Things that go bump in the morning
Things That Go Bump in the Morning
by Jenna Moquin
With a yawn, Melanie started to wake up. She’d been dreaming about her honeymoon in La Jolla, the sun streaming onto her back. When she realized it was the sun seeping in through the blinds she yawned again with a stretch. That was when she felt something small and furry moving up her spine.
“There’s something on my back!” She shouted. “Get it off! What is it?”
“Mel,” Glen said as he got out of bed. “There’s nothing there.”
His wife had vivid dreams, and sometimes talked in her sleep. One time she was dreaming about falling off a cliff, and woke up screaming as she fell to the floor, and bumped her head.
“I can feel it, something is crawling on me! Is it a mouse?”
When they first moved into The Belmont, Glen found a mouse in the kitchen. They hadn’t seen another since they had the exterminator over, but Melanie was still worried about them. She wanted to move as soon as their lease was up.
“Baby,” Glen said. “I think you’re still dreaming, because there’s nothing on your back.”
Melanie sniffed and pushed herself up with her elbows. As soon as she did she screamed, and that’s when Glen did see something on her back, small drops of blood.
He reached down to check the wounds, and his hand took hold of something furry with lots of tentacles. It writhed in his grip, but he saw nothing in his hand. He felt a sharp pain, and blood oozed out of tiny marks on his finger. He threw the invisible creature against the wall and heard a soft thud.
“What is it?” Melanie grabbed a t-shirt and pressed it against her back.
For once he didn’t have an answer for her. Usually he was Mr. Fix-It, with everything from a broken taillight to a computer crash, he had an explanation and solution for every problem. Glen stared at his wife with a look she’d never seen before.
“It’s on me!” Melanie shook her leg as drops of blood appeared on her ankle. Glen reached down and grabbed the creature. He held it while he tried to figure out where its teeth were.
He found them when another sharp pain stung his hand, and he slammed the creature into the wall above the laundry basket. His hand was roughly four inches away from the wall.
He tried to ignore the squeamish feeling in his stomach as it writhed in his hand, its tentacles wrapping around his fingers.
Melanie pulled on a large parka from the closet, and then a pair of ski pants. She found Glen’s ski clothes behind his trench coat, and carried them over to him.
“Thanks, but I’m afraid to let go of this thing.”
“At least put on the pants, they’ll help block its teeth.”
Melanie helped him shimmy into the ski pants. There was still a tear in the seam from their trip to Nashoba Valley last winter that she kept forgetting to mend.
“What are we going to do? And why can’t we see it?”
“I’m going to kill it, like I would any other pest.” He didn’t bother trying to guess her second question. He focused on the one solution he had.
“Bring me a large screwdriver,” Glen said. “Or a butcher knife.”
Melanie scurried out of the bedroom, happy to have a chore to focus on as she tried not to think about what this creature was, and why they couldn’t see it. She hoped she was still dreaming, because her mind couldn’t get around it. She ransacked the kitchen drawers until she found a knife and rushed back to the bedroom.
“Hurry up! I can’t hold this thing much longer.”
Melanie handed him the knife.
“Glen, why can’t we see it?”
“We’ll worry about that later. Let’s just get rid of it.”
He steadied his grip on the creature, and held the knife with the blade pointed toward the wall. He breathed through his nose and relaxed his shoulders.
Glen gripped the knife, and stabbed it through the creature and into the wall. He felt around the blade, and there was fur attached to a slack mass.
A gelatinous liquid he couldn’t see oozed through his fingers. Glen felt satisfied that it was dead. He wiped his hands on a towel and went over to Melanie.
“Baby, it’s over. I killed it.”
She looked up to where he pointed at the wall, and saw nothing but the knife sticking out.
“You killed it?”
“Yeah, now what do we do with it?”
“I think we should see a doctor about these bites.”
Glen couldn’t decide if he should call animal control or NASA. It was invisible, but they could feel it, especially when it bit them. Their wounds were proof.
