“Yeah, well your mom left me in charge, and I said to get your asses upstairs and get in bed.”
Jake and Marcia stood on the stairs looking down at their babysitter. Meg, sixteen, was the daughter of their mother’s best friend.
“But we’re not tired. We wanna stay up an’ watch TV,” Marcia protested.
“Get your ass upstairs right now, or I’ll turn Daren lose on ya.” The young man behind her smiled at them. They had both been recipients of Daren’s punishment. It was nothing that would leave a mark, at least a noticeable mark. The two children turned and fled upon this threat. Behind them, Daren and Meg laughed.
“Alright,” Meg yelled, “I’m comin’ up. You two better be in bed." She came up the steps with deliberate, thunderous steps, rattled the doorknob for effect, then slammed the door open. Both Jake and Marcia lay in their beds. “Good, thought I was gonna hafta get Daren up here.” She turned to leave the bedroom.
“Wait,” Marcia cried.
“What, what the hell do you want?”
“Can you...tell us...a story...?”
At first, it looked as if she might say something mean, yell, or maybe even walk out the door without responding. Instead, Meg was quiet for a second. “Sure.” She framed herself in the doorway so that she was backlit by the light from the hall.
“You remember that box of stuff my mom gave you guys?” The box sat on the dresser across the room. “Well, inside is a stuffed raccoon, my raccoon. His name is Bandit. I named him that because of the mask around his eyes. He’s black all over, which was strange enough, but around his eyes, the fabric sticks out an’ is lighter than the rest of him. From the time I was little kid he was my protector. He used to keep me safe from the witches, vampires, ghosts, and monsters that can come in through your window at night and get ya.”
One of the children whimpered.
“I didn’t know it for the longest time. I thought that I was just lucky. I thought all the monsters that were gettin’ other kids were leavin’ me alone. But then, one day, I woke up and found a footprint on my bed. I didn’t realize it at first, but it was demon’s foot print.”
“No...please stop...” a shaky little voice in the dark pleaded.
“Oh no, see you gotta know this since he’s at your house now. Bandit is a demon. He looks normal, like a stuffed raccoon in the day, but at night, he becomes my protector demon.”
“Stop it, I don’t believe you,” Marcia demanded from under her blanket.
“Sounds like your brother does." Jake had pulled his blankets up and buried his head under his pillow.
“I still don’t believe you.”
“You better be careful. He’s my protector demon and does what I say. You wouldn’t want him to protect me from you.” Meg laughed and shut the door behind her, casting the children in the near darkness of the room. The only light shown through a small window on a wall, and threw the crazy shadows of skeletal trees across the room.
The two children lay watching the shadows dance across the wall as the wind blew the thin limbs. Sounds of moaning emanated from downstairs, eventually changing to impassioned pleas for more and harder, finally dying away all together. In the new silence, each new sound--coupled with new shadows on the wall--filled the children with terror. At some point in the night, there was the sound of shuffling as if items were being moved aside. A shadow appeared on the wall, growing as it crossed the patch of light, then vanishing from sight. Somewhere, an owl called.
Their mother must have liked the man she was seeing, since he got another date the next night. Meg stood at the door listening to the last minute instructions their mother gave her. Jake and Marcia sat and watched with concealed dread. They knew that their silence would only buy them slightly less torture, but it was better than what Meg had promised to let Darren do to them if they did say anything.
“If you talk to your Mom, tell her that I’m sorry about seeing Billy. But he has a brother...”
Meg nodded. “You know how Mom can be. I’m sure she’ll feel better after tonight.”
“Okay. Well, tell her to call me tomorrow, we’ll all go out for breakfast.” She looked past Meg to her two frightened children. “Jake, Marcia, you be good for Meg. Have fun, I’ll be back after you’ve gone to bed.”
They smiled at her as best they could.
“We’ll have a great time, won’t we?” Meg turned a menacing glare on them.
“Uh-huh. Sure.” The children tried to sound excited.
Their mother left without another word.
Fifteen minuets later, Darren showed up. He escorted Meg to the couch. As usual, Jake and Marcia were told to look at the television, and if they even thought of looking back, Darren would do something terrible to them. As usual, it had its effect. Despite the heavy panting and the occasional giggle, Jake nor Marcia took their eyes away from the colorful cartoon characters dancing across the screen. Not even the animalistic grunt and Meg’s admonition of: “Darren, I told you not on the couch,” could rouse their attention.
Latter in the evening, a strange thing happened. Meg’s mother came to the door. In each arm she carried a ten-pound bag of flour. Meg reached for one, but her mother shrank away. “Oh no, this is mine. That slut has taken the last man from me. You watch the kids. I’ll let you get in on the other stuff.” Meg’s mother rushed past Jake and Marcia, into the kitchen.
