Ceiling Fan

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A mother has to face a reality she's been fleeing in order to protect her daughter.

Submitted: May 04, 2016

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Submitted: May 04, 2016

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I.
 
“Again?”, I gnarled with a clouded voice. With my arms shaking, for they were still as dead as I was, I lifted my heavy chest off my mattress and sat down facing the wall. I never wanted to look out my window at night, and certainly not after midnight; easy to blame it on superstitions and horror movies but I was truly afraid of a lot of “simple” things. The moon had been staring at me all night long and now I could see my shadow in front of me; I hated that.
I, for what seemed like hours, stared at this grayish wall and then it suddenly hit me, I remembered the reason why I got up at three am – again. The noises were back. “I can't believe it! Dammit..." It had been going ever since I was a child. I felt blessed to have that two-months respite. I had been assaulted by nightmares instead, which was probably not a better thing but certainly a preferable one. It was truly back and louder than I remembered. "Mom?”
“What is it?”, she asked with a faint voice. She had been looking very exhausted lately and I felt bad for bothering her, but I just couldn't handle this alone...
 
I'd always had trouble sleeping since I was four and I was pretty sure that it was thanks to me that my mother had acquired this ability to keep a somewhat consistent conversation with people while she was asleep. I had never hesitated crying out her name on nights when I would have these nightmares and wake up in a pool of sweat (and of piss sometimes – come on, you know you've been there too!). I would be scared and ask her to come for the renowned parental-check-up-of-the-room-for-monsters. And she would stay in her room and say to me: "Go back to sleep, Joy." with her face still buried in the pillow as the volume of her voice would give away."Don't worry, mommy's here." And if I would insist – and of course I would – she would add “I'll make you some tea in the morning. You'll be fine.” Sometimes I would whine a bit more, maybe even plead for help but she never – as in not once – gave in and only angrily whispered: "Sleep now."  before slipping back into her oh-so-cherished sleep. Our rooms were back to back with only a – pretty thin if you ask me – wall between both our beds; which made communicating a simple thing. She always managed to hear my whispers and things weren't any different now (which is why I never wanted to bring my boyfriend over).
 
“Did you hear that?”
“What? The sound of my beautiful daughter stealing away my beauty sleep? Yes, I fucking did!”, she said.
“I'm sorry, mom. But the weird noises are back. I can't sleep.”
“Enough with that already!”, she said. “Just go back to sleep already, Joy. And for heaven's sake, shut your fucking trap.” She groaned and hit the wall with her open hand judging by the flat sound of it.
 
I sensed a tear roll down my cheek. I had unconsciously covered my mouth with my hand and it felt as if I was paralyzed; numb with cold. Something was off; she didn't even mention tea. Not to mention I had never heard such words from her – sounded rather like my so-called father. But, the words hidden behind the ones my mom gave tongue to... This wasn't right and it made me sad – and scared. For her to turn into dad and behave like was the last thing I would have ever wished for. The simple thought of it had me crying in that deadly silence created by her harsh voice.
 
 
II.
 
I woke up to the sound of my mom's singing and to the smell of scrambled eggs and bacon. I was startled when I reached the bathroom and saw how red my cheeks were. I ran my fingers on my face only to acknowledge the ache in my jaw and grimaced. It seemed silent crying session turned out longer than it felt. “Way to ruin breakfast!”
 
“Hi, sweetie! Are you ready for your first day?” She sounded and behaved like the happiest woman on Earth, like she would when daddy – dad, was still part of our lives. But I could see through her persona; she was desperately trying to hide some serious concern – hadn't she always been after all? I guessed this was something that came with becoming a mother, a special feature. The ability to overly worry about every single thing that could ever be going on but continuously pretend that you're the sanest person this planet had ever gifted life to was how I'd describe it if I was a sucker for long-ass sentences.
Although I knew how fake it was, I liked her smile – this smile. It was there to tell me that yes, indeed, things were fucked up but we could still be fine for we hadn't lost the strength to pretend that we were alive inside. In some ways, it comforted me, the same way her smoker's breath did when it'd fill my nose at night while she'd tuck me in; a long time ago. How could one trust a feeling of safety provided by a fake smile you'd ask. Cause it's all one could afford. And with this first day of high school, full of new people and new rocks to be thrown at me, I needed such a thing.
“Tell me about it!” I cherished that smile but I really needed to know, so I took a somewhat deep breath and asked the forbidden question. “Mom? About last night, I –”, she interrupted me.
“Honey, I'm getting tired of your games”, she said. “I've explained this to you a thousand times. With the very hot weather we have in the morning, the tin roof reacts to the changes of temperature at night and makes those cracking noises you always complain about." She recited this like a straight a student and went on adding: "And the scratching is from the palm trees that your father should have cut a long time ago.” It was always the same speech, word-for-word.
“But, mom!”
“Enough!” she screamed again. She went back to her smiling face but her brows couldn't lie, she was upset. “You're gonna be late for school. Go.”
“I can't believe this. Why does she keep yelling at me like this?”, I whispered as I made my way to the door.
 