But when he glanced down at his hand he didn’t see anything. No blood, no bite marks, nothing. He asked Melanie to remove her parka so he could check her back, and those wounds were gone as well.
“What’s wrong? Are the bites worse?”
“Um, no. They’re just gone...do yours still hurt?”
Melanie was surprised to realize that she hadn’t felt any pain in a while. She’d been too preoccupied to notice. Her eyes widened as she looked at the knife in the wall.
“Was that real? Did it really happen?”
Glen walked over to the knife and touched the area around it, and felt nothing but cracked plaster.
“I don’t believe it!”
“There’s nothing there. Just the knife. But I felt this stuff ooze out of it. Did it disintegrate when I stabbed it? Turn into dust like a vampire?”
Glen chuckled, but he didn’t feel very humorous.
Melanie stared at the wall, and wondered if it was all a dream, the most horribly vivid dream she’d ever had. Maybe any moment she’d wake up to Glen snuggling against her back asking if she was in the mood before coffee that morning.
She closed her eyes and urged herself to wake up. She told herself that when she opened them, she’d be back in bed beside her husband. But when she opened her eyes, Glen was still staring at the wall as if it held all the answers to what had happened to them that morning.
Melanie sighed and looked down, and saw a small bump in the carpet that crept toward her.
“Glen, I think that’s it!” She pointed at the bump, whose movement quickened.
“Is that the same one, or are there more of them?” Glen shouted.
He rushed over and stomped on it with his foot, but it moved too fast and he missed it by an inch. He stomped again, but it disappeared. He felt like he was playing Whack-A-Mole at the carnival. Melanie picked up a hardcover book and threw it on the bump.
“Did I get it?”
They both scanned the floor, looking for movement. Glen picked up the book and peered at the carpet. He pressed down, but didn’t feel anything. Melanie looked up and saw movement out of the corner of her eye.
“There!” She pointed.
A bump was near the door where the bedroom carpet ended. The bump vanished, and through the open door, Melanie saw the bump reappear in the hallway carpet heading toward the kitchen. She ran after it trying to stomp it, but it kept dodging her feet.
Glen ran ahead of her into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He stood with his feet planted on the linoleum and waited at the entrance of the kitchen where the hallway carpet ended. He watched the bump move to the edge of the carpet.
The carpet inched upward and then fell flat, and he stabbed the floor next to it. He kept stabbing the knife around the same radius of a few inches and scratched the floor in several places before he gave up. Panting and sweating, he looked at Melanie, who had grabbed a knife of her own.
“I haven’t seen the bump again, I think you got it!” She smiled.
“Yeah, well, I thought I got it before so I’m not getting my hopes up.”
Melanie reached out with her free hand and stroked Glen’s back. He leaned down and nestled his nose in her neck, and breathed that scent he loved.
In the mornings she wafted this mixture of wet roses and baby powder, he’d always found it intoxicating. She kissed his chin, and he kissed her lips. He wanted to pick her up and carry her to the bedroom, and try to pretend the morning had just begun when her back arched and she gasped in pain.
Glen swiveled her around and saw blood on her lower back. He reached down and caught the creature in his hand.
He threw it to the floor and grasped it while he jabbed the knife through. Again he felt thick liquid ooze out, but he didn’t let go. After a few seconds, he didn’t feel anything at all.
The creature had disappeared, and with a groan Glen stabbed the floor. It was infuriating trying to find something he couldn’t see, and he didn’t want to wait for one of them to get bitten again to find it.
If there was an infestation of invisible creatures, he wasn’t quite sure how to explain these pests to the exterminator. And if it was the same creature continually coming back to life, that was even scarier.
“There!” Melanie pointed at the hallway carpet with the knife, where another bump had appeared.
She chased it down the hallway and stabbed at it but kept missing. She didn’t care about the repairs they’d have to do in the coming weeks. She just wanted all of this to be over.
