25 Aug Scratch
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Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
I could say I was having a pretty peaceful life. I just graduated high school and is about to enter college in a week, to which my mom is really proud of because I decided to pursue something great for my life instead of just applying for McDonalds or something. Anyway, everything was going along pretty normal, until one day I overheard my mom talking to someone through the phone.
“Who was that mom?” I asked because she looked sorry for something, like a friend had a problem and she was feeling sorry for her.
“Oh, just our old neighbor. Remember that house we lived in many years back? He said the family that moved after us just left yesterday.”
My brows just furrowed, since I couldn’t recall living in a house other than this one. Then my mom softly laughed and patted my back. “You probably don’t remember because you were too little.”
“Really? Why did we move away?”
“We moved because of you, honey.” She chuckled as she waved it off with her hand. “You kept on bugging me about some monsters or whatever. To be honest, we wouldn’t have left there if your aunt didn’t offer this house for only half the price. A lot cheaper, and you kept on complaining back there anyway so I just agreed to move.”
I just nodded in understanding, though I still couldn’t recall what she was saying. Eventually I just let it go and continue with my business. Making sure my papers are complete, packing my stuff that I’ll surely need; you know, the usual things to prepare before you move away and enter a new part of your life. The next day, I guess I could say boredom and curiosity just attacked me out of nowhere, and the idea of visiting that old house crossed my mind. I asked my mom, and I was actually surprised when I found out it was just a 15-minute drive away. You guessed it right; I did go to the house, and as soon as I stood there in front of the empty driveway, the memories started flooding back like a light switch was flipped open. And I did remember the little me complaining about something almost everyday during breakfast, but I just laughed it off, thinking that it was probably just my wild imagination as a kid.
I carefully approached the door, just in case someone was still in there even though mom said the family moved out and the house is probably empty by now. I tried to opened the door, not really expecting it to be open, so I was surprised when it did open. Maybe I’m just lucky, eh? Anyway, the house still had a lot of furniture around, and I actually remember myself doing childish stuff on them like jumping on the sofa or scribbling on the cabinets. I could only chuckle as the memories flashed by my eyes like I was watching a movie. Eventually, I found my way to my old room, and my small bed was still there on a corner, like all these years it has never been moved the other way. The tiny amused smile on my face faded away as I started to remember what I was fuzzing about while we still lived here.
I kept on complaining about a monster under my bed. Every night before I sleep, mom would check and assure me that nothing is under there, but as soon as the lights are off and mom is gone, I start to feel those long, slow scratching right against the wood under my bed. I could even feel it vibrating through the mattress and the thick blanket I wrapped myself with in fear. Eventually, I’ll fall asleep despite of the incredible fear and wake up the next morning crying.
As I stood there at the doorway, this new surge of curiosity flowed right through me. I dunno; that “monster under the bed” was probably just the usual stuff kids tend to imagine, but I wanted to fulfill this silly curiosity so why not? I walked closer to the bed and took deep breaths. For some reason, being near it sent an eerie sensation up my back, but I tried to shake it away. With one heave, I lifted the whole bed and propped it against the wall. I was ready to laugh at myself for doing that for nothing, but horror washed all that away as I saw long, deep scratches against the wood. There were just so many to the point that some parts of the wood were already too thin and could break with just a single poke.
I couldn’t believe it.
Gasping, I scrambled out the room and out of the house. I was about to enter my car when an elderly woman from next door called out to me.
“May I help you?” She said with narrowed eyes. Darn. She probably thought I was stealing something from the house. Wiping the sweat off my face, I awkwardly approached her.
“I was uhh… I used to live here. I was just checking out what’s new.” I half expected that she wouldn’t believe me, but then her eyes widened as if she recognized me.
“Oh! Are you that little superman kid?” She made awkward little gestures that looked like dancing. “The one that always danced like this in the backyard?”
It was funny how the embarrassment was able to wash away the horror in a blink. Yeah, I remember that. “Y-yeah…”
“Oh my gosh you’ve grown so much!” She said all teary eyed and hugged me tight, then started mumbling things like she and mom were friends and they always came over. Only when she mentioned about a call that I realized she was the one mom was talking to yesterday.
“Did you decide to visit because I called yesterday?”
I glanced at the house, but this time, fear crept inside my heart instead of nostalgia.
“Yes, sort of… You said the family just moved out of here?”
“Yeah, they were such a nice family.” She said sadly as she followed my gaze. “Too bad they had to move away.”
“Why did they move away?”
“Quite silly, actually.” She chuckled, but the sorry look remained on her face.”But I guess they’re just ready to do anything for their kids. The mom told me that their youngest daughter won’t stop whining over something for months. It stressed the parents so much and even their older daughter. They had to endure the little one’s whining, but then I guess they eventually got tired of it decided to move away.”
The same eerie feeling started to crawl up my spine once again, but I pushed on my curiosity and asked another question. But boy, little did I know that I’ll only regret that I ever asked that.
“What was the girl whining about?”
The older woman paused for a bit, as if to try to remember, but quickly returned her attention to me with a smile. “You know, just some usual children stuff. Someone scratching under her bed or something.”
Credit To – Euwonlol