Match Twenty-Nine: Carbuncle:
Lately, Matthew’s been having strange dreams. Two in particular stood out.
It was supposed to have been a quiet evening. Matthew had just settled in with a warm glass of milk and nice book before bed when he heard a knock on the door.
“Hm?” he asked. “Who is that?” Matthew climbed out of bed and walked over to the front door.
“Who is it?” the Canadian man asked, looking out the peep hole. A figure in a dark brown cloak stood outside on the front porch. They shuffled a bit in place. They looked like they had their head down.
“I’m so cold,” they said. The voice sounded female, but hoarse. Almost like she hadn’t used her voice in quite some time.
“What?” Matthew asked.
“I am so cold,” she said again. “Please let me in.” The cloaked female swayed in place. Matthew hesitated with a nervous look on his face. He heard the stories about things like this. If he opened that door, he could be letting in a potential home invasion.
“I’m so cold,” the woman said again. Her body seemed to be swaying back and forth. Matthew’s eye shifted back and forth.
“Are you lost?” he asked.
“I have nowhere to go,” she said.
“Do you need to use the phone?”
“Do you need directions?”
“I have nowhere to go.”
“What do you want from me?”
The woman slowly lifted her head. Matthew still couldn’t see her face in her hood. He could’ve sworn he saw a flash of white underneath.
“I’m cold and I have nowhere to go,” she said. “Please let me in.” Matthew’s stomach turned. Against his better judgement, he nodded.
“Okay…” he said in a trembling voice. The Canadian man unlocked the door and opened it a crack.
“Thank you,” the woman said. Matthew stepped aside and let her in. However, she was only the first one.
When he looked up, more people stood outside on the porch. They all wore dark cloaks and had their heads down. Matthew watched in horror as everyone walked in in a single file line. Some had bags on their backs. Others had small children close by their sides. No one made eye contact with him. The Canadian man stepped back as he trembled. Who were these people? Why were they coming here? Matthew froze when one little boy stopped and looked up at him. His hood was off, revealing his face.
His eyes. Matthew had never seen something so dead-looking before in his life. This child had seen so much in his short life. A hand pushed him along in the line. It didn’t seem that the row of people would stop coming. More and more began to feel the house. Matthew didn’t know how to stop it.
“Get out of my house!” he shouted. His voice got lost under the shuffling footsteps. More people walked by him. The Canadian man tried in vain to stop them, but there were too many of them. They started to push past him and fill up every space of the house.
“Kumajirou!” Matthew yelled. He couldn’t even hear his companion’s voice over the sounds of shuffling feet. He couldn’t see the little bear in the growing crowd.
“It’s not their fault,” someone whispered. Matthew’s eyes glanced over his shoulder. A pale chin rested on his shoulder.
“They were driven here because of the poison that destroyed their homes,” a woman’s voice whispered. “They have nowhere else to go. You have the only known house that will take them now.” Matthew could only watch as more people filled his crowded house.
He had this dream again last night. Matthew didn’t know what to make of this dream. How often would it take before a person would sit up and take notice? That time for Matthew was now.
Then there is another dream.
Canada in 1995.
She’s out again. How long would it be this time? Days? Weeks? There was even a time where she was gone for months. That time, she came home for Christmas. Even then she didn’t pay much attention to him. The next day, she was gone again. Speaking of Christmas, she still hadn’t taken the decorations down. The music did little to change his mood. The little boy just laid there on the floor with “Jingle Bells” playing in the background.
When was the last time he had anything to eat? When was the last time he had a bath? How the Christmas lights were still on, he didn’t know. The little boy stared up at the dark ceiling. His stomach felt so weak. Any amount of food could put him in the hospital. Why didn’t anyone help him? Someone had to know about his condition. Yeah, in fact, somebody did visit the house. He couldn’t remember who.
It had to be a little bit before Christmas. Someone knocked on the door and it wasn’t his mother. He looked up to see a giant white teddy bear in the window. A person was holding it up. She, pretty sure that it was a she, asked to come up and if he was okay. He didn’t speak. He didn’t let her in. The child did get to keep the bear. He wished that he could let the woman in. But, his mother wouldn’t let him. The reason was lost to him now.
The house had no heat again. It was bad winter that year too. The thin blankets were going to be enough tonight. His mother still wasn’t home. Looked like she was going to be out on another long bender. She always did that on a whim. Was she always like this? He couldn’t remember anymore. His mouth felt so dry.
When did it get so warm? The little boy saw a hand caressing his cheek.
“Mama?” he asked. No. That wasn’t her. This woman was more loving. Her touch felt so warm. She smiled at him. She spoke, but he could barely her. Still, the little boy understood what she was saying.
“Yes,” he said.
“Everything is going to be alright,” was the last thing he heard. “Silent Night” played in the background.
His body would not be found until two weeks later.
Neither dream made any sense to Matthew. Kumajirou sat by his bed.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I’m Matthew, your owner,” he complained.
“Is something wrong?” the bear asked. Matthew stared at him as images of that teddy bear from that window flashed before him. The Canadian shook his head.
“Nothing,” he muttered, looking down.
“Nightmares again?” the bear asked.
“Yeah,” Matthew said. He rolled over and looked out the window. This wasn’t the first time that happened to him. The other countries had experienced similar experiences he had. Matthew pulled his sheets tighter and the pillow over his head.
“I don’t like this,” he mumbled to himself. The Canadian man’s stomach turned as he started to tremble.