Lullaby

It’s a proven fact that I am a fool.

Not only do I watch horror films in the cinema alone, one eye covered, legs resting on the railing in front of me so they’re not touching the floor, and jumping at even the slightest noise, but I watch horror shorts at night on my tablet while in bed. In the dark.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I suffer from chronic nightmares. Usually, the last thing I read or see before falling asleep manifests itself in my dreams; and while I try my darnedest to visualize a shirtless Gerard Butler prior to dozing off, such is rarely the case. When he does, in fact, make a cameo in my reveries, he’s usually dead, undead, or trying to kill me. And not a romantic and potentially enjoyable sexy vampire suction death, but, instead, an attempted brutal chainsaw dismemberment demise where’s he’s covered in blood with a crazy look upon his face, chasing me through some woods, down a deserted street, or through a cemetery.

It should also be unsurprising that my trepidations are heightened in general, particularly in the dark.

The other night, after a mini marathon of award-winning short horror films, I was finding it difficult to fall asleep. I thought of Gerard riding sheep but that was just too strange and unnerving.

So I lay.

And pondered.

And sighed.

And then heard a strange noise from underneath my bed.

I know exactly what is—or rather, what should be—in that small space: a pair of slippers, a portable safe, and my bamboo back scratcher that somehow always migrates under there when I reach for it in an itchy mid-sleep moment. Save for a rogue dust bunny that escaped from the vacuum last week, there shouldn’t be anything else beneath me.

I held my breath.

And listened.

And then gasped for air because I’m not some Olympic swimmer who can hold her breath for twelve minutes.

Nothing. More nothing. I supposed that should have allayed my increasing fear and permitted me the peace of mind to venture a journey to see Mr. Sandman again, but it didn’t. I know I heard something and I know that I will hear it again. So I waited, staring at the sliver of moonlight sneaking into my bedroom from around the room-darkening shade in my window.

The light reminded me of the crack in the universe in Doctor Who reboot seasons five through seven that represented where two points in time and space that shouldn’t have touched, did, thus creating a wormhole of sorts that let some crazy creatures wreak havoc on Earth and its inhabitants. My shard of light—not unlike the crack—was long and jagged, almost reminiscent of a smile.

A big toothless spooky smile.

I stared at the light, mesmerized, and was almost to the point of sleep when the noise returned. I snapped back into full consciousness and heard it again. It was a scratching sound, like when a heavy piece of furniture is dragged across a wood floor. Since my floor is carpet and my bed frame is metal, I was curious as to what was making this sound.

I fought my urge to cautiously peek over the bed’s edge because I knew if I made it that far, I would invariably lift the dust ruffle to investigate further. Who was I kidding? There was no way in hell that I would move from the center of my bed, comforter to my chin, to even glance over the edge, let alone actually hang my head off the bed, lift the dust ruffle, and actually seek the source of the noise.

I saw Poltergeist with that menacing clown ambushing poor Robbie Freeling and I wasn’t going to potentially succumb to that, especially with my debilitating phobia of clowns.

Scratch. Scratch.

There is was again. What was that?!

Scratch. Scratch.

I summoned every ounce of my bravery and whispered a tentative, “Hello? Who’s there?” Then a bit louder, “Can you hear me? Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Scratch.

“Do you speak English?”

Scratch.

Okay, so I’m assuming that one scratch is yes and two is no.

“Are you friendly?” I continued, curious.

Scratch.

“Are you human?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Are you in my closet?”

Scratch. Scratch.

I was positive now that one scratch was an affirmative, and two, a negative.

“Would you come out so I can see you?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Why not?”

Silence.

“Okay, then, I assume I can only ask you “yes” or “no” questions?”

Scratch.

“Can I do anything to get you to come out from under there?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Are you hungry?” I offered.

Scratch. Scratch.

“Are you thirsty?”

Scratch. Scratch.

I was running out of queries. “Do you need to go to the bathroom?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“You know, you’re scaring me,” I said.

Scratch.

“Well, then stop. Please.”

Scratch. Scratch.

“What do you want?”

Silence.

“Alright, listen. I’m really tired and I can’t sleep because you’ve scared me half to death. Is that what you want? To scare me to death?” I cried.

Scratch. Scratch.

“Will you be quiet so I can go to sleep?”

Scratch. Scratch.

Ugh.

“Aren’t you tired?”

Scratch.

“Well, then, go to sleep. And let me do the same.”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Oh good lord,” I sighed. “Can I get you a cup of warm milk?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“How about a nice big sleeping pill?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“A blanket?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Pillow?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Do you want me to sing you a lullaby?” I blurted, jokingly.

Scratch.

Seriously?

“So, if I sing you a lullaby, you’ll go to sleep, stop scratching, let me sleep, and not kill me?”

Scratch.

“Will you leave when you wake up?”

Scratch. Scratch.

“Is this going to be an every night occurrence?”

Scratch.

“Don’t you need to eat? Where will you find food?” I asked, fully aware that the second was an open-ended question.

Scratch. Scratch.

“You don’t require food?” I asked, incredulously.

Scratch. Scratch.

“Have you been under my bed for a long time?”

Scratch.

“Are you the one causing my nightmares?”

Scratch.

“If I sing to you every night, will you make them stop?”

Scratch.

“Alrighty, then. You’ve got a deal.”

Scratch.

After an off-key rendition of Brahms’ Lullaby, I whispered, “Good night,” to the monster under my bed.

Scratch.

For the first time in years, I slept through the night with only pleasant dreams.

Of Gerard Butler.

What are the chances
The monster under my bed
Would sing me to sleep?

~ Natalie Faulk
“If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…” (from Whimsy and Mayhem (2016))

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s