Part two of a horror: What evil lurks upstairs? Read on if you dare.
|This is part two of Countdown to the Bogeyman - still very much a work in progress so any feedback will be appreciated.
Despite his initial apathy, Daniel slowly warmed up to me; but I got the distinct impression that Sasha did not approve. His attitude changed whenever she came into the room, and he would quickly disengage from any activity we were sharing.
Several days after the incident with the sketch pad, Aunt Gwendoline was called out of town on some urgent matter and left Sasha in charge during her absence.
Authority, or at least the abuse of it, seemed to come easy to her. She ordered us about like a military drill-sergeant and kept a close vigil on our behaviour; constantly searching for things to scold us for.
Just before midday, I was in the living room, working on a colouring book with Daniel. It seemed the only activity that Sasha begrudgingly tolerated, mainly because it was meant to keep us out of mischief.
“That’s the wrong colour,” affirmed Daniel pointing to the small dog I was colouring, “there ain’t no such thing as a green dog.”
“That girl’s got a cold and she sneezed over it.” I retorted pointing to the girl in with the skipping rope, toward the left of the page. “It’s called a snot-dog.”
“No such thing as a snot-dog either.”
“It’s not as though we’re going to get graded on this or anything. No one's going to care.”
“I care…Dogs ain’t green.”
“It’s not green…it’s just covered in snot.”
Tempers frayed and we started squabbling. Daniel threw the book at me and I threw a pencil back at him in retaliation. Next minute we were roughhousing and he accidently kicked over the coffee table; breaking a valuable porcelain vase in the process.
“What in the blistering blue blazers is going on!” hollered Sasha, rushing into the living room moments later. She stopped dead in her tracks, beheld the chaos, and let loose a disgruntled groan. “Okay, which one of you two little brats broke it!”
Spite urged me to inform her that Daniel was the culprit, but the crazed, almost psychotic look in her eye stilled my intent. I could not in good conscience throw him to the lions, so to speak, and instead opted for a nobler solution.
“It was me,” I stated nervously.
“Mum’s going to go ballistic when she finds out.”
“I didn’t mean to break it.”
“If you had stuck to colouring and not skylarked around this never would have happened... now go to your room and stay there until Mum gets home... and be quick about it.”
Time dragged painfully slow as I awaited Aunt Gwendoline’s homecoming. I considered, more than once rescinding my admission, but I knew it was too late now, my fate had been sealed.
I must have drifted off because the next thing I recall is being woken to a rattling noise. Seconds later, the bedroom door inched open and a young girl with long auburn hair stepped in.
On the southern wall of the room was a whiteboard, along with a small collection of marker pens. Aunt Gwendoline had placed it there; alleging it to be a better option than risking me drawing on the walls.
The girl made her way to the board and drew a gallows with five dashes underneath, then turned to me and smiled.
"Hangman," I thought."She wants to play hangman. I love that game."
“Who are you?” I asked, approaching the board.
“I am the Daughter of the Bogeyman,” she alleged in a sullen tone and then added “my name is Spookilla.”
“My name’s Norton.”
“Yes, I’ve been watching you…naughty Norton.”
I could not help smiling. An overactive imagination seemed an important trait to me back then, yet the thought that she had been somehow spying on me seemed a little creepy.
My mind shifted back to the game and I started making random guesses, most of which were wrong. More and more of the stick figure appeared. Soon I was down to only a couple more guesses and two letters still to fill. Nothing seemed to fit.
_T_TN. It did not make any sense. I had never heard of a word that ended in “TN” and theorised it may well be some sort of acronym, or even a name of a demon from the depths of hell.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Aunt Gwendoline’s Holden Commodore pulling up on the gravel drive. Spookilla smiled at me then slowly vanished like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland; though her grin did not linger. I could hear raised voices from downstairs and my fear grew at the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs.
“Mum wants to see you, now!” affirmed Sasha, barging into the room. I felt hesitant to comply but she snatched my hand like a disgruntled guardian and led me downstairs.
