Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
David Andrew Kinyon had a problem. He was nine years old, and still only four feet tall, making him shorter than all the boys, and even some of the girls in his class, a mortifying fact that he preferred to never speak of. David Andrew Kinyon also had a far more pressing and persistent issue. He suffered from a remarkably skittish personality, and even the simplest prank scares could easily reduce him to tears. Despite this unfortunate temperament, David had the unhealthy habit of reading stories that would scare him out of his wits; the strange thing was, he couldn’t seem to stop reading them. The idea of the unknown fascinated him, and he was filled with the wonder that only a child could experience about how much we really knew about the world around us, and what ghastly creatures might watch us while we sleep.
That fascination melted away completely when David had to climb into bed and turn off his night light, plunging himself into darkness, alone. When David found himself staring wide-eyed into the darkness, he could feel his heart pound faster and his breath catch on its way up his throat. Most of the time he would be able to quiet his fears, and simply huddle into the safety of his blankets until sleep claimed him; he would awake the next day refreshed and completely unscathed, and proceed to laugh at himself for his fears.
Yet there were still the times when David Andrew Kinyon was unable to fall asleep, and as he continued to stare into the darkness of his room, pure, undiluted fear would begin to run through his veins as he tried to identify shapes in the dark that didn’t seem to belong in his room. All the monsters he had ever read about would run through his brain and leer at him from different corners of his room. Those nights were the worst, when he was forced to endure the late night terrors on his own, too proud to cry out for his mother, who would simply turn on the light and enfold him in her warm, loving arms. Those were the nights when David found himself trapped between the exhaustion that begged him to sleep, and the fear that kept him awake better than any form of caffeine ever could.
Tonight was one of those nights. The moment David turned on his side after what had felt like an eternity of trying to fall asleep and saw that it was already 11:00 p.m., he knew that it was going to be a long and scary night. It didn’t help that he had to wake up for school the next day. He tried to listen to the sound of the washing machine and using it to help lull him to sleep, and it proved effective until he became irritated by the clicking noises that occasionally issued from it. His heightened awareness of the washing machine became a nuisance, and he frowned in annoyance. The blankets draped over his body began to feel too hot, and David considered kicking them off to assist him in falling asleep more quickly. Yet with his entire body exposed to the darkness of his room, David found himself feeling deeply unnerved and vulnerable to the malevolent forces that could be waiting right by his bed. Quickly he pulled the covers over himself again, as if worried some entity under his bed may have taken advantage of the moment to pull the blankets away from him. He swathed his body in the blankets, forming a makeshift cocoon, all thoughts of discomfort fleeing from his mind. The warmth and the almost peaceful silence began to comfort him, and David found himself finally drifting off into merciful sleep.
Suddenly, a noise sounded from within his walls that made his blood turn to ice.
A clicking, rhythmic tapping noise. This was no mere settling of the house, and no figment of David Andrew Kinyon’s imagination would be able to invoke the fear that caused his entire body to become paralyzed by fear as the magnitude of something unexplainable and dangerous being in such close proximity to his little nine-year-old self hit him. David did what any normal child would; he cried out for his mother. However, terror had stolen his voice away, and the only thing he could manage was a faint squeak that quickly dissipated into inky blackness around him. The noise continued, and David curled himself into a ball, trying to make himself as small as possible. Tears leaked out of his eyes as he realized he was absolutely defenseless, and he prayed to God that all this was nothing more than an extremely vivid dream that he would wake up from in no time.
As abruptly as they had begun, the noises stopped. David Andrew Kinyon let out a quiet sigh. In the silence, he could hear the washing machine again, churning through his clothes. Yet David remained afraid, taking in rapid, shallow breaths, worried that something might be trying to hear him. He cast a terrified look at the wall behind him, the source of the sound. He had to make sure that this was just his imagination, and the only way he would be able to prove it was by knocking back. So he took a deep breath, rapped his knuckles on the wall, and waited.
There was a second of silence, and then the clicking, tapping noise began anew. Fear shot through little David’s veins; something was inside his walls.
David Andrew Kinyon lay in bed, frozen by fear. The realization that he could nothing to escape this creature was crushing, but his fear of death and his desperation screamed at him to do something to live. David fell completely silent, praying that if the thing thought he had fallen asleep, it would leave him alone. He could not move; he could not scream; the only thing he could do was remain absolutely, completely still.
Yet the tapping noise continued, apparently uncaring of the circumstances beyond the walls. David’s eyebrows contracted, and he frowned. Surely an intelligent creature would have stopped by now, realizing that it had done enough to terrify its victim. Cautiously, he rapped on the wall again, yet the clicking showed no signs of ceasing.
Suddenly, the washing machine stopped, and with it stopped that terrible noise.
David Andrew Kinyon nearly cried in relief; it had been his washing machine all along! The noises were the sounds of water dripping from a potentially leaky pipe located in his wall. Sighing in relief, David contentedly snuggled down into his blankets and prepared to enjoy what was a well-deserved good night’s sleep.
When the tapping sounded up again, David managed to ignore it at first. He assumed it was the washing machine making its last run. It was nothing to worry about.
Suddenly, David Andrew Kinyon’s eyes snapped open.
The washing machine had long ago ceased.
David’s mind screamed at him IMPOSSIBLE
“There’s no such thing as monsters, there’s no such thing as monsters… ” David repeated frantically to himself; tears streamed down his cheeks as the tapping noise traveled from behind his wall to, somehow inexplicably, below his bed. Admitting defeat, David balled his blankets around him and began to sob in despair as the tapping traveled closer and closer to the edge of his bed.
A thin, emaciated hand with impossibly long nails gently, almost lovingly, peeled away the blankets, and David Andrew Kinyon finally found his voice to scream.
Credit To – Nini Li