Short Story: Quality Time
This idea all came about in less then twelve hours. I had been playing with the idea of writing a full-fledged novel as of late, but then this idea came about so I thought to myself just to write it as a short story and see how it comes about. I got the idea or the inspiration from the idea of a father checking under the bed for monsters at the request of his son, only to come face to face with his terrified son under the bed. My imagination went wild with it and the simple fact that in the horror genre, nothing scares me more then little haunted children acting creepy, it was all I could think about thus this story was born. I hope you enjoy it.
It is a dark, stormy night. Raindrops keep clacking against the windows of inside the home where a man sits alone working studiously on some final papers that he is grading. As another crack of thunder is heard throughout the house and seemingly shaking it’s older wooden walls, he decides to put his reading glasses down on his table. He turns his light off after seeing that his clock reads 10:00pm. He takes a deep breath and another swig of the scotch he poured himself long ago.
“Bottoms up.” The man says.
He felt the need to drink such hard liquor seeing how his students were most likely under the affects of alcohol as they wrote their dreadful papers. The man stands up and stretches deciding to go upstairs and head to bed. Before doing so, he does his rounds throughout the house making sure that is locked up. He stops when he sees a picture of he, his wife and his son. His wife is away on a business trip so it is just him and his son. After he finished his rounds he checked on his son, Patrick. He cracked the door open slowly and saw Patrick rolling around in bed. Maybe the storm had bothered him, the man thought. He walked in slowly and leaned over the bed to tuck his son in. Their eyes met and Patrick stopped fidgeting about.
“Daddy, can you check under the bed for monsters?” Patrick muttered in a cute and innocent voice.
The man chuckled to himself over how adorable his son’s plea was. To amuse his son, he followed through getting down to his knees and bending down to check under the bed. At that moment it seemed that the rain hitting against the windows became louder and more ferocious. The storm had begun to pick up even more. It was hard to see under the bed but then, something in the darkness began to move closer and closer to the man. He ran his hands over his eyes, thinking that they had been playing tricks on him. When he opened his eyes he saw that the figure was Patrick who looked terrified and that he had been crying. The man was utterly confused but then Patrick began to attempt to put words together.
“Dad, there is someone on my bed.” Patrick quivered and whispered as if the words escaped his mouth. He covered his mouth immediately and tried to hold back his tears but kept failing.
The man began to tremble at the thought of what may actually be in his son’s bed but he had to be strong for Patrick. He collected his breath and slowly rose to his feet to see that no one was there in Patrick’s bed. His heart began to race and it was as if all sound had cut out. All he could hear was the pounding in his chest which seemed to fade when he heard the door behind him creek open some more. He heard the laughter of a child followed by the sound of a child running through his hallway. Thud thud thud, it was as if the footsteps rang louder and louder throughout the house. Again, he tried to find the courage within himself to turn around to face whatever this thing that looked like his son was. He even began to have a moment of doubt. Maybe he had just had too much to drink. Maybe this was some kind of insanely vivid dream and he had nodded off into sleep at his work desk. However, the fight or flight response inside himself kicked in and he walked through the door heading towards the childish laughter.
The more he heard the laughter, the less it sounded like Patrick and something else. Something much more sinister. It almost began to become more of a cackle then a laugh. Making matters worse, the storm continued to pick up. The wind pushed against the walls, thunder cackling through the dark and dreary night while the rain continued to smack against the windows so hard it was as if the rain drops were trying to break in.
“What do you want?” He asked, but his voice cracked at the end scared of what the response might be.
“I just want to play daddy.” The voice echoed through the house.
The man continued down the stairs, afraid that he might find a demonic version of his son or Freddy Krueger at the fire place giving him the creepiest of smiles right before he gets sliced and diced. He turned from his stairs to face his living room and heard the cracking of wood burning coming from his fireplace. He knew he didn’t but any wood in his fireplace, why would anyone during a storm. In front of the fireplace was Patrick. Or what looked like Patrick.
“What are you?” He muttered.
“Daddy, I am your son!” The boy smiled and ran to his father giving him a hug.
“Since when did you start calling me Daddy? You haven’t said that since you were much younger.” He nervously asked.
“Why won’t you just play with me, Daddy?” The boy responded.
“You are not my son.” The man whispered.
“Daddy?” The boy laughed maniacally.
“I don’t know what you are, but get out of my house.”
The boy continued to laugh like a madman with his head tilted to the side staring at the man. It seemed to never blink or move. It was as if it had become a statue that could laugh. The more terrified the man became, the louder the laughter became and it began to echo throughout the house. It was mocking the man. The man felt conflicted, unsure as to what to do. He knew this thing was not his son, but it looked like his son so he couldn’t bring himself to harm it. Something had to be done though. He clasped his hands over his ears as it began to echo throughout his eardrums. He fell to his knees in pain and slowly began to inch closer and closer to the boy. As he did so, the boy seemed to get taller and taller standing over the man. Eventually, he had enough.
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!” He yelled after braving through the pain in his ears and grabbing the boy.
He took the boy who was still staring at him and laughing and carried him outside where he threw him down the hill that his house stood on top of. He didn’t care where it landed; he just wanted the thing out. It was not his son. He wasn’t even sure if it was human. He slammed the door shut after disposing of it, took a deep breath and looked at the fire place. The wood and fire was gone, as if it were all a part of his imagination. The storm began to lighten up and was seemingly passing. He felt relief. Maybe it was all just a bad dream, or time to lay off the scotch after all. Still, he made sure to lock the door. He turned to go back upstairs and check on Patrick once more. As soon as Patrick saw his father, he went running towards him and jumped into his father’s arms. The man felt relieved and embraced his son. He could feel his son doing the same.
“It’s all okay now?” Patrick asked.
The man looked around shaking his head up and down with a smile on his face. “Yeah I think it will be bud.”
The two shared a laugh together and continued to embrace each other. The storm had now completely passed over and the man began to think that it was once again time for bed. He carried Patrick back to the bed and laid him under the covers. Patrick was a little hesitant at first, but exhaustion kicked in above all else. The man tucked him in and leaned in to give him a kiss on his forehead. In that moment, a feeling of dread sunk into his very bones. That same laugh echoed throughout the house once more. Patrick began to quiver once more and got closer to his father. The laughter rose in volume and all at once stopped.
“So, are we all going to play now?” The voice asked.