Monday, January 11, 2010
The ancestral clock strikes 12, and in the pitch darkness Joey tries to adjust his eyes, it was difficult to see anything.
He turned to the other side of the bed, away from his mother and faced the window where the full moon illuminates behind the capiz shell window panels, creating odd shapes, black random shapes cast against the window by the intricately penetrating light of the full August moon. The boy was desperate to go back to sleep except that he couldn’t force himself to do so. The striking of the midnight bell from the humongous clock reverberated into his sleep awakening the child.
“Think happy thoughts Joey and cuddle up close to your mother”.
“I will have that tree cut down, son, if that’s what causing you all this trouble.”
He remembered his conversations with his father about the sleep disorder and how he can manage it. For months now, Joey has been deluged with nightmares, odd terrifying dreams and his parents are worried. With his father away on a provincial assignment, the boy's paranoia is even more chillingly felt on this particular night.
“That one looks like a dove:… the boy whispered to himself as he singled out a particularly odd shadow on the extreme left side of the window. A bundle of leaves hanging from the branch of the tree extending up to their bedroom window blocking the moonlight created the bird-shaped figure along with the strange mosaic of shadows cast against the window’s entire length
“There’s a plane… a dog?” Joey decided to pass the time and amuse his imagination with the shapes he can make out of the shadows. Until something caught his eyes.
It was difficult at first to make sense out of that single image but as he soon as became fixated and adjusted to the dark, slowly it unraveled… the huge crooked beak-like nose, big bulging eyes, the long flowing hair, and finally the unmistakable profile of the old woman seemed to gradually configure into a familiar unmistakable vision.
He felt the blood rush to his head, his hair rising instantly as he watched the profile move. Looking into his direction, as if she knew he was there. And then the bony claw-like hands reached into the window panel, trying to open it. At last, Joey let out a huge scream and Linda nearly jumped out of bed.
“Oh God Joey, my poor son, you’re feverish again, hush up now… I’m here… calm down, and stop crying son, don’t be afraid.”
She massaged his head and sang her gently back to sleep.
Then Linda walked up to the window wondering how she could have left it partly open. She looked outside and under the moonlit night, she saw what remains of the stump of the tree that Ronald felled on the Sunday before he left.
And how they thought the nightmare’s over.