Too Close to Home
“Stop it! Leave it alone!”
“You keep moving and I’ll leave a hairball on your pillow. You stop it!” He hissed back in a hushed whisper.
He had my arm outstretched and was trying to unwrap the bandage Mom had put so meticulously around my injury.
“You are such a baby! What, do you drop down and die when you get a paper cut?”
The bandages unraveled quickly, and Boston pulled off the cloth patch Mom had put over the cut (I think she may have overreacted, especially when she saw it and I couldn’t give her a good reason as to how I got it.) and exposed my wrist.
“Eww…” I said, staring at the cut with morbid fascination. The cut was lined with green and purple. “I think I’ve been poisoned. I don’t feel weird or anything though. Little scared, not weird though.”
“I’d say poison was a good bet. But if it looks like this…did it look like this a couple minutes ago?” He asked tensely.
“No, it just looked like a scrape when Mom bandaged it.”
“Curious.” He muttered, looking down with glittering eyes. “Very curious.”
“Am I going to die?” I asked, feeling a little sick. I couldn’t tell if tat was from nerves or foreign substance.
“I don’t think so.”
“Oh, gee, thanks. That’s really reassuring!” I snapped.
“I’ve never seen anyone react to this like you do.”
“What?! You’ve seen this stuff before? Where? When? How? Is there anything I’ve missed?”
“Probably the why? I saw it a really long time ago, okay? And count yourself lucky, the last time I saw this sort of injury, the person with it was in a coma. It’s not a fatal poison. Usually.”
“I’m hearing a little lack of conviction here.” I glared at him.
“It kinda depends. Did you get a look at it?” He began rewrapping the bandage.
“No, I was a little preoccupied with getting away.”
“That was probably the better choice. I’m a little shady on what happens after the whole coma thing, but I’ll go to lengths to say that it probably isn’t all that nice.”
“Why are you so calm about this?” I growled.
“I’ve always been a very levelheaded person. It makes flying off the handle have a lot more significance when I do it.”
“Gee.” I said sarcastically.
The phone rang downstairs in the hallway and a few seconds later my Mom yelled up that a friend of mine was on the phone.
“I’m coming! We are going to have a big talk about this in a few minutes.”
“Don’t do anything strenuous.”
I ran down the stairs and took the phone from my Mom, wincing when I brushed past her with bandaged wrist. It had begun to hurt, and not in an ‘it’s just a scratch’ sort of way.
“Helen! Helena, it’s me, Nikki. Dude, something, its, there’s this kid, lives down the block, and there’s this thing—” Her voice sounded frantic, and I could hear loud banging in the background, and what sounded like a howling dog.
“—And it came up through the cellar, gram’s freakin’ out, Coming to get Elvis, dude, it’s like Freddy on steroids, I’ve seen it.”
“Hey, cool it, what’s going on over there, do you have a dog?”
“It’s like we’re really big lights and it’s a moth, Manny’s smacked it around a bit, but it’s pissed, and I don’t know what to do, it keeps coming back for us!”
“What? What keeps trying to come back for you?” I was beyond worried. Nikki may be a little freaky sometimes, but she wouldn’t fake something like this.
“I’m telling you, there is a freaking monster in our cellar, and—”
“What the-” I turned towards the kitchen where the source of the noise had just come from.
“Helen?” Nikki’s voice yelled over the phone. “What’s going on!?”
I dropped the phone and ran into the kitchen. Mom was backed up against the wall, staring wide eyed at something that was struggling to get through the kitchen sink window.
It was big, but thin. And ugly. There are no words to describe how ugly this thing is. It was mottled black and brown with three misshapen eyes that I could see, and one outstretched arm that was gripping the counter, trying to pull the rest of the body through the window. It opened its mouth and a stink of rancid, rotting air hit me.
I promptly lost my breakfast. I think part of dinner came out too.
The noise caught the monster’s attention and it stopped trying to pull itself through the window and swung its arm towards me. It would have fallen short by several feet, but it extended and caught me by the neck and pulled me into the kitchen and threw me against the fridge.
White hot pain lanced through my injured wrist when I landed on it. I yowled in pain and the monster made some sort of guttural noise and claw more of itself in through the window.
“Helena!” My mother was beside herself. I really didn’t have a clue about what to do either.
The fingers were still circled around my throat, and even though they were brittle and thin as straws, it was still plenty strong, and nothing I could do could pry them off.
“GET OFF OF HER!” Boston leaped out of seemingly nowhere and latched himself onto the monster’s face, trying to claw the nasty, malformed eyes out. The monster started to voice a high pitched scream, and Boston started yowling like an alley cat cornered by a Doberman.
The fingers were still around my neck and were getting tighter, as if ensuring I couldn’t get away while it dealt with Boston. I was having a hard time breathing and my hands were searching for everything and anything that could be used as a weapon.
“LET GO OF HER! I’LL RI P YOUR EYES OUT YOU BAS—”
The sink exploded, taking a little bit of monster with it. The monster was in screeching in pain and swung it’s head so violently that Boston flew off into the hallway, yowling.
I heard the distinct sound of a rifle being cocked and another loud boom. I covered my ears and closed my eyes before the third and fourth ones went off and sat very still even after the fingers slid from my neck and I could breath again.
A hand grabbed my wrist (the uninjured one) and pulled it away from my ear. I opened my eyes and saw Mom with gunk on her dress holding a huge rifle staring back at me, concerned. “Baby, are you okay? We’re all fine now, Mommy killed it, it’s not going to hurt you.” She pulled me in for a hug. “Mommy killed the thing that tried to hurt you.”
I felt like crying. My throat hurt like it had been trapped in a vice. My wrist hurt bad. And I just found out my Mom can shoot a gun. A rifle no less. I didn’t even know she knew what bullets were. And Boston wasn’t here.
“Mom, the cat, did you shoot the—”
“No, baby, I didn’t shoot your little friend. He’s standing next to the doorway, I didn’t hurt him.”
“How did you know Bost—”
“Honey, you can only talk to someone in the attic for so long before your mother figures these things out. I may look like Housekeeper Betty, it doesn’t mean I think like her. Besides, “She sniffled a little and rubbed her nose, “the floors are actually pretty thin, I can hear what you say even when you whisper.”
“Oh.” I looked up at the ceiling. “Uh…what I said up there, uh, about your cooking and stuff…”
“Forget it. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
“Mrs. Harrick? Do you still have a few extra bullets in that gun?” Boston asked timidly from just outside the kitchen.
Mom turned and looked at him. “I have lots of bullets. Why? Are there more outside? Honey, go up to your room—”
“Not outside here. But someone else needs help.” Boston looked at me pointedly.
The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. “Nikki! Mom, we have to drive over to Nikki’s, she got one at her house!”
Mom pulled me up with her as she got up and put the gun into my hands. “Take that out to the car, I’ll get my ammunition and meet you in the car. Hurry up, we don’t want to waste time.”
I ran out to the car in my bare feet, Boston following me a half minute later holding the choker. We both sat in the passenger seat, he on my lap and me buckled in and holding the gun.
Boston flicked his ears back and looked up at me. “Did you know these things about your mother?”
Mom slammed the door holding a box of ammunition in one hand and her keys in the other, running to get into the driver’s side.
“No. No I did not.”