I returned to my room a short time later with a smarting bottom, wondering if my nobility had really been worth it. Daniel was got-off Scott-free, whilst I had further distanced myself from Aunty Gwendoline’s favour. In hindsight I should never have coloured that stupid dog green.
Drying my eyes, I noticed that the missing letters of the word had been filled in. At first it seemed to spell OTOTN which made no sense what so ever, but after studying it closer I realised the O’s were in fact zeros, or noughts. Nought-Tee-Nought-TIN…Naughty Norton.
"What a fun play on words". I chucked, but my laughter was arersted by a loud thump; coming from the hallway.
I opened the bedroom door and gasped. My heart chilled as I stared gobsmacked at a much scarier version of Spookilla. She sagged lifelessly; suspended from the ceiling by an electrical cord which cut deep into her neck
“Spookilla,” I muttered, hesitantly approaching her.
She ceased swinging and stared down at me. Her cracked lips parted, revealing the uneven fangs within. Claws projected from the end of her bony fingers, and razor sharp talons from what remained of her feet.
“I’m coming to get you, naughty Norton” she declared in a raspy tone. “Here I come!”
The cord around her neck suddenly broke and she started descending toward me like, like an eagle swooping upon its prey. I tried to flee but she seized me, digging her claws pricing my arms. I squealed and struggled to break free, but her grip was too tight.
“Please let me go!” I implored.
“Dinner’s ready, Daddy,” she called in a shrill tone. As she spoke I could see traces of blood on her fangs. “We've got Little Boy on the menu, just the way you like it…rare and tender.”
“Why are you doing this to me?”
“Daddy likes liver and kidneys, but I more a spare ribs type of gal.”
A decrepit old man materialised in the hallway. He wore a crumpled top hat, filthy dark suit and a knife-scabbard around his waist (the type of ones butchers use).
“Aunt Gee!” I called out in vague hope she would come to my rescue. “Sasha! Daniel!”
“Aunty Gee! Aunty Gee…I’ll give you Aunty Gee!” she mocked. “Nuggets of Naughty Norton!”
The floor shook as the old man made his way closer toward us.
“Let me go!”
Her putrid breath caused me to gag and I dry retched a few times. A moment later her lizard like tongue shot out and drenched my face in sticky drool. My surroundings blurred then went pitch black for a brief time. A bright light dazzled my eyes and I woke up on the bed with Chubs standing over me; panting and wagging his tail.
Though groggy & confused I was nonetheless pleased to see the dog, and gave him a big hug. It seemed obvious I must have been having a full-on nightmare, but gauging just what I had dreamt or imagined, and what had really transpired was difficult.
I looked over at the whiteboard and noticed there was no trace of any gallows or words written on it. But what did that mean? Spookilla could have wiped it off before I woke up. That’s assuming she existed at all. Even so, I could not bring myself to open the bedroom door…just in case.
The following morning, we had pancakes for breakfast and the day progressed without any mention of the vase. I was neither forgiven nor the focus of Aunt Gwendoline's scorn; the matter was resolved. She was one of those people who said her piece, punished and then just got on with life.
It seemed only fair I should occasion the same mercy toward Daniel as she had bestowed upon me. Deep down I knew that it wasn’t easy to be accountable, especially when the only reward for such honesty lay with the sting of a swatting palm.
I was sitting in the living room with Daniel a couple of days later, this time we were trying to put a 500 piece jigsaw together. Sasha and my Aunt were busy with the laundry, so I took advantage of their absence to ask him something that had been on my mind since the first day I arrived.
“Daniel, do you believe in ghosts?” I inquired casually.
“Ghosts?” he replied with a slight apprehension. “You mean the one upstairs?”
His answer rattled me. It was something I hadn’t expected for him to say, but I felt slightly relieved that I wasn’t the only one in this house that was being spooked.
“The one upstairs?” I retorted with feigned ignorance.
“It’s okay…it’s harmless, as long as you follow its rules.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m going to tell you something, but you mustn’t tell Sasha I told you; otherwise she’ll kick my ass.”
“I promise I won’t say anything.”
“Alright here goes….”
Continues: Next instalment: Countdown to the Bogeyman Part Three