The Sandman Cometh

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  No Houses
A little girl has suffered so much abuse she develops a relationship with a supernatural creature who serves as a guardian throughout her life.

Submitted: April 28, 2016

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Submitted: April 28, 2016

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The Sandman Cometh

 

Jeanette Osborn was a single mother who loved her of job raising her son Billy. What she hated was raising him alone. She desperately wanted a man in both their lives, but she did not trust them. It was not that Billy was a difficult child to parent.  In many ways he was a typical seven year old boy. He laughed. He cried.  He had to be told more than once to eat his vegetables. But most importantly he loved his mother as much as she loved him. That was a good thing because all they had was each other. Neither of them had any true friends or any other family to speak of

Jeanette was raised by her mother Carol since her father walked out on them four months after Jeanette was born. Carol spent the next eighteen years looking for a husband and a father for Jeanette. She failed miserably at both.  There were no shortages of men for Carol. Carol would brag that they would line up around the block for her. In many ways that was true.  A person could pick any day of the week and walk past Carol’s home and hear the sounds of passion emanating from the house. Carol would also say she could not track of them.

Unfortunately this was also true. Carol was known for her wild parties and sleepovers. It would be no surprise to see her home littered with men in drunken stupors. Some of these men would also find their way into the room of young Jeanette.

It would be at these moments that Jeanette’s mind would enter a place where men were protectors not predators. Her distress was so great and bedroom visits from Claire’s suitors so frequent, that she began to make up a protector for herself.  Jeanette made up this character from a song that Carol would often sing before a date or a party. The song was called “Mr. Sandman.” If the song came on the radio Carol would suspend any conversation she was having and sing along with the Chordettes till it was finished. Carol had an old record player she used for parties and she would play the song every day. On nights where Jeanette could not sleep she imagined her sandman before her eyes so she could sleep. Jeanette’s dependence on her imaginary friend grew to the point where she began having conversations with him. She called him Archie.

Jeanette told her mother all about Archie. Carol refused to listen to what she called “nonsense” and she would send Jeanette to her room early. This pleased Jeanette to no end because this meant she had more time with her friend.  Jeanette would sometimes talk all night with Archie. She told him he was her only friend. Archie liked that very much and he told her no one would hurt her ever again.

Then one Saturday night something happened that changed both of their lives forever.

It started out like any other Saturday. Carol talked on the telephone most of the day inviting friends for her party that evening. Claire’s negligence meant that Jeanette had to take care of herself throughout the day until her mother rushed her off to bed. When guests began to pour in as night fell, Jeanette knew all too well what that meant. She retreated to her bedroom – she had learned that locking her door was not a deterrent and it only served to anger whoever was on the other side. Two hours had passed when Jeanette heard a scuffle in the hallway.  She watched the knob on her door slowly turn.

 Inch by inch the door opened in the darkness like the mouth of some great beast that threatened to swallow her whole.  Out of the beast’s mouth emerged a figure. That figure moved deliberately towards Jeanette’s bed. This was all too familiar to Jeanette. Soon there would be a sweaty leering figure towering over her bed and then she would go into her fantasy world.

 Not this night.

The figure never made it across the room.

Jeanette saw the figure grabbed by a much larger one and then thrashed and squeezed until it moved no more.

 It was Archie and he was angry.

The people downstairs never stood a chance. Archie’s hulk like body moved at a frightening speed that belied his size. The dead man on the floor had barely stopped screaming before Archie was downstairs wreaking deadly havoc among the party guests. It was over almost as quickly as it started. The only noise downstairs was the unattended record player that kept skipping and repeating the last few seconds of “Mr. Sandman.”

Jeanette was the only person alive in the house. Archie had kept his promise.

The crime baffled the police. What Jeanette told them made little sense in their eyes and it was chalked up to a little girl’s imagination.  Jeanette was sent off to live with a nice family in Tacoma, Washington. She ran away from them. She then bounced from group home to group home. No one seemed to understand. She did not need them. She had Archie to protect her. When she was old enough in the eyes of the law, she fell in love with Richard, a man three times her age. She wanted to be taken care of and he wanted a trophy wife.

When Jeanette got pregnant, neither got what they wanted. Richard did not want a child or a wife with extra weight. He refused to marry Jeanette and he stopped being nice to her. All of this greatly distressed Jeanette. Not long after that, Richard was found dead in his backyard. His head was turned completely in the other direction.

This left Jeanette alone to raise her child. Jeanette was a devoted mother who always put Billy first. She vowed she would give Billy the life she never had.  Jeanette refused to date; instead choosing to spend her free time with Billy. She would protect him from all of the mean, terrible people in the world. She denied Billy nothing. She gave him everything that was in her power to give. 

Consequently, Billy was a chubby child and his opened him up to ridicule at school. No one wanted to be his friend. They only got close when they wanted something like food or money from him. Many a night, Jeanette had to hold a crying Billy and explain how cruel the world can be.  She would sing and hum “Mr. Sandman” to Billy to calm him enough for sleep.  Jeanette remembered what life was like for her at Billy’s age.

Maybe he too could use a friend like Archie.

Archie had not come around since Richard. He did not need to. She and her son moved to a very small town where people were nice at first. She worked in a grocery store where people still said please and thank you. Now, because Billy put on a couple of extra pounds, people were making him suffer for it.

It was a cloudy Saturday afternoon when Billy came home in worse shape than ever before. He had been playing in the front yard when three neighborhood children stopped by and hurled taunts like “fat bastard” and “porky” at him. Billy was upset because deep down he believed the horrible things they shouted were true. He realized he had no friends. Jeanette realized then it was time to tell him about a friend he had not met yet.

 Archie. 

The knowledge of Archie seemed to immediately bolster Billy’s confidence. He decided to go back out and play in the front yard.  After a time the three neighborhood children returned to their prey. They resumed with their hurtful remarks. When Billy told them he now had a friend and a protector, they laughed even harder. They wanted to know his name and demanded to meet him.

Billy was only too happy to oblige them. The three neighborhood children never teased him again.

The little town was in an uproar for some time due to their disappearance.  They were eventually found. The details of their demise were thankfully never released to the public. The crime remains a mystery to all but two occupants in the town.

There is much joy in the Osborn household now. Jeanette lost her desire to have a father for Billy and he no longer worries about having friends.  They finally realize they already have both.  If you walk past the house, it is not uncommon to hear them singing “Mr. Sandman.” 

The song may be old but it is catchy and the Osborn’s like it. And if you happen to meet them, make sure you are nice.



© Copyright 2017 Ethan Howard. All rights reserved.

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