Sleep? Walking? Dead?

Her eyes jolted open.  The room was dark, illuminated only by the dim blue power light of her printer.  She rolled over, laying flat on her back and staring at the smattering of glow-in-the dark stars on her ceiling left behind by a previous tenant: one, who she liked to believe, smoked up and hallucinated that the green shapes were actually the night sky.  It was a second story apartment.

She swung her feet from under the covers and set them lightly on the floor. She walked to the door of her bedroom and turned the knob, cringing as the wood scraped loudly against the frame.  She paused and listened for the sound of stirring from the room nearby.  She really needed to get that fixed.  Her ankles popped with each step she took down the hallway.  The blackout curtains had been left open slightly, bathing the living room in the same dull peach from the streetlight outside.  She groped blindly for a cup that she knew was hidden in the shadows of the kitchen counter.  She was pretty sure it was clean. Well, maybe.

As she filled it with water from the faucet, the little light that illuminated her movements vanished.  The streetlight had flickered off.  It happened often, but she would be lying if she said that it didn’t make her freeze with the cup held to her lips.  She closed her eyes and pretended that her world had gone dark under her own accord.  It was an unseen clatter that made her jump, spilling water down the front of her shirt and onto the floor.

“Stupid ice maker,” she huffed under her breath, pulling the towel they used to dry dishes from the counter onto the floor as she dropped to her knees.

Her foot bumped something soft and warm. Fuzzy. A rabbit? No, it had to be a bear. She reached around and grabbed it, expecting it to be one of the dog’s toys.  As it neared her face, she dropped it on the ground.  Ugh, it smelled awful.  She pulled away from it with her hand covering her mouth and nose, rocking backwards and shifting her weight fully onto the floor.

The white bear was dirty and reeked of a smell that she couldn’t place.  The arm was fraying at the seams, exposing the stuffing within. The body was stained with an interwoven pattern of yellow and red and the face of the bear matched the slippers of the feet in the threshold of the doorway.

Fear seized her like a blanket, spreading warm and quickly around her chest.  She raised her eyes slowly, infinitesimally, and her scream pitched itself down her throat, choking her and rendering her mute as she stared into the clouded eyes of the blonde child.

Her eyes jolted open as the upper half of her body sprang forward for the third time this week.  She could still see the decaying flesh and braces.  The inhuman screech that erupted strangled from the child’s half eroded smile still rang in her ears.  She threw back her head in frustration and caught a glimpse of the glow-in-the-dark stars and the dark dust ring that rested just beyond the reach of her fan blades.  She pulled her covers back up over her body and thrust her head under her pillow, silently cursing her roommate and wondering why she continued to do this to herself.

But it’s so good!

A Guest Column by Shelbi Brown, an English Literature Student at the University of Alabama.

  • Kasey Hullett

    Great description of the zombie-like blonde! I really like it!

  • Haley Erin Seale

    Very nice. The suspense was wonderful