Thursday, October 31, 2013

Under the Bed

     It was all because of something she had read in the Bible…words about common dust. Not the kind of grit people in the old stories piled on their heads when they were sad or bad or mad; but the kind the Almighty first scraped together in his muscular hands, and then blew on with his everlasting breath to make a man.

     For you are of dust, and to dust you shall return…

     But I was only four and too little to understand the connection when, one day while she was cleaning the house, Mama looked under my bed and declared, “Mercy, there’s someone either coming or going under here!”

     Like most children, I had my suspicions, but now Mama had confirmed it: those same dust balls that grew mysteriously under my bed when I wasn’t looking would keep on growing into fearful, inhuman creatures with dusty hands, dusty fingers, and dusty claws that could reach out and grab my ankles as I climbed into bed at night. No nightmare in the closet could compare to the one I now believed was lurking beneath my bed. I soon began catapulting myself across the room and into bed like a young pole-vaulter in training. Step, step, stride—and than a long shivering leap into the middle of the mattress. Even then, I didn't feel completely safe.

     When I stayed in my sister’s guesthouse recently, I returned to the cottage every night after dark. Before washing up and changing into my pajamas I opened the shower door, the cleaning cupboard, and the clothes closet to make sure I was alone. Last of all I kneeled down on the carpet to check under the bed. Odd. I never do that at home.

     "The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real. I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle."

                                                                  ~ Stephen King ~

Bible quote from Genesis 3:19


  1. Isn't it strange that we never told our parents about these fears? I didn't anyway, not even the time I swallowed pennies, balancing them on my tongue. And I remember when my little grandson absolutely freaked out when his other grandmother told him that she wanted to put a bug in his ear. Such a gap in communication between the generations.

    The Stephen King quote is one of my favorites too! If you get time to look, I used it as one of my fun scary quotes with my Hallowe'en Mantel, a couple of posts back, where I used my actual family pictures to scare people. Hope Great-Grandmother is not mad at me!

  2. It was, in fact, you who inspired my use of the quote. I was already writing this post for Halloween when I read it on your blog. I thought it a perfect way to end my story.

  3. I can still vividly remember my fear of what might be lurking under the bed. Now we keep boxes of Christmas ornaments under the bed, but you just don't know what can crawl in and hide in those boxes.

  4. I have a similar fear anyone lurking in my car inside the garage? I check the car before I lock the house doors for the night :)

  5. What hairy hands, dear Ms End! I wonder if I might borrow them for my next powerpoint presentation? They will work wonders with the yardsticks.