So To Bed

Entry by: Tauren

2nd December 2016
“Okay young lady,” Matt said, clapping his hands together, “time for bed.”
Emily looked up from her book, “But dad…”
"No buts,” he said, “It`s way past your bedtime, come on now scoot.”

She appealed to her mother, “Muum?” But there was no help there, “Do as your father says.” Martha said, without looking around as she unscrewed the cap off a bottle of wine.

Shoulders slumped; Emily, book in hand trudged down the short hall to the bathroom, casting a “G`night,” over her shoulder as she went.

“Does she seem a little off to you?” Matt asked as his wife handed him a nearly full wine glass.
“Hhmmm?” was Martha’s only reply as she carried her own glass to the sofa.
“She seemed a little distracted today don’t you think?” he persisted.
“She`s nearly ten,” Martha said, “I was the same at her age, probably mooning over some boyband or other, it`ll pass.

From down the hall came a sudden alarmed cry of “Daddy!!”
Matt put his glass down on the table and hurried towards his daughters room, Emily was standing in the hallway just outside her bedroom door, an anxious look on her face, his first thought was, she`s seen a mouse; “what is it honey?” he asked.

Emily pointed into the room, “Will you close my curtains for me?”
His brow wrinkled into confusion, “Close your curtains?” He said, staring into the well lit room at the picture window.
“Yes” she said, “Pleeeaase?”

Mildly exasperated, Matt went to the window, the cloudy night beyond turning the night nearly pitch black and glass into a perfect mirror, in which he saw his daughter biting her lower lip as she watched him. “It`s a little warm in here,” he said, do you want me to open a window?”
Her near panicked shriek of “NO!!” as he reached for the handle stunned him, “Honey what`s wrong?” he asked pulling his hand back.
“No don’t,” she said, “They`ll be able to get in if you do.”
“Who`ll be able to get in?” he asked, frowning as he swished the curtains shut.
“The people in the lake,” she said, pausing as she climbed into bed. “They come out at night and call to me, they want me to let them in, but I won`t.”

Matt sat on the edge of the bed tucking her in, “What people,” he asked.
“They tap on the window,” she said, “When you`re asleep. It wakes me up.”
He smiled at her, “That’s just moths,” he said, “They flutter their wings against the glass, that’s all you`re hearing.”
“No daddy,” she said grabbing his arm, “they have pretty singsong voices, but I know they are ugly inside, I just know they are; they want to hurt me. Can we go home, pleeease? I don’t like it here.”
“But we only got here two days ago,” Matt said, his eyes drifting to the nightstand and the book she`d been reading. “You`ve been having bad dreams, that’s all.” He picked up the open book, “Perhaps these books are a little too old for you yet,” he said, creasing one corner of the page to hold her place. “No more mister Stine for you for a while,” he told her as he bent down, planting a kiss on her forehead.

“But daaad…”
“No buts,” he said as he moved towards the door, “Now go to sleep.”
“Don`t turn off the light,” she said, her voice high and tight as he reached for the switch.
He paused considered for a moment, then said, “Alright; but go to sleep, okay.”
"Okay," she said, scrunching down into the blankets.

“What was all that about?” Martha asked when he returned to the kitchen cum living room.
“Oh she`s been having nightmares,” he said, waving the Goosebumps book at her before dropping it in a drawer, “says there`s people living in the lake, that they want to take her away. I`ll say this for her she`s got some imagination.” He picked up his glass and took a sip, staring at the patio doors that led onto the decking.

“Well she is a city girl,” Martha said, “this is her first time in the country, all this peace and quiet, she`s not used to it. By the end of the week she won`t want to go home.”

“Hhhmmm,” said Matt distractedly. He put his glass down and went to the glass door, peering out into the inky blackness, then pressing his forehead against the glass he cupped his hands around his face.

“Hhmm?” Martha responded without looking up from her book.
“Do we have fireflies?”
This made her look at him, “What?”
“Fireflies,” he repeated without dropping his hands, “have you ever seen fireflies in Ireland?”
“What are you talking about?”

Now he looked at her, “Out there on the lake, there`s glowing things on the water, like fireflies. You remember when we were in Maine a few years back, how Mikes backyard would just light up with them.” He turned back to the glass, once more covering his face with his hands, “looks just like that.”