 
III.
 
She waited until she could hear the door slam and lock before washing that uncomfortable smile off her face. She was upset indeed. Her daughter had brought up the topic that worries her the most and which she's completely clueless about. She was upset because she didn't know the truth. She was upset because she feared she knew the truth. But actually, she was more upset because she was scared shitless. The thing she kept saying about the temperature making the roof shift, she used to believe it at first; not anymore.
Ever since her daughter turned four, there had been those noises on the roof at night. She never told Lola, but she thought that it was something supernatural. She was raised in a family that strongly believed in those things and she had witnessed the use of black magic when younger. Mentioning this to her daughter would have been a bad idea, children must never know the truth– it's not necessary for their innocence protects them. Some jealous neighbor probably had cursed her or her mother and her daughter had to pay the price? That's how these things worked, if you brought bad luck on yourself, the darkness wouldn't come right at you; it would hit your loved ones, leaving you behind, alone and broken... The best revenge.
 
Caught up in her thoughts, she almost forgot that she had to clean the house. And so what if it was already clean? She'd break things and throw dirt everywhere so she would have something to keep her mind off this. She couldn't wait until her daughter would come back from school so she could make up for yelling at her this morning. She needed to see her smile.
 
 
IV.
 
“Today was utter shit!”, I said as I locked the door behind me. My mom was just about to serve dinner and she smiled at me as I threw my bag on the couch. “Perfect timing, my dear. I hope my cooking will make it better.”
And it did. With every bite I took. I was truly hoping that her cooking skills were hereditary to be honest, that would have guaranteed me a loving husband. She was such a gift I thanked God for everyday.
 
“I love you mom, goodnight.” I softly whispered as I turned her lights off. Over the years, we swapped our roles. I would tuck her into bed and gently kiss her forehead; she would brighten my day with a sweet smile. I felt like an adult and she felt loved. Hopefully, she still did the cooking, but that meant I had to take care of the dishes.
Taking care of the other in spite of our own well-being was how we both ruled which basically meant we were both keeping the other alive. I enjoyed those little moments, they had that special place in my mind and heart. This probably was our way of filling up the big gap that dad dug in our hearts when he left us. Screw him.
 
I was lying on my bed when I felt my vision blurring. My heart raced a bit because I didn't want to risk going to sleep without saying a prayer;  it never brought me any good. But I was gone now, into a blurred and cold place I liked to call my mind – but, really, it was just a recurring dream, quite redundant and boring too.
This was not the usual night where I sleep and dream of good or bad things that leaves a vague memory in my head for me to tell mother in the morning. No, rather one of those where I push two heavy gates and walk into something along the lines of an abandoned amusement park and a familiar   – though strange – neighbor house. This was actually my usual nights ever since I entered the time in life where "you've got to pay to be a woman" as mom would put it. One could think I'd be used to it by now, and to this I'd say that this is some kind of delusional bullshit they've got running out their mouth. It was not a walk in the park. Or yes it was, but rather a park of self-torture than a park full of babies and pigeons – ugh; after all, to each his own torture. I couldn't get used to the roads, there were so many and I was always taking a different one that always led to a different place that always led to a – this I couldn't tell. I could never remember any further. The place was big and it seemed to always be shifting, a bit like a Rubik's cube.
Tonight, something was different. I mean, everything was always different, but this night had something really new, something old – many things. I liked lingering in the streets between the little lights on the ground until I would pick a road to travel on until my alarm would drag me into the real nightmare. Not tonight. The area had been a little darker than usual lately compared to the usual rainy day atmosphere; most certainly because the noises were back. I remembered it to be scarier to be in here when I was little, and maybe that was because I was younger and had never tasted heartbreaks and anxiety. I was used to some kind of darkness but what was going on that night was out of my league. It didn't feel right to stay anywhere for too long so I sped up my pace and ended up running when I could finally find one road to go on.
 
I woke up with a huge gasp. I was completely out of breath and terrified. When I was a little girl I must have had dreamt of walking inside my mind at least twenty times I'd say, and ever since I turned twelve, this had been my dream almost every night. And this, had never, ever, happened to me. There had never been any monsters running after me. I said monsters but in reality, I had no idea what those things were. It looked more like huge dogs rather than my cliché vision of monsters. It ran after me like a dog would after a rabbit. I needed air. “Mom?”, I whispered. “Can you hear me?”
 
 
V.
 