“What is she doing?” Marcia asked.
“Shut up,” Meg snapped at her. “You sit there an’ watch TV an’ don’t say nothing.”
Darren thumped her hard on the back before she could finish the question. “Shut up ya little rat.”
Meg laughed. “Yeah, or I’ll let Darren have ya.” She paused and looked at the frightened children. “Or maybe Bandit.” Both Darren and Meg got a good laugh at that. Jake and Marcia sat staring at the television, but not watching.
In the kitchen, Meg's mother placed one of the bags of flower on the floor, then ripped the other one open. Everyone watched as the table, refrigerator, and cabinets disappeared in a white cloud of flower.
“Wait a minute,” Marcia stood up. “You can’t do that to my house!”
“Shut up Marcia, it’s just a joke.”
“Yeah, sit down ya little brat.” Darren put on his most menacing face.
“No, I’m telling my mom.”
Darren jumped up and grabbed her.
“Hey, you let my sister go!” Jake hopped to his feet and grabbed Darren’s arm.
Meg grabbed Marcia around the waist as Jake got a hold of Darren. “Come on. Let’s put ‘em in the closet.”
Her mother opened the door to the closet under the stairs as Meg shoved Marcia--fighting the whole way--in among the coats and boots. Darren brought Jake, rigid and frightened in his arms. He dropped the boy like a sack of potatoes on his sister, who was trying to regain her feet. Laughing, the three of them closed the door, shutting the children into absolute darkness.
“Oh wait,” Meg’s voice was muffled from the other side of the door. “Don’t start anything until I get back. There was silence for few seconds, then the sound of her feet on the stairs.
“Oh no,” Jake moaned.
A few more seconds of silence, then came the sound of her footsteps descending. There were a few giggles from the other side of the door. Suddenly, they were starring at a bright rectangle of light. Meg was nothing more than a dark form in it. “Here,” she said, struggling with laughter, “you guys can have Bandit to keep you company.”
She laughed harder as she dropped the stuffed raccoon at their feet.
“No,” Jake pleaded, tears streaming down his face, “don’t put the demon in here with us.” This brought fresh peals of laughter from the three on the other side of the door. The two children huddled against the back wall of the closet, trying to get as far away from Bandit as they could. The laughter continued long after they had been plunged into darkness again...
Meg’s eyes popped open. Something wasn’t right...
She sat up and surveyed her dimly lit room. Everything seemed all right and in place. Nothing wrong. Except her bladder was full.
She shook the weird feeling off. Nothing felt right at two o’clock in the morning...except maybe the thought of whining brats, afraid of a stuffed animal. The thought made her chuckle. That would teach ‘em.
She stepped into the hall and shuffled toward the bathroom. As she passed her mom’s door, however, she paused. There was a sound. She listened, and then heard it again: a thump followed by a tearing sound. It was nothing like the sound’s she heard from the room when her mother brought men home.
She knocked. “Mom, you okay?” There was another thump, followed by a snuffing sound. “Mom?” she called a little louder. "I’m coming in." She twisted the knob and pushed the door open.
What she saw in the dim light couldn’t be. It wasn’t right--wasn’t possible. But there it was.
She looked at the demon and it looked back with sinister, red glowing eyes. The large black wings looked like those of a bat and stretched from one wall of the room to the other. She looked away to the wreck that had been her mother’s room. The bed was destroyed, the dresser and mirror smashed, pillows and blankets soaked through with blood. Then she realized the demon was holding her mother.
At least, was what was left of her mother. The woman’s head lulled back at an angle; the places on her face that weren’t covered in blood showed a grimace of pain and horror. The demon held her by the exposed rib cage, standing on what remained of the lower half of her body. In the weak light, Meg saw the long trail of bloody organs trailing away from her mother’s torso.
The demon dropped the torso; there was a sick splattering sound as blood sprayed from the thick pool collected beneath the quivering pile of organs. It turned its red, glowing gaze on her. Meg backed away, shaking her head. This couldn’t be right--it had to be a dream.
As the demon approached her, Meg noticed a slightly raised spot around its eyes: a different colored strip that ran around its head, like a mask. A lighter-colored mask...
“Bandit?” she asked at the verge of belief.
“You gave me to the little girl,” it answered in a deep guttural voice. "I have become her protector."
Meg's full bladder let go as the demon sprang.
I began writing Horror, Bizarro, and Splatterpunk back in 4th grade. That year I was referred to the school psychologist after writing a story mimicking Edgar Allan Poe's The Tale-Tell Heart. Over the years, I have let my "sick mind" (quoted from so many authority figures) have its way with pen and paper. I tell people that I am a relatively new writer which is a nice way of saying unpublished.
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