A papercut would be worse, but still the pain she felt from the tiny prick in her finger wouldn’t go away as she hurried down the hall to find where the noise was coming from. She stuck the pulsing red tip of flesh into her mouth to stop the bleeding as she peered into her son’s room, noticing nothing out of the ordinary but still hearing that thumping from somewhere in the house. She saw a drop of blood drip down onto her nightgown as she cursed the thing that bit her in the first place, some hell-bound insect she found on her bedside table whose outline was flashing through her mind faster than the thumps from below. Below? Of course, the basement.
Every time she went through the hallway in the back of her house, leading from the bright bleached laundry room to the staircase going down to the furnace, she got the chills like a child, something that always annoyed her adult mind. THUMP.
This time she could not deny the location of the noise, nor could she deny the speed of her heartbeat as she decided whether or not to wake her son and leave the house or find and fight the source of the problem on her own. Fight? Why would she have to fight? She laughed to herself as she pictured her house as the scene of a horror movie, as she reached for the knob to the basement, as she told herself that she would be dead in an instant in a typical slasher film.
As she turned the knob she felt the warm blood from her finger tip hit the cold brass in a very disturbing way, and she remembered once again the insect from her bedside table. THUMP.
The noise had shifted locations, seemingly coming from her bedroom now.
She hurried away from the almost completely turned doorknob and started into a sort of frenzied awkward run, holding up her long nightgown on her way to catch the culprit noise in the act.
The layout of her house was cursed under her breath along the way, making her think her late husband was right, maybe an expansion up instead of out was the way to go when they remodeled this old Antebellum style home. She rushed quickly beyond the bleach bright laundry, past the distracting brownie smell of the small red kitchen, through the toy-cluttered living room (was that a lego or a some hellish bear trap she just stepped on?), and into the seemingly endless darkened hallway.
One still slowly bleeding fingertip, one lego imprinted heel, and one extremely weary walk down the hallway later, she found herself peering into her room sheepishly, holding out her arms in defense as she searched for the lightswitch.
Her arms bumped impolitely into a smaller, quicker, much more high pitched figure than herself as she panicked and ran to the bedside lamp in effort to shed light on the situation. Her son, Hector, cried out once more, out of fear or anguish due to her almost impaling his eye socket with her extended hand she wasn’t sure, and she rushed over to him, relieved, that there was, in fact, no other person, or insect, left in her room.
“Why are you out of bed? Do you have any idea what time it is?” He stopped his sleep laden tired crying and looked up at her. For the first time since putting him to bed she saw his face, his normally so-cute-you-could-pinch-his-rosy-little-cheeks-off face was pale, with three small bites staining tiny drops of the most vivid red blood she thought she had ever seen down his cheek like microscopic tears.
Before she could ask any questions she felt the annoying prick in her finger and watched as her son suddenly climbed into her unnecessarily large California King bed and cuddled into the oversized comforter, asleep within seconds. She wondered what time it actually was, as she herself climbed into bed with a spit wet Kleenex to wipe away the splatters of blood from her snoring sons face. Sleep drifted into the room heavily, almost immediately knocking her unconscious, but not before hearing one last THUMP from where she thought was her son’s room.