Martha put her book down and joined him by the patio door, “Where?” she asked, cupping her own hands to the glass.
“There,” he said pointing out into the darkness, “to the right of those house lights.”
“I don’t see…. AAAAhhhh, you bastard,” she shrieked as he shouted “BOO!!” Grabbing her at the same time.
Laughing, Matt bounced backwards as she swatted at him. “You scared the life out of me,” she complained, rubbing her sides, “If you`ve left a bruise….?” He was still sniggering when she said, “And you wonder why your daughter`s having nightmares, well if you think you`re getting any tonight, you can forget it.”
“Aww honey don’t be like that,” he said as she retreated to the couch, giving him the finger as she did.
Following her, glass in hand he said, “Jeez some people can`t take a joke.”
She gave him another dirty look as she picked up her book, rubbing her left side again for effect.

They spent the next few of hours at opposite end of the couch, not in anger, but in the comfortable silence of a couple who felt no need to fill silence with inane chatter. Finally after a bottle and a half of wine Martha put down her book, stretched and asked, “What time is it?”
Matt glanced at the clock on the microwave which read 12:13, “Quarter past twelve,” he said.
“Oh my God,” she said, covering a yawn with one hand, “No wonder I`m so tired; I`m going to bed, don’t forget to lock up.”

Matt checked the bungalows doors, making sure they were locked, though who would be creeping around out here in the middle of nowhere, he couldn’t imagine. On his way to their bedroom he checked in on Emily, who was sound asleep, her hair matted to her forehead with sweat. He considered opening a window, but remembered how she had reacted earlier and thought what if she woke in the middle of the night and found a window open, she might become hysterical. Instead he removed one of the blankets as gently as he could, her face creasing into a worry frown as he did.

Martha was already in bed, lying on her side, her back to him, pretending to be asleep when he slipped under the sheets. He reached over, draping one hand on her side, tracing teasing circles around her belly-button with his index finger.

“Feck-off!” she said, half-heartedly pushing his hand away.
Instead he snuggled into her, nipping the meat of her shoulder with his teeth, resting one palm on her stomach, stroking it with his thumb; she made an exaggerated sighing sound as she rolled onto her back. Emboldened he nuzzled her neck, “Bastard,” she said, feeling his mouth against her throat curl into a grin.
“Uhuh,” he agreed; his hand sliding down her belly, finding the waistband of her panties, pushing under it, feeling the tight wiry hair beneath. With another sigh; one of pleasure this time, she turned towards him, parting her lips and legs to admit his questing tongue and fingers.

Long after their excited cries had drifted across the lake, two figures pulled themselves from the water onto the decking, their large lidless eyes glowing jade green from within. They padded towards the house, slipping past the girl’s window towards the half open small window of the room her parents slept in.

The smaller of the two pointed upwards, its companion nodded in understanding. The larger creature re-imagined itself, elongating, growing taller and thinner, reaching for the opening, which was barely wider than a letterbox, with limbs more like tentacles than arms, and eel-like slithered through. Once inside it rethought itself back into its original shape and opened the larger window to allow its partner to enter, wincing at the dry feel of the net curtain as it brushed against its skin.

The pair crept past the sleeping adults and got as far as the open door, then stopped, paralysed by terror. There was already a barrier between them and the safety of the water, beyond the door was nothing but walls, and they had been imprisoned by walls before, indecision wracked them.

In the bed Matt rolled over, grumbling something in his sleep; startled, the smaller creature lurched forward, desperate to get away from the man, pushing its partner into the hallway, suddenly they were both out there and it was too late to go back.

Now; clear of the stench of the adults they could taste the scent of the girl on their skin, the larger one pointed towards the half open door, in there, it thought, the other nodded.

Emily was curled up in the foetal position facing the window when they entered her room, the larger creature going straight to the window to open it; they had no intention of going back into the adults room again, the smaller one stood in front of the sleeping child studying her face, excited by the taste of her breath on its skin.

When its companion joined it, it leaned forward and in a soft melodious voice sang, “Little girl wake up.”
When Emily only frowned in her sleep it tried again, “Little girl wake u-up, we`re here..”

Emily`s eyes fluttered open, “Whaa..” she managed, then saw four glowing jade green eyes hanging in the air in front of her face. She opened her mouth, dragging in as large a lungful of air as she could, but before she could scream something thick and foul and slimy forced its way into her mouth, choking the scream before it began. The only sound she made was a muffled, “Hhheeennn,” that erupted from her nose, then two smaller digits wriggled into her nostrils, and even that sound ceased.

The larger creature ripped the blanket off her, grabbing her limbs which had begun to thrash, dragging her off the bed and onto its companion, sandwiching her between them. The last coherent thought Emily had as something hot and caustic was pumped down her throat was, I`m burning, I`m burning inside, and then there was nothing but darkness and horror.

The two creatures enveloped the struggling girl, wrapping themselves around her in an olive green cocoon, gorging themselves on her terror as it boiled off her in waves, consuming every last ounce of her, wasting nothing.