Spooky Halloween in advance everyone! This is my little (awfully late) offering and attempt to scare you!
When the wind chimes ring for no reason and a little girl believes too much…
“You frightened her.”
Patty’s eyes wetted and she hugged her brown teddy bear tight, keeping it close to her chest.
“Oh, it’s just a story! It’s not like real you know.” Hana made a face, then turned on the lights in the living room and dowsed the candle’s flame with her fingers.
James offered his hand and Patty grabbed it, locking her little fingers into his. He looked at her, big hazel eyes staring back at him with droplets of tears barely hanging on the corners. He caressed her curly auburn hair and smiled, reassuring her safety.
“It’s all okay Patty. There isn’t anything to be afraid of.”
Perhaps for a second or two Patty hesitated, as any child would. The scary story that Hana had just told was still powerful and quite real inside her head, and the vision of the Jaxinail and his horrific transformations, was fresh and vivid, as only a child could keep it and continue, in her own manner, to illustrate the described happening after meeting the monster. Because it would, as Hana had said, come for no reason really, as monsters rarely have one, other than hunger and joy from the sound of clacking bones, but it would surely come when all the lights go off and all the people are asleep, and it will devour the tiny body of the sleeping child, slowly swalloing it while no one hears or sees it, since the monster is usually invisible to everyone else, but the victim.
Patty pulled James’s hand.
“But, what if the Jaxinail comes after you go to sleep? And what if he…eats me? I don’t want to be eaten James!” Her mouth trembled and she sobbed, squeezing his hand again. There was genuine fear in her voice and a begging sparkle in her eyes for James to not send her to bed, at least not alone. He turned his gaze to Hana and frowned. She murmured a “sorry” and turned the TV on. He had agreed for them to tell stories while their parents are away, but was not expecting this new character to appear, none the less have such effect on his little sister. The old fright- to- behave stories were okay with Patty and she even laughed at them, but the Jaxinail, whoever that was, had crawled under her skin taking her captive in his false horror world. He couldn’t believe Hana had come up with such a disgusting story.
“Tell you what. I’ll stay by your bed all night long and make sure no Jaxi fellow comes.”
“On my pride as a brother! I am your faithful protector little princess! You know nothing takes me by surprise and nothing scares me right?”
Hand in hand James and Patty walked across the hall and up the stairs.
The door to Patty’s room swung open and James clicked the light switch. He tucked in the blanket and placed Mr. Bear in Patty’s hands. Then he pulled a wooden chest full of toys and sat on it.
“Go to sleep. I’m right here.”
Before closing her eyes Patty spotted something different in her room. It was in the blink of an eye, but when she heard the whistle of the wind, Patty fixated her terrified eyes on the window. There was no wind outside and the night was quiet.
Patty searched for the eerie noise again. Oddly it seemed to come from her painting, hung on the opposite wall.
There was light, maybe the moon or a street lamp, reflecting in the glass surface of the frame. Patty saw beyond her crayons.
It was windy in there, leaves rushing in the air in a mad spin, the branches of the big tree croaking with age and snapping like whips in the starless night. A shadow appeared in the distance and it came closer, then closer and closer, but it was many shadows now, many shapes all put into one. A hand, or was it a hand? reached and knocked on the inside of the painting. Thump, thump, thump the sound went.
Patty cried, her fear escalating quickly.
“What’s the matter Patty?” James was on his feet.
“He’s here! The Jaxinail is here!” She hid under the blanket.
“Nonsense Patty. Hana made him. He isn’t real.”
“Yes he is, yes he is, YES HE IS!”
And then, the link finally became real. The boundaries fell, dissolving into mist and the coyote laugh of the Jaxinail rang through the house. With it came the wind blowing through the rooms and the halls and the holes of the house, opening every door. Then the lights died, leaving them both in darkness, in cold and await. James found himself listening to the wind chime outside on the porch.
Patty’s scream grew weaker and weaker until it was lost and all there left was the wind chime and the realization.
Thump, thump, thump the sound went before the door slowly opened, and James thought “Here he comes”