“Mom? Can you hear me?” She heard her daughter whisper from the other side of the wall. She didn't reply. “Mom? I'm scared, I had this dream and–” Joy stopped as the cracking and scratching on the roof began. She closed her eyes and tried to pretend nothing was wrong. Pretend that she couldn't hear her daughter screaming her name from the other room and crying, banging on the wall. Pretend that she didn't want to run to Joy's room and hold her tight so she would calm down. She closed her eyes and smiled that fake smile that her daughter loved so much. But she just couldn't leave her daughter like that now, could she? The banging had stopped now, she was just sobbing with her head against the wall, probably too tired to do anything more.
 
Everything was alright. Joy had now reached fifteen and would become one of the most beautiful woman on Earth. She will get to see her leave for college and have a real boyfriend – anything other than what she had right now would be fine – and get married and give her grandchildren. Everything was alright and her daughter will live long and they'll be happy together.
But she couldn't believe those thoughts. She couldn't believe that things would be fine if she'd abandon her child to whatever creatures were on the roof. She couldn't believe she would stop being a mother just because she was scared. So she sat up and brought herself closer to the wall with the concern of a real mother showing on her face and spoke with a loud and confident as possible voice.
 
“Honey? Everything's fine, it's just the wind.” She could hear her little girl move in the sheets to get on her knees and press her hand against the wall. She did the same.
“Mommy, why didn't you reply earlier? I was scared.” She started sobbing again. “I had this nightmare and the dogs were running after me and I think they're on the roof now. I think it's them on the roof, mom... I think it's me they want.”
“Come and sleep with me, it'll be better if we're together, alright?” She naively asked, secretly hoping that this could actually put an end to the situation.
“Okie dokie!” The smile Joy had on could be heard in her voice. “Just let me grab my pillow first. I threw it at the window when I heard the noises.”
She laughed until the thought hit her. Why did the noises stop after so little time? She didn't think it would go that way but it seemed it was the only way. She didn't care anymore about her precious dream of a perfect existence. All she cared about was protecting her creation and being what her husband could have never been for her daughter: a hero. She took a deep breath and turned her hands to fists. She felt brave. “Joy, come on already! Hurry the fuck up!” She headed to the door that led straight to her daughter's room, when it suddenly locked. She kept trying the knob, turning as hard as she could, willing to break her shoulder banging on the door  – she stopped.
 
"Joy." Her heart sank in her chest but the time had come and she couldn't run anymore.
"Mom?..."
“Joy...” She said as she lifted her hand of the knob and let her back slide down the door. The noises were back but on her side of the roof exclusively this time; her daughter couldn't hear them anymore – they didn't want her to. She knew what it meant but she was not as ready as she thought she'd be. “Just stay in your room. Go back to bed and sleep, mommy will make you tea tomorrow.”
“But mom, the door–”
“Nevermind that!” She said with the strongest sounding voice she could afford. “Just do as I say! Mommy loves you.” No more replies; she guessed that her daughter simply sat down and cried.
She got up. The noises had gotten louder but she was not scared anymore as she realized that she was in fact the prey and that her death would bring peace to her daughter. “Where are you now, bastards?” She asked with a spark in the eye. There was a knock on the wall. “Mom?” She turned around to face the it and answer her daughter. “Joy, I told you to fu–” Her sentence was cut by shattering glass.
 
VI
I was sitting on the floor with my knees pressed against my chest when I heard a window break. I called out for mom twice – no reply. I took the pillow and got up willing to head to the door and see if I could open it. Without leaving me enough time to properly get up, the door opened on its own. My mom was there. She had opened the door and was now standing in front of me.
“Mom?” She moved towards me and I stepped backwards when I saw what was behind her. There was four big dogs – probably wolves – by her side. They looked a bit like those in my dream, only taller and scarier, and real. My mother looked at them and then back at me, she grinned. “Mom, you're scaring me. Where did you get those dogs?” Her eyes immediately changed, as if I had captured her attention this time.
“No.”She said in a tone that reminded me of my dad.
“What do you mean 'no'?.. Are you alright?”
“No, she's gone. She's not fine.” There were words coming out of mom's mouth, with mom's voice but they didn't fit the character.
“What?” I asked with a trembling voice, guessing what was happening before me. “Mom, you're scaring me, stop this.” I denied.
“She's gone and it was painful. But funny.” It said. My whole body shivered when I heard it pronounce the word "painful" with such a disgusting pleasure. The monsters on the roof. It was them. They got in and they stole mother. And now, I was alone facing them.
“I thought you wanted me! Why did you take my mom?” I screamed more with fear than with anger. It shook mom's head in an uncomfortable – for me to see – manner and after a louder growl, it spoke to me. “Don't you know who we are?” It asked me as it patted two of the dogs' heads. I looked at them with a confused look, I didn't know what to say so I just shrugged.
“We're your biggest fans.” Fear seized the lower half of my body, making me unable to run and jump through the window. I blinked and my room was full of those ugly dogs. I could sense one's breath on my back.


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