Dear Aunt Nelly,
Everyone around me thinks I'm crazy. I need your help.
Basically, I received the Oxtorn Dictionary book on my sixteenth birthday from my maternal grandma who lives overseas. It's quite heavy with 500 pages and it looks completely brand new and glossy. Usually my grandma gives me cool presents, but a lame dictionary - really?
I was gutted, so I chucked the book under my bed carelessly. I forgot all about it for a while. However, I did notice something weird after receiving this dictionary. Every night at 3 am, I woke up to hear the soft cry of a baby.
You see, the walls in my house are super thin, so noise travels around quickly and it can be heard from every room. I assumed the noise was coming from the neighbors'. Still, it annoyed me that I woke up at precisely 3 am every night. Perhaps I was just getting used to the cry and my body was anticipating it? I don't know.
I usually went back to sleep, thinking nothing of it the next morning. Gradually, the soft cry became louder and more unbearable for me in the night. I tossed and I turned. I honestly felt like I didn't want children for this very reason! The cry was so distinctly loud that I remember feeling like it was in the room with me.
That thought, alone, sent chills down my spine and I couldn't get back to sleep. After that horrendous night, I got earmuffs. I was finally able to sleep well.
Shortly after, the Internet crashed. I had homework that needed to be done. There was a word that I stumbled across and I couldn't look it up online. Remembering that dictionary, I looked under my bed.
And you won't believe what I pulled out from under that dusty bed.
I'm not lying, Aunt Nellie. I held the small, chubby baby in my hand. It wasn't wearing any clothes and it had a diaper on. Its cheeks were puffy and pink. It was looking at me, blinking with its big, bright-blue eyes, framed by its long eyelashes. It almost looked like a doll. I could feel my heart sink and a horrible sensation in my stomach.
How long had it been under my bed?
Well, I've been hearing a baby cry for two weeks straight now. But it can't be this baby, right? Of course not! It would've surely died by now! No. This is a dream. This doesn't make sense. I will wake up any second now.
But this was my waking life. And I was actually holding a living, breathing baby that was somehow under my bed. Looking at its face, I couldn't even begin to recognize whose baby this was. I felt panic rise within me. Was I framed? Did someone kidnap this baby and hid it under my bed? What if this was a missing baby and the police arrest me, thinking I've kept it hostage?
I didn't know what to do. Then the baby cried softly. Exactly like the noise I've been hearing at 3 am. I shook my head. No, it can't be. That's impossible. Besides, babies sound the same... right?
Quickly, I carried the baby downstairs and poured milk into a glass. I set the baby down on the kitchen counter and fed it, assuming that it was hungry. Nobody was home yet. Dad was at work and Mom was grocery shopping. I didn't know what to do this baby. It made me uncomfortable with the way it constantly stared at me with its big, blue eyes. I paced back and forth, trying to call Mom. As I did so, I could feel its eyes following me.
Mom didn't answer her phone, but I could hear the keys in the door. She was home! Hastily, I ran over to her and I told her that I found a baby under my bed. She staggered in, holding multiple bags of groceries. I could tell she didn't believe me, or even cared enough to listen properly. So, I grabbed her arm and dragged her into the kitchen, stopping in front of the counter.
Looking ahead, there wasn't a baby there. No. In its place was the Oxtorn Dictionary, its cover sparkling under the sunlight streaming through the window.
"But... I swear there was a baby right there!" I persisted, absolutely baffled.
Mom seemed to care more about the milk that was dripping onto the floor. "Look at the mess you made!" She scowled at me. I tried to explain that I was feeding the baby, but she wouldn't listen. She was annoyed and told me to clean up the mess.
I was beginning to doubt myself then. Was it just my imagination or what? The thing is, I can differentiate between reality and imaginary. I know that I physically held the baby in my hands. I know that I heard it cry. I know all of this, but still I couldn't help but doubt myself.
I carried the dictionary back into my room and threw it on my bed. I tried to clear my mind. Looking under my bed, I attempted to investigate. There were shoes under there, spider webs, and dust mites that made me sneeze. Then I heard a new noise.
My blood froze. I looked up and, right there, sitting on my bed was the baby. No dictionary in sight. I rubbed my eyes. I pinched myself. No, it was definitely there, staring back at me with those wide, blue eyes. Even though it was giggling in an innocent way, I felt fear clenching my heart. This wasn't an ordinary baby.
