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One Shot: Midnight Madness

When the clock strikes for midnight, the madness begins.
For some reason, Red, my nine-year-old son had stopped talking to me. Whenever I approached him, he always seemed eager to leave the room and hide away in his own little corner. I had no idea why he was acting so strange. I could only assume that something was happening to him at school.

Usually, at times like this, I'd talk to Charles. He would offer some form of logical explanation and calm me down. However, he hadn't been answering my calls or texts and I hadn't seen him for an entire week now. It was like he suddenly disappeared from my life! Charles and I had something genuine - or so I thought. I'd finally met a good guy in my life for once, but now he was ignoring me for whatever reason.

My son, my boyfriend... The two most important guys in my life, but they were pushing me away. Naturally, I felt so confused and distressed. I'd been calling up Charles' workplace, but even they claimed they had no idea where he was. I didn't know if this is a prank. Was he telling them to lie about his whereabouts? Or had he really been skipping work?

He seemed so normal the last time we talked. We were cuddling in bed, after tucking Red in his own bed. We watched television for a bit and Charles attempted to impersonate the people on the telly. His impressions were terrible, but that's what made me laugh twice as hard. This was my favorite time to snuggle up next to him and relax together after a long stressful day. We hadn't fought at all and he looked so content. So, I had no idea why he vanished the next morning.

I'd also been calling up Red's school, checking up on his progress in class. According to his teachers, he seemed fine in the classroom. They hadn't noticed any changes in his behavior. However, one teacher noted that he didn't look forward to home time - the time of day when school finished and I had to come and pick him up. That's when I felt my stomach swirl. Red didn't want anything to do with me.

Now it's late at night and I'm troubled by my thoughts. I'm worried about Charles' disappearance. I've called up his family members, but no one seems to know where he is. I've checked his social medias but he hadn't come online since that morning he took off. I had even received a message by Jake Fisher, Charles' best friend, asking me if I knew where my boyfriend was. This was only fueling the anxiety within me.

In this moment, I needed someone to hug and comfort me. So, I went to my son's bedroom, expecting to see him tucked in his bed, but there was no sign of him anywhere! I swear, I was on the verge of having a panic attack, had it not been for the sound of keys jingling downstairs.

Hastily, I rush down the stairs, only to see my son fumbling with the keys on the lock, attempting to open the front door.

"What are you doing?" I demand. "How did you get my keys?"

His little body jumps and he backs against the door, his eyes wide open when he sees me. He looks so scared.

"N-nothing," he squeaks.

"Clearly something is up," I say, crossing my arms. I walk towards him but he's backing away against the corner of the wall. I pause in my steps.

"Sweetie, you don't have to be scared," I say, softening my tone.

"Please, tell me why you were trying to leave the house during this time of the night."

"B-because..." He stutters, looking down.

"Because...?"

He shakes his head and it seems like he wants to retract his statement, refusing to communicate further.

"I'm sorry, I'll go to bed!" He says, as he tries to dash past me. Quickly, I grab his little wrist and hold him in place. He winces from my touch, like I was hurting him. I loosen my grip.

"Please tell me what's going on, honey," I say, as gently as I can, yet desperation seeps through my tone. "Please, baby, I'm so sad... Charles is gone and I don't want you to leave me too... I don't want to be lonely. Do you want Mommy to be lonely?"

Red shakes his head softly, and tears roll down his cheeks. I wipe them away with my finger.

"Please talk to me," I urge.

"Promise you won't get mad?" He asks, looking up at me with his cute, beady eyes before averting his gaze.

"Of course, I won't... I promise."

That's when he told me everything.

**************************************************************************************

Red's Point of View

It all began when I woke up to a loud bang that sounded like it was coming from the kitchen. I looked at my alarm clock: 12:15 am.

I crept downstairs with my teddy bear in my hand. The kitchen door was open slightly and I could see that the light was on.

I could hear the clattering of pots and pans. So, I went closer to the door and pushed it open. In front of me, there was Mommy, sitting on the floor, banging a pan against her head, again and again.

I asked her what she was doing. Then she snapped her head towards me and she looked at me with her big, white eyes. Those eyes scared me in the night. She let out a loud screech that sounded like a pterodactyl, and she skittered towards me with her arms and legs.

I dropped my teddy bear and ran up the stairs and hid behind the banisters. I peeked through the bars and I saw her grab my teddy bear and she skittered back inside the kitchen, slamming the door shut.

