone was in black, sad looking or crying, or looking uncomfortable.
He saw his cousin Louie there, standing next to a coffin. Moving towards it, he saw his mother’s pale face. She looked like she was frowning, which disturbed him. This was a newer memory, from about a year and a half ago.
Then his memories came back to that morning, at the restaurant, with the waitress. He remembered her little upset sigh, which he hadn't noticed at the time. What was wrong? he thought.
Then...* bump! bump! bump!* Hunter’s eyes shot open, looking around, and he thought, “Couldn't it be my imagination?” He closed his eyes again, thinking,” How could it be MY imagination? It's not that good!” He just sat there, thinking hard for a moment or two, then fell asleep, to wake up to the same beeping he had heard for the previous ten years.
He went through the same old thing, counting his peas at lunch, and his steps at the end of the work day. He had the same dinner, took the same bath (not in the literal sense), and he even had the same routine for going to bed. That night, he had the blankets tucked in extra tight, and pulled up to his chin. The same bumping from under the bed, but louder, and more distinct.
Then, he heard a soft rustling in his closet, like his hangers being moved around. He ignored it as well as he could, but still lost sleep.
He was starting to think something was wrong. He was losing more and more sleep, and the same sounds happened over and over, getting louder and louder, making him consider sleeping on the couch. Then, two weeks after the noises had started, on October 31st, he had heard, and felt the bump under the bed.
Hunter had had enough. He got out of bed, got down on his knees, picked up the bed skirts, and looked under the bed.
When he came to, he was, at first lost, then his memory returned, as sharp as a straight-razor, fresh off the strop.
All he had seen were glowing yellow eyes, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and claws the size of a ruler. He shrieked, falling back on his butt, and a shriek returned to him. Back and fourth, about four times, they screamed, then, Hunter began to scuttle backwards, on his butt, towards his closet, not registering that it had creaked open.
After calming down, he looked through his suits, and then heard a voice.
"Oh my!Oh Dear! Are you all right?" A voice said, obviously a man.
Hunter looked down, and saw a pair of fancy, expensive, pair of Metzler top-lace loafers, that he himself would never spend the money to wear.
Looking up and up, he saw perfectly tailored black pants that looked perfect for this tall and freakishly skinny thing, looking up, and up some more, he saw a silver brushed silk shirt, with a designers name, that he didn’t recognize, over the breast pocket, with a perfectly matching, solid, electric blue tie, to top it all off. Looking up yet further, he finally got to the most gruesome thing he had seen outside of his childhood imagination.
The skin was rotting and green, had warts all over it, and the nose was worse. It was one of those noses you would see on a fake which decoration you would see around that time of year. It was long, and pointed at the tip, ending right over his green, cracked lips.
He looked up to the eyes, which were behind gold rimmed glasses, and his own eyes widened.
He saw blood-shot eyes, with purple irises. The eyes had some hair hanging out in front of them, which he hadn't realized hair until a few seconds after seeing it. It was a bright red-orange color, like a mixture of carrot orange and fire truck red, and it stuck out EVERYWHERE. Most of it was pressed against his head, being that way because the being was so tall that he had to hunch to not hit his head on the ceiling.
"Darling?" The thing asked, and Hunter tried to swallow his heart back down his throat.
He scuttled out of the closet as fast as he humanly could, regained his feet, and, running towards the attic stairs. He soon realized his mistake, but couldn’t reverse direction, and go back towards the horrors!
He got up the stairs, using both his hands and legs to propel himself faster up them, and got in the closest corner. He had his legs to his chest, his hands cupping his ears, and his eyes squeezed as tight as they could go.
Over and over he was rocking back and forth, saying: "They're not real! They're not real!"
After about 5 minutes of that, he opened his eyes, still rocking, but not repeating himself anymore. Then, from the attic window(which he thought was really creepy) he saw a pair of blue headlights, which looked as if they belonged to a fancy European sports car. They got bigger and bigger, and closer and closer, so that when they got so big, and so close, he realized that they weren't a pair of headlights, and they were so close, he could touch them if he'd wanted to.
Then, his eyes grew so wide at the next thing that happened, that he thought his eyelids were now behind the eyeballs. The two lights stayed the same, but around them, an apparition faded into view. It looked like a blue and white woman, with mangled hair sticking out every which way, wearing tattered clothes, and had a black hole for a mouth.
He fell back, into the corner, having fainted, once again.
He felt a sensation that he had never felt before. His eyes were being peeled back, with someone at his side saying something to another person. He thought people were there, so he opened them the rest of the way by himself, and saw the same ghastly woman again, hovering over him!
"Oh! He's awake! Are you alright dear? You seem somewhat pale!" The apparition seemed to be expressing worry over him, which seemed like a familiar thing to him. Like a mother.
He fainted once again, not falling this time, seeing as he was already on the floor, but if he had answered the apparition, he wouldn't have to sleep on the floor, he'd have been moved to his bed.
Hunter blinked his eyes open, and sat up on the floor. He shook his head clear of the fright-filled night.
"It must've been a dream." He sighed.
