Prompt: You wake up in the middle of the night hearing a loud repeated thumping sound coming from downstairs. Suddenly the sound stops and a voice says, “Don’t worry. It’s dead.
The stairs creaked under my weight. A dull, soft light fell across the floor downstairs from the living room. I heard heavy breathing, scrambling, a shifting of something big on the floor. At the bottom of the stairs, I peaked out around the corner and saw my mother standing over something odd and large.
It looked like it was an enormous person wrapped in a sleeping bag, but yet the way it’s skin rippled and broke apart like burnt paper, or the sound it made when it moved like rustling, dried leaves told me it was not. My mother’s hair was up in a bun, though a few strays hung over her forehead. When I went to sleep she was wearing a dress and a blouse, but now she wore black sweatpants and an old faded band t-shirt. As she maneuvered the thing over towards the couch against the far wall, the muscles in her thin forearms stood out and the sweat covering her face glistened underneath the lamp light.
“Mom…?” I said from the stairs, now crouching, afraid of what she was handling.
She stopped mid-movement and faced the stairs, “Honey, what’re doing up?”
“I heard a loud noise, then heard someone say, ‘Don’t worry. It’s dead.'”
My mother stepped over the large thing and neared the stairwell, swiping away the hair from her eyes. “It was nothing honey, just a bad dream. Go upstairs and go back to bed. I’ll be up in a minute to tuck you in.”
I shook my head. “Can’t sleep, too scared.”
“Johnathan, go back up—”
“Mommy! That thing! It’s moving!”
Before my mother could turn around, the large thing rose and stood straight up, looming above her. The top of it nearly touched the high ceiling of the living room.
“Run!” she screamed. “Run Johnathan! Go!”
A seam ran down the thing’s center, like a zipper without a zipper, and hundreds, if not millions, of layers peeled back away from its center, revealing rows upon rows upon endless rows of teeming, tar dripping, tiny fangs that pointed out from vibrant blue and phosphorescence green gums. In its center, so far away, so deep into its body that it was like I was staring through a doorway into a mile-long hallway, was the sound of crackling kindle and guttural moans. There was movement in the distance, something within it, coming closer, jerking forward as if time skipped. The moans grew louder, closer, nearer.
Urine streamed down my leg and my body went numb. I couldn’t move, could hardly breath, only stupidly crouch there as the thing began to spread, open further, becoming a bottomless cocoon.
She walked back to the stairwell, taking out her cellphone, dialed, then screamed. “It’s not dead! I was wrong! The Watcher is coming!”
My mother threw the phone aside, turned to me, picked me up, and sprinted through the kitchen, out the backdoor. The sky was endless, starless, not even the moon seemed to be out that night. She nearly slipped on the wet grass, but she didn’t stop, didn’t falter. Past the garage, and across the small strip of woods that divided our yard and our neighbors. When we came to an empty dog house, a dachshund that passed a year before, she set me down, crouched and began digging in the dirt. After a few moments, she pulled out a big plastic bag from the dirt. Inside were keys, a wallet, and a gun.
“Mommy, mommy, what’s happening?” I cried, holding my arms crossed over my chest, shivering.
“Nothing dear, nothing at all. We’re going to stay at Uncle Frank’s for a while, you’ll get to play with your cousins Sammy and Tiffany.” She rubbed my face with her fingers, smiling.
“But I don’t want to, they’re girls.”
“It’ll be okay, it’ll be just fine. It’ll only be for a while then we’ll find somewhere to live, somewhere safe.”
“Safe from who, mommy?”
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, then she shook her head. “No one, no one dear.”
“No buts, now be a good boy and stop asking questions. We have to meet him soon.”
“What did I just say?”
I pouted for a brief moment, then she took me by the hand, and walked me up the small incline of the neighbor’s backyard and out onto the street. From there we walked to the three-way at the end or the road, and a black van pulled up. When we neared the vehicle, the window on the driver’s side rolled down, revealing my uncle. “Hey little man, what do you want to listen to?”
After I buckled my seat, I said, “Anything that mommy wants to listen to.”
My uncle looked at my mother in the passenger seat and smiled. “Got anything in mind?”
She rolled her eyes. “Just drive.”
It was fifteen minutes later, when were half a mile away from my home, driving through a patch of woods. Mom didn’t decide on anything to play on the radio, so we sat in silence.
Then, suddenly, the world was filled with a loud explosion in the distance. I turned around in my seat, and looked out the back window to see a tuft of blackened smoke rise into the sky. Oddly, I thought it looked like it came from my house.
Read my previous prompt, “The Haunted Toaster.”
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