The next morning, I found my teddy bear's head tossed away on the kitchen floor. I couldn't find his body anywhere.

Later that night, I woke up to footsteps walking around the house. I looked at the alarm clock, 12:05 am. I got out of bed, trying not to make any noises, and I tiptoed out of my room. I stood at the top of the stairs. I could see Mommy from where I was standing. She was looking at the front door, her back faced towards me. She kept whispering something. I listened very closely and I could hear, "Red, Charles, Red, Charles," over and over.

Then she stopped.

Slowly, she turned her head towards me.

She threw her head back and laughed.

"I guess it'll be you, Red!" She yelled.

Then she ran after me.

It happened so quickly. She was moving so fast! I ran back to my bedroom, barely escaping her fingertips, and I locked the door. She was banging her fists against the door and I think she was even kicking the door! She kept pounding on it for what felt like forever. It was getting louder and louder. Then silence. I heard something clink against the floor, followed by the sound of her footsteps walking away.

The next morning, I saw a knife outside my door.

I couldn't sleep when it was nighttime. It was always... when the clock struck for midnight that her bed would creak, and she'd be up and about. I locked my door at all times, but she would still scratch at my door, trying to get in. I was scared that she would break it down one day. Sometimes, I would hear her footsteps running around the house. She would always tell me off for doing that, but there she was, running up and down the stairs.

Once, I heard Charles shouting at Mommy. His angry voice scared me. And then I heard Mommy cackling with laughter, and that scared me more. Then there were loud bangs and the sounds of things breaking and furniture moving. Mommy wouldn't stop laughing. I couldn't hear Charles anymore. Outside, the gate creaked open and I looked out of my window. I saw Mommy dragging his body out in the garden, while holding a shovel in one hand.

He wasn't moving or fighting back anymore. I watched her hide him in the dirt.

Then she tilted her head up, looking at me.

And she smiled.

And laughed.

And she ran inside the house.

Running for me.

I hid under my bed.

************************************************************************************

After hearing Red's explanation, I had to sit down on the couch. I felt dizzy and sick to my stomach. This didn't sound anything like me at all. I have no recollections of those nights.

Then again, I know my son wouldn't lie to me. I know that whenever he looked at me, there was genuine fear in his eyes. And his story would explain why Charles had appeared to vanish from the face of this earth.

"Oh, sweetie! I'm so sorry!" I say, crying into my hands. "I'm such a terrible mother! I don't know what got over me... You have to believe me! I'd never want to do anything to hurt you... Or Charles. I love you both so much. I don't know what's gotten over me."

"M-mommy... w-why did you act that way?"

"I don't know," I croak. "There's something wrong with me. I'll get it fixed, I promise. I'll go to the doctors first thing in the morning. But you know that Mommy loves you to death, right? You know Mommy will never intentionally hurt you, right? You're my special little boy... please don't leave me."

"I won't leave you," he says, moving closer to me. "I love you, Mommy."

"I love you more, baby."

He hugs me, which is exactly what I need in my vulnerable state. I pick him up and scoop him into my arms, hugging him like I'll never let him go. We're both crying our hearts out. I'm crying because I can't believe that I was the one causing him pain and misery this entire time. He's crying because the poor thing must be so confused right now. I'm just as confused. What was happening to me? It was like something else was controlling me...

Then a realization struck me. Two weeks ago, I had been playing with a Ouija board with my friends during a Halloween party. At the time, we were doing it for a cheap thrill and laugh. Personally, I didn't think we could communicate with spirits through a flat piece of board. The board piece, or the planchette as Molly called it, was moving around a lot, spelling out bizarre things. I thought one of my friends was behind it, trying to scare us for fun.

Soon, I got bored and I took my fingers off the planchette. Molly had a problem with this, claiming that if I didn't say goodbye to the board properly, that apparently a spirit will attach themselves to me. Again, I didn't think she was serious, and that it was all a part of the Halloween spook fest. Throughout the night, my other friend, Rachel kept insisting that she had a bad feeling, sensing the presence of a 'negative entity'. I thought she drank too much, and she was scaring herself silly.

Now, I'm having second thoughts...

The grandfather clock strikes for midnight. I'm still hugging my son and something makes me hold on to him tighter. His little body tenses in my hold as he whispers, "Mommy? I don't want to die..."

There's a pain in my heart. I want to reassure him... to protect him. But I can feel myself getting sleepy and something else taking over me... Something evil.
By
Published: 12/4/2018
Bouquets and Brickbats