Getting up off the attic floor, ignoring the fact of where he was being proof of the reality of the events of the night, he went downstairs to make a phone call. Dialing the number to his work office, Hunter put the phone to his ear.
"Hello?" a husky voice asked from the other end of the line.
"Hello, This is Hunter, and I can't come in to work today... I'm sick." He said, and hung up the phone.
Putting down the phone, the man that was on the other side of the line looked to the woman next to him. "Hunter called in sick.... The end of the world is coming!"
Hunter walked back to his room, still in his pajamas, and got into bed. He didn't bother fixing his blanket, he just pulled it over his head, and fell asleep, exhausted.
Hunter woke up to the smell of eggs and coffee. He hadn’t eaten all day, so he opened his eyes, and pulled the blanket off his head. He looked to where the smell was coming from ,and blinked, rubbing his eyes to make sure he was awake.
“Hi there!” The monster said. It was wearing a pair of overalls, had huge eyes, and had even bigger teeth, so large that he was surprised it even fit in the things mouth.
He saw that the thing had food, so he smiled shakily, and said, “Is that for me?”
“Not until you say hi!” The thing said, a frown forming on its very furry face.
“Richy! Be nice to the poor man! Can’t you see he’s hungry?” Said a very motherly voice, one he remembered from the night before.
“Alright Ms.E.” It...Richy, apparently, had said, handing him the platter with the sunny side up eggs and the coffee on it.
The closet door opened, and a tall figure ducked to not hit its head.
Untying an apron, the figure smile, its rotten teeth showing, and frighting Hunter. He didn’t show it, of course, because that wasn’t an adult thing to do.
“I sure hope I got it right! I’m sorry if it’s burnt. Richy here was jumping up and down for food himself...” The monster trailed off.
Hunter was trying to arrange his thoughts. So, he was going crazy. So his hallucinations had names(except for the tall one). Sure. This was perfectly normal, he was sure...he thought...maybe.
He sighed, heavily, resigned to the idea that he’d, at least temporarily, lost his mind.
“Well, Food is a good idea right now.” Hunter said, and took a bite out of the egg.
He had no idea how hallucinations could make food, but he didn’t care. Food was better than nothing.
After finishing, the...thing they called ‘Ms.E’ took his plate and floated off.
He carefully ignored that fact.
“It’s probably the best idea to stay home for a couple of days, seeing as it would ruin my career, being in a mental hospital.” Hunter thought, sipping at his coffee, which they had gotten just right, and absentmindedly playing with the edge of his blanket.
He looked up at the long-armed thing at the edge of his bed and then sighed again.”Why is my mind doing this to me? WHY ARE YOU?” He thought to himself. It might be best to ignore the things that were freaking him out.
Opening the door to his room, Hunter looked around. No monsters in sight. He slowly took a step in and then another. He could hear faint voices, like a television was on.
“That’s strange. I don’t have a T.V. in there.” Hunter said to himself in a murmur, opening the closet door that the voices were coming from.
“Would you min- OH! Hunter!” The tall, man-like figure said, his huge teeth glistening from the light of the T.V. screen with an old musical playing on it.
“Hi there!” He said, and smiled at Hunter.
Hunter put his hand up, a motion meaning to be a wave, and turned around to get out of this closet. Closing the door, he heard the musical resume, and he went to lie down on his bed.
Closing his eyes, Hunter tried to doze off. After a couple of minutes, all was quiet, as if the room was holding it’s breath (if it had any). Then, *JAB*! He curled up in pain, holding his stomach.
“Sorry Mister!” The hairy monster said, and soon jumped as Mrs.E came floating down to him.
“Richard, that was very rude! Why would you do such a thing?” Mrs.E said, with a deep frown set on her face.
Richy frowned as well, and turned his head to the side, muttering “I said I was sorry...”
Hunter looked at the motherly and horrifying, banshee-like apparition. “Excuse me, but he had said he was sorry.” Hunter said, feeling sorry for the little thing that called himself Richy.
“Well, someone still needs to teach this young lad some manners!” Mrs.E said, as if she were in defeat.
Hunter sighed, getting up, and went to the phone to call in sick for the fourth time this week, knowing he wasn’t going to get any sleep for the duration of the morning.
The slim man entered the closet to look for his regular old suits, trying to remember if it was a Tuesday or a Thursday, but what he found scared him badly.
All of his suits had disappeared, and in their place were much newer, and more stylish ones, with ranges of colors from blazing blue to a sharp, powder gray pinstripe.
Mortified and stupefied with the transformation of his suits, he hadn’t noticed the tall monster walk up behind him.
“Do you like them, Darling? Your old ones where boring, and a HUGE disaster for the fashion police to clean up! Lucky for you that I live in there, and fixed every old ratty thing, besides my hair. By the way, my name is Lawrence.” It..he...the thing...man...monster, said, and then looked at Hunter’s head in disgust.
"What?” Hunter asked, feeling self conscious, and glared back at the green, warted face, of his closet monster.
“Your HAIR! It needs major help! It’s even more out of style then mine!” Lawrence replied, taking something out of his back pocket. He revealed scissors and snipped them with a smile.
“Are you even certified?” Hunter asked, horrified for his hair and his life.