Near the end of our time at Lot 22 the activity had escalated to a point of suffering. I never knew what I was coming home to. I couldn’t be in a room alone. I was fourteen and still sleeping in my mom’s bed because I was too scared to sleep by myself. I wanted my independence more than anything but it came with a price here, and I was rarely in the mood to sacrifice my security for alone time.
It wasn’t just happening at the house either. It was when we were out driving. I saw a man pushing a bike along the side of the road, glanced away, looked back and he was gone. The girl in the backseat of my mom’s Explorer. Saw her through the window, acted like I didn’t. It was enough. I was losing my mind, and I was so tired of being afraid. This…this was the last straw.
There was a man in our house that wasn’t supposed to be there. He was a heavy guy with almost no hair at all. There were little strands at the back of his head, the rest was bald. He walked in the front door in his boots and a shirt tucked into blue jeans and went to the kitchen. All the lights were off, but the moonlight was glowing in on him. I was watching from the gold-stripped line separating the kitchen from the Blueroom. This stranger washed his hands in our sink. There wasn’t blood on his hands, they were just dirty. And he wasn’t evil. He was acting as though he were coming home from work. Only this wasn’t his home. It was mine now.
I woke up fast. It was just a dream. Thank God.
Summer vacation meant I got to wake up when it was sunny outside. School mornings started so early that not even the sun was ready to get out of bed yet. (I didn’t blame the sun for sleeping in. Especially if its blankets were as warm as mine.) Summer vacation also meant I could go back to sleep. I dozed off for a few more hours, but woke to find out it had only really been ten minutes. That was probably for the best. I didn’t want to waste any time on this vacation sleeping when I could be writing. Plus, we had pop tarts for breakfast. Something about knowing there was other stuff to eat for breakfast than cereal made getting out of bed worth it.
I went to the restroom and headed downstairs. Mom was at work and Sal hadn’t come home for a couple months now. I don’t know where he is, but Mom’s not worried about him so I’m not either.
Brandy, Ari and Sara were in the Woodroom watching TV. When I looked through the window above the sink, I realized Brandy was sleeping on the couch. I hated seeing her sleeping all the time. That was no way for anyone to live.
I decided to eat my breakfast upstairs, and because it was a beautiful sunny day, I wanted to enjoy it while I wrote. Sucks being a writer sometimes because you have to choose where the safest place to share your ideas is. I can’t write in front of my family sometimes because I feel naked, like even though they don’t care about what I’m doing, they’re secretly watching me and reading my thoughts and they know what I’m writing. So I have to write places where I’m alone, and most of the time, indoors because there aren’t any sockets for my charger outside and my laptop battery doesn’t last very long.
When I sit on my mom’s bed with her window open, the way the sunlight and wind come in makes me feel like I’m outside.
“Oh hey guys!” I called down through the window as Sara and Ari came outside.
“Come out with us, Danny!”
“No thanks. I’m gonna be up here writing.”
“Why did I even ask?” Sara said.
I shrugged and laughed.
Brandy came out last, yawning like she was still half-asleep. Most of the time it looked like she really was just sleepwalking.
I got all settled on the bed, ready to spend a hundred pages worth of time with my characters. I never really get a chance to write a hundred pages, that’s just how long it feels like I spend with them all day.
Someone was watching me. The window wasn’t level with the bed, so it couldn’t be my sisters or niece. So who? I glanced around the room, unable to see anything with my naked eye or my third eye. But I could feel them watching because I couldn’t write while they were snooping on me. It was distracting.
And there it was. In the small TV at the end of the bed, I saw something dark crouched in the corner on the left side of the bed opposite of me. I knew it was a little boy sitting there. I don’t know how I knew it, but when I saw him this picture came to mind of him sitting on his butt with his knees folded up and his hands around him. Then he stood up.
I could feel tears burning my eyes as I stared. He was solid black without any features. Just a black shadow standing in the TV.
He started walking toward the end of the bed, and all I could think was that if he came closer to the TV, I would see his face and I would never forget it. And if he came around the bed, he would get me. So I screamed. As loud as I could, I screamed and ran as fast as I could all the way downstairs and outside.
“Danny, what is it? What?” Brandy demanded when she had a hold of me.
I was crying now. I wasn’t even embarrassed because anyone who saw that would have been scared enough to cry too. “I saw a little boy in Mom’s TV! He was sitting in the corner and then he started walking toward her closet.”
Brandy hugged me. And so did Sara and Ari.
When Mom got home, she wasn’t happy that I was upset again. She wasn’t angry at me, she was just angry that this was happening so often.
“Dammit. That’s it. We’ve gotta call a team,” she said. “I’ll start looking today. We’ll all camp out here in the Blueroom tonight.”