"Mom!" I practically yelled for her, over and over. She must've thought I was dying, as she ran in the room. She asked me what my problem was and I pointed at my bed. The dictionary was there. No baby in sight. Mom looked pissed off with me, thinking I'm playing a joke on her.
To make a long story short, it became a repetitive cycle. It became clear to me overtime that the baby could transform into a dictionary book, as crazy as that sounds. That's the only explanation for it. Multiple times I would try to show the baby to my parents, but it would always turn into a goddamn book. I was, of course, getting frustrated because my parents thought I was insane.
At first they thought it was a practical joke I was trying to play on them, which doesn't make sense, since I'm not the type of person to joke around in the first place! Still, they must've caught on that I was serious. When they realized this, they've booked me an appointment with a therapist. I've tried to explain to the therapist, hoping to get her to understand, but she tried to convince me that I was mental and that I needed to take medications.
No, I'm not crazy! Nobody believes me. Not even my friends, who I thought would have my back. When they heard about this dictionary baby, they burst out laughing. Please, you're the only one that I can count on, Aunt Nellie. Please believe me. I need someone to believe me.
I tried to get rid of the dictionary, but Mom screamed at me, telling me that it's a special gift from my grandma and I must be grateful for it. She decided to take the dictionary from me and store it in the living-room bookshelf. However, at 3am, I would hear the baby crying from downstairs. It was crying loudly.
I couldn't find my earmuffs anywhere. The noise tormented me, like the baby kept crying louder and louder, as if it was being tortured somehow. It terrified me to the core, especially this late at night to hear such a noise! I wondered how my parents slept peacefully through it all. How did they not hear this?
I decided to wake them up, so they could hear the noise for themselves. As I got up and walked out of my bedroom, I stopped in my tracks. Climbing up the stairs was the baby, its bright-blue eyes sparkling with fresh tears, while it looked directly at me. I was frozen in fear. This was the first time that I saw it move on its own. It crawled towards me, its wide eyes glued to me. It wasn't crying, but it was whimpering softly.
The closer it got to me, the more sick I felt. It made me question my sanity and reality. Was I really crazy? Was everyone else right? Why was my mind playing tricks on me?
I slumped to the ground and sat down. The baby was so close now, an arm's length away. Shakily, I reached out and gripped my hands around its bare, chubby arms. It felt so cold to the touch. As cold as an icicle. I pulled it to my lap and wrapped my arms around it, hoping to warm the freezing baby. It didn't smell like anything. It never did.
In that moment, I knew I could run into my parents' room, wake them up and show them it. But it will always turn into a dictionary book.
I think this baby is making me crazy. I say this because, one day, it was screaming its head off. I wondered how its little lungs didn't burst yet! The noise was awful, it was giving me a headache. I couldn't concentrate on my homework. I couldn't even concentrate in school properly because of this goddamn baby. It tormented my mind.
Now it was just tormenting my ears. It was crying louder and louder. I didn't know how to shut it up. I tried to feed it. No result. I tried to rock it in my arms. No result. I tried to sing a lullaby. No result. In fact, my efforts appeared to distress it more. Louder and louder it would cry.
I'm ashamed to say what I did next. Please forgive me, Aunt Nellie. I wasn't in the best mindset.
I opened my bedroom window and I threw the baby out.
I watched in horror as its little body fell, down and down. In that moment, I knew I couldn't trust myself around babies anymore. I knew I couldn't have my own. Not when I lost my mind like this. Then I watched it land on the ground in the form of a dictionary book.
For a split second, I was disappointed that it didn't die if I'm being truly honest with you.
It returned to its baby form. Sitting down with its head tilted all the way back, it looked up at me. It was no longer crying. It had a strange expression across its little face. Its features were almost contorted, as it looked angry. Furious. Its eyes that were usually blue were now glowing bright-red. The way it looked at me, like it wanted to kill me, caused me to duck from its view.
I hid myself in my bedroom all day, until I heard a knock. Opening the door, I see it's Mom looking annoyed. She's waving something in her hand. The dictionary book.
I can't take it anymore, Aunt Nellie! Despite what Mom said, I've tried to get rid of the book. I've tried to bin it, bury it, and I even burnt it! But nothing works. The baby comes back, unharmed, and its dictionary form still looks brand new and untouched.
It looks angrier every time.
It's getting closer to me.
Even as I type this, I can hear it crying. I've locked my bedroom door, but that won't stop it for long.
Please, please help me, Aunt Nellie. I don't know what to do.