Sunday, December 25, 2011

No Peeking

Katie woke with a start.  She grinned.  Was it time yet?  Was it time?  The room was still dark but for the safe warmth of her night light.  She listened for Bobby to see if he'd beat her downstairs.  The house was silent.  The street light outside cast a lightning thin slit between the curtains and across to the door opposite.  Mom and Dad said not to get out of bed until morning.  NO PEEKING! Katie frowned and fidgeted under the covers.  What if she needed a drink of water?  What if she had to potty?  She wouldn't peek.  She'd promised.

Katie closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but suddenly her insides were all tingly and excited and she knew she had to go potty.  She pushed the covers back and huffed at the ceiling. She wouldn't peek. She wouldn't even look down the stairs.  She would just potty and come right back to bed. Santa knew she was a good girl. She wouldn't peek.

She slipped out from under the comforter and tiptoed to her bedroom door.  It creaked loudly as she opened it and her eyes went wide.  She kept still and waited.  Did mom hear? She held her breath, one foot carefully balanced on tip toe for her next step.  She exhaled and placed her foot flat on the floor.  Maggie, the family Chihuahua, leapt through the open door and onto her foot.  She squealed and fell backward.

Maggie was on Katie's face in a flash, licking her repeatedly and making her giggle.  Katie held the dog back with both hands and whispered fervently, "Maggie no!  We have to be quiet!"  She managed to push the eager dog back enough to get on her feet.  "Ssssh!"  Katie dusted herself off and glared at Maggie.  Maggie looked up intently and wagged her tail.

Katie pushed the door all the way open and stepped out into the hallway.  The tingling was growing worse.  The hall was almost completely black, but she could see the nightlight in the bathroom at the far end.  She faced the wall as she moved.  Halfway to the bathroom the hall became a landing that looked over the living room and if she wasn't careful she'd be looking right at the Christmas tree.  She was pretty sure that would count as peeking.  She took quick steps and was on the toilet in no time.  Maggie whined as Katie closed the door.  The dog whimpered and scratched at the base of the door, trying to get in.  "Maggie, No!"  Katie whispered as loud as she could.  The dog whimpered and then Katie heard the familiar kathump kathump of Maggie descending the stairs.    

As she wiped herself clean she heard a thump on the roof.  Oh No Santa!  She zipped her jammies up fast and rushed to the door.  She opened it a crack and looked down the stairs.  No lights on.  She quickly tiptoed out.  Halfway back to her room, She heard another thump, downstairs this  time, followed by a yelp from Maggie.  Katie stopped without thinking and looked directly through the railing at the Christmas tree.

There was a sound like wrapping paper tearing, then  someone was chewing loudly with their mouth open. Katie could see someone moving at the base of the tree.  She stepped up to the railing.  "Bobby!  Bobby!  Mom said we were supposed to wait until morning!  I'm gonna tell!  I'm gonn-"  The thing that wasn't Bobby turned its head to look directly at her.  In the dim colored light it looked like a Christmas elf, but some thing was wrong with it.  Its clothes were spotted with something dark and its eyes were empty like a closed down store. Beyond the creature, Katie saw a dark spot in the carpet and something that looked like a chicken leg.  The Elf thing stood and turned toward her, its face a tight rictus.  Its mouth was covered in something shiny and dark.

Katie wanted to scream, but all the air was gone. She turned to run back to her room and tripped over a present lying in the hallway.  It collapsed under her weight and spilled its contents onto the hardwood floor, a thick dark liquid that was warm and sticky.  Katie scrambled to stand, her breath coming in short quick gasps.  Her arms and legs fumbled beneath her like a cartoon character slipping in oil.  Tears poured down her face.  The thing from downstairs was at the end of the hallway. It twitched and giggled and slowly stepped towards her, its fingers jerking like it was playing piano.  I didn't mean to peek, she thought.  It was too late, the Chrsitmas elf has seen her.

{Images created in Adobe Illustrator}


Vincent said...

Well, SOMEBODY'S on a roll with their short stories :)

Loved the atmosphere in The Child. Had a very Aliens feel to it. Also, the description of the Christmas elf was superb, especially in the final moments as it advances on the panicking Katie.

Jesse W. Campbell said...

LOL on the Short Stories. Sadly I think I used up the last of the juice with No Peeking. That one was hard to finish before Christmas was over.

Thanks on The Child. Love me some Aliens. Speaking of - have you seen the Prometheus trailer yet? (drool)

Vincent said...

Prometheus looks epic! And directed by Ridley Scott. Can't go too wrong there. You know, Scott has directed his share of crap but what he does well he does VERY WELL. I can never think too harshly of the man because of good ol' Blade Runner. I know I'm not unique in this regard but I get SO LOST in that movie every time I see it. Watching it is almost like a form of meditation for me.

Jesse W. Campbell said...

I feel ya on the Blade Runner. This is going to sound bad, but I've actually fallen asleep several times watching Blade Runner. It is one of my comfort films....Alien, Aliens, Blade Runner...All of which I have fallen asleep to. Of course I've seen each countless times. Isn't Ridley doing a prequel to Blade Runner?

Vincent said...

I'm a poor person to ask about such things. While I enjoy films I don't really keep myself in the know. I tend to rely on my wife to keep me abreast of quality cinema, as that is one of the many things she does best.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd be too interested in prequel to Blade Runner. The unanswered questions in the film are part of what makes it beautiful in my humble opinion.

Jesse W. Campbell said...

I'm kind of an info junkie about things I am interested in. There being a prequel may be complete rumor mixed up with / from the Prometheus info, which was originally touted as a prequel for Alien. Meh either way.

I agree with you. Blade runner is kind of perfect as is. I don't need more there.

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