Prayers in the Dark – Revised Draft

I have written and then re-written this to death and have finally produced something I’m happy with.  This will eventually be moved to the “Kickers” section after a time.

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I’ve always been a strong advocate that bogeymen are real.  As real as you and I are breathing, just not as psycho as those ones born from the pits of some demented mind in Hollywood .  Given there’s not really that much difference, and believe me that veil is very thin, they are nonetheless everywhere.  Not just under your bed or in your closet or in the dark, I’m talking everywhere.  Some are pretty messed up and go out of there way to scare the bejesus out of you mostly because they can. And others, well, they’re just there…lurking.  Its the lurkers I can’t stand because you don’t know what they want or what they’re up too. They tend to stay in the shadows unseen and every now and then push their faces through the curtain of darkness to stare at you with unblinking eyes, only to fade into the black seconds later.  They’re the kind of bogeymen that tease the tiny hairs on the back of your neck to attention and run ice cold tendrils down the length of your spine, just to let you know that you are not alone.  I’ve never been a big fan of lurkers, I always got the feeling they wanted to hurt me.  Which is why I prefer the more ‘in your face look at me’ variety, because what you see is what you get.  They come, they do their thing, have a laugh at your expense and then poof! – they are gone.

I was eight when I experienced my first bogeyman encounter.  Annabeth West or the ancient one as most people called her, was standing at the foot of my bed just staring at me.  Even though I was asleep, somehow I still managed to have that uneasy feeling of being watched.  I opened up my eyes and sat up in my bed and came face to face with a very pale Mrs Annabeth Tallulah West.  Usually when you see something like this on the movies its cold and you exhale white plumes of cold air, like a smoker exhales cigarette smoke.  That wasn’t happening here.  I wasn’t the least bit afraid like I should have been, I guess you could say I was more puzzled by her presence in my room, especially when she was bedridden and dying from Cancer. At least that’s what Bobby Howell said.  All the older kids called it the big C and any day now she was going to kick the bucket.  I never understood why she would want to kick a bucket around and I sure as heck didn’t know what Cancer was but I laughed along with rest of them anyway.  And now, here she was at the foot of my bed dressed in nothing but a pink night dress with red and yellow roses embroidered along the front.  Her white silver streaked hair was brushed back exposing a thin skeletal face with the skin pulled tightly over it and deep sunken eyes.  She was also barefoot.  I frowned, pushed aside my bed covers, reached down and grabbed my robe on the floor then crawled to the end of the bed and put it around her shoulders.
“Mrs Thompson, what are doing here? I’m not allowed to have visitors at night.”
She smiled and patted my hand.  I pulled it away and glared at her.  I looked from her to my hand then back to her and rubbed the spot she had touched.  “You burnt me.  That was mean”, I said glaring at her and even pouting a little.  “I think you should go home now before I tell my mum and dad what you just did.”  The smile faded from her face and was replaced by a sadness that nearly cut my heart in two.  I felt ashamed that I had growled at her but in my defense it did feel as if she had burnt my hand, even if there was no mark there to prove it.

I wasn’t sure what I expected to happen next but nothing prepared me for the sound of Annabeth crying.  The only way to describe it is, if you have watched the movie Van Hellsing where he kills one of Dracula’s brides by sticking her to a rooftop. Dracula wakes up a very unhappy man does his spiel and then snarls at his remaining brides.  Their sobs kind of echo throughout the room.  That is what Annabeths were doing. It was everywhere bouncing off everything.  Annabeth had her face in her hands and her shoulders were shaking that bad she shook my robe right off her shoulders but no sound was coming from her.  It was bouncing off the walls, filling the empty spaces, filling my room.  The depth of her sadness could be felt in the echoes of her dejected sobs.  It was so overwhelming the air grew thick and warm and I was having a little trouble breathing.  I sat at the end of my bed watching her and covered my ears to block out her sobbing.  “Please Mrs Thompson,  I’m sorry you can stay.  Please stop crying.”  The crying turned into a kind of wailing that reminded me of a really windy Winter’s night and without warning my head exploded with the sound of a thousand voices all talking at once.  That’s all I remember.  My grandmother said I had a very precious gift.  A gift, that could span generations leaving a bloodline untouched and then one day manifesting itself in one particular soul.  It was a rare gift to possess and only someone whose bloodline had the gene could produce it and there was only one person she knew of who had it.  She told me it was a gift I had to learn to accept and embrace wholeheartedly and without fear.  That the bogeymen could not hurt me but they would try and would fail.  But know that I was her special nipote.  A nipote that had the shining.

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My grandmother asked me once if I had ever seen the King and when I shook my head she said “Well, if you do happen across him one day, tell him Matilda said hi.”  At nine years old I didn’t have a clue who she was talking about but you can imagine the thoughts I had racing through my head.  One particular thought being, ‘Wow – my nan is friends with a King! I wonder if he is rich and handsome and has a big castle…‘  It wasn’t till I was older and it became all to clear who she was actually talking about.  The King himself, Elvis.

Back in those days I was very naive and you know, I thought everyone could do what I could do and it never occurred to me that they couldn’t.  So when the backlash eventually came I didn’t understand why people were so afraid of me and so angry at me.  I thought people would appreciate being told that Betty Sanford from down the road was happy where shes was and John shouldn’t worry anymore or that Bevan Thomas didn’t blame his sister Shelley for not being able to hold onto him when he fell from the balcony.  No one told me to keep these types of things to myself.  No one told me what I could do was potentially dangerous for me and my family.  No one told me that only I could see the dead.  Someone called me the devils little whore once but at such a young age I didn’t understand what it meant or what a whore was.  I guess in a way I was lucky.

I’m all grown up now and things are a little better, not by much, but enough for me to live a relatively normal life.  And I use that word rather loosely.  Things still go bump in the night for me and now that I’m older, they also go bump in the day.  I’ve been seeing this therapist who seems to think I should document these so called “events” I seem to be having in my life.  Apparently I suffered a deep psychological break when my mother died amplified by the loss of my father a couple years before.  The suddenness of her death has left me traumatized and guilt ridden.  I’m seriously thinking of kicking this whack job of a therapist to the curb, I mean, I swear this woman has more unresolved issues than what I do.  Plus I’m sick of paying the $2000 bill she charges a session just to hear her say – “A-huh“, “Ok and how did that make you feel?“, “These so called sightings are a manifestation of the guilt you are feeling about your mother.  You’re projecting them outward, nothing more.”  That one I am particularly tired of hearing. Yes, I’m feeling guilty as sin and yes, I wish I had of done something. But if there is one thing in this world that I do not do…and that is project.  I do everything in my power to stay hidden.

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