At home Hector tugged on his mother’s jeans as she washed the apples, a little harder than usual she might add, and begged her to check his room one more time. If there was one thing that Hector may never get used to without his father, it would be the concept of safety, a concept she herself struggled with more often than she should. Josh used to check the closet for the ‘boogerman’, check under the bed for a ‘cereal bowl killer’, and check his blankets for ‘bad bugs’. Hector’s fears could easily be turned into a comical children’s book now that she thought about it, she should add that to the list of never-finished projects she had been collecting since college.
“I promise there is nothing in your room Hector, I’ll check one more time but you have really got to go to bed afterwards. We have to drive to Grammy’s tomorrow and I don’t want you to be fussy with her like you were Marva today.” He puppy-dog faced her in response.
As she dried off her hands and walked along the hallway with Hector she thought she heard a thump in the kitchen but brushed it off as the dishwasher switching gears, clearly not wanting a repeat of haunted hide and seek again tonight.
She entered her son’s bright blue room, avoiding the soldier toys he had set up at the end of his bed for protection as she learned to do shortly after Joshua’s death, and scooped him up and threw him playfully back into his bed. She tickled him and wrestled him and worked herself into a sweat as she flung herself dramatically backward onto his bed for a rest. He was giggling and she felt accomplished, driving away his nighttime fears once again. She kissed his cheek as she stood back up and tucked him in, assuring him that she would leave the night light on and leave his door cracked as well.
When she turned around to leave is when she first noticed it, and when she first knew that she and Hector had a problem, one that Josh couldn’t help solve from the grave unfortunately. She saw on Hector’s door a large, record-breakingly large probably, grasshopper looking insect, which seemed to be staring at her. That wasn’t what alarmed her though. She also saw scribblings, in what looked like pencil, of disturbing scenes with dying stick figures, the childlike innocence in the drawings sharply contrasted with the horrifying scenes of fire, knives, and guns. They needed to talk tomorrow, and she really needed an exterminator.