Going Bump

Kayla asked, “Did you hear that?”

From across the gulf of bedroom darkness, Nina, little sister to Kayla, replied, “Hear what?”

“Wait…”

“Wait for what?”

“Be quiet a minute and listen.”

In the streets outside, the world of the grown-ups (for whom there was no past-bedtime) moved about; horns honked and sirens screamed. Inside, the more quiet world, the children-gone-to-bed world, moved too…or at least the shadows did, one over the other, over the other…

Quoth the dark: “Bump.”

The shadows sped up, turned corners, whirled.

Kayla: “Did you say that?”

Nina: “Say what?”

The dark: “Bump.”

Nina: “Oh that was just you.”

“No it wasn’t,” Kayla said, frightened now. “I didn’t say a word.”

Racing through the corners of bedroom gloom, a swirling subtraction of light: “Bump.”

Kayla: “Knock it off, okay? Do you think you’re being scary or something?”

Nina: “I didn’t say anything. Jeez, Kay-Kay.”

Out in the living room a clock began to strike the air with statements of time. Once…twice…three times—now the black shadows were caught in time, waiting, holding their breath before the children’s tilted faces—four…five…six strikes of the clock—waiting together yet separated, Kayla and Nina, nestled in an envelope of darkness—seven…eight…nine—both worlds, the inside and the out, children’s and adult’s, hesitate, all seemingly joined in breathless expectance—ten…eleven…and then finally the twelfth hollow bong rolls out, and echoes…

Over.

Gone.

Another day has passed and the next is introduced into the present. The shared worlds of the big people and the little ones hunch up their respective and collective shoulders and go their separate ways again, prepared to deal with the coming day, fresh and new.

Kayla: “Well, that’s over with. Maybe I can get some sleep now.”

Nina: “Yeah, me too.”

The dark: “Bumpity-bump.”

Ω

Darren O. Godfrey has stories appearing in a couple of Borderlands volumes, the HWA’s The Museum of Horrors, Quietly Now, An Anthology in Tribute to Charles L. Grant, as well as other collections of not-so-everyday weirdness. He lives in Idaho.

Other works by Darren O. Godfrey

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