Glen ran ahead to the carpet’s edge by the bedroom door. He crouched and held the knife. When the bump in the carpet got closer, he stabbed the floor. He touched around the tip of the knife with his fingers, but didn’t feel anything. Then he felt it on his chest, crawling upward.
“It’s on me!”
“I can’t stab you!” Melanie said with a pout. Glen grabbed the creature from his chest and didn’t even wince when it bit his palm.
“Let’s try to burn it this time—turn on the oven.”
Before they could try their new plan, Glen felt the creature disappear from his hand. He didn’t know if it fell to the floor, flew away or if it could teleport.
The fact that they couldn’t see it was making him lean toward teleporting, but that was something that happened in sci-fi movies, not real life. The sort of thing he’d see on the old Twilight Zone shows he used to watch with his dad. Glen cursed and kicked the dresser, then cursed again at his stubbed toe.
Melanie screamed and fell to the floor. Blood appeared in tiny drops all over her. She screamed and squirmed and Glen, who didn’t normally cry, began to sob.
Through the blur of his tears, he saw something on Melanie’s torso. It had silver fur and a dozen tentacles and beady red eyes. It looked like a cross between a spider and a bat, and just as creepy as something like that would look.
He could finally see the creature, and see where its head was. He gripped the knife and brought it down, but the second the tip of the knife grazed its fur it disappeared again, and the knife went into Melanie’s chest.
Blood poured out and her eyes widened as she looked at Glen, who stared at her with tears streaming down his face.
“What…what did I…?”
He stammered and reached for the handle of the knife.
“Don’t!” Melanie’s voice was growing hoarse. “Don’t take it out. Call 911!”
Glen started to rise when the creature crawled up his leg and bit him all over. He fell to his knees beside her, swatting at the creature.
Melanie saw drops of blood appear on his stomach and chest, and then she saw a silvery flash. She blinked and looked again, and saw the creature crawling up Glen’s shoulder. She watched it bite into his neck so deeply blood spurted out, making him fall over.
Melanie didn’t realize she was still holding up the knife. When Glen fell, it went into his stomach.
She stared into his eyes, and he stared back at her, looking so frightened she just wanted to comfort him. A bloody cough was all that came out when she tried to tell Glen she loved him.
She reached out and took his hand and squeezed it, faintly. He squeezed back and they closed their eyes as the blood pooled around them. Soon the world around them swam into blurred shapes and colors, and then pure darkness.
Three days later, the superintendent unlocked the door to number twenty-two at The Belmont, with Melanie’s sister behind him. The scent inside the apartment swarmed at them, as if it had been waiting for that door to open just so it could run out and let loose in the hallway.
They covered their noses and coughed before they walked inside. A couple of flies were swatted at, and they headed toward the bedroom at the end of the hall, where the smell was strongest.
The superintendent eased the door open, and dozens of flies buzzed around the room.
On the floor were the bodies of Glen and Melanie Wapenski. Melanie had a knife sticking out of her chest, Glen beside her with a knife in his stomach. A larger knife was stuck inside the wall above the laundry basket.
Melanie’s sister screamed. She fell to her knees, wailing as a fly flew into her mouth, and then flew out. She ran into the bathroom and vomited. The superintendent left to call the medical examiner, and to find a can of bug spray.
The police arrived, and after searching they seemed confident it was a simultaneous homicide, or a murder-suicide, no matter how much Melanie’s sister insisted they were a happy couple.
She was convinced someone had broken in and killed them, even though there wasn’t any evidence of a break-in and nothing appeared stolen. The scratches on the floor and tears in the carpet only seemed to back up the detective’s theory that a violent fight had taken place before they killed each other.
Several other residents in the building had gathered around apartment twenty-two to see what was going on, and what the smell had been.
A small bump appeared in the hallway carpet leading to the stairs, but nobody noticed through the commotion.
The bump in the carpet reached the entrance door to The Belmont, and then disappeared. Later that morning, in an apartment two blocks away, a woman screamed.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Jenna MoquinWrite a Review