Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Halfway between sleep and waking, I became aware of a hideous presence. I felt like whatever it was, it had entered my body, taken over my every breath and was sucking my life away.
I then caught the damp, putrid stench of something unworldly in my nostrils and as my eyes came open, I was staring into the cruel, burnt out, beady eyes of that damned clown doll.
How the hell did it get off the shelf, onto my bed and in the middle of my chest?
The dim glow of the night-light enabled me to discern that my ventriloquist dummy, Mr. McCarthy and glamorous flapper doll Darling Esmeralda, were still on the shelf but knocked over. Just how the hell did that happen?
This year I sent away for a silly clown doll in the mail. I guess my first indication of trouble might have been that the mailman got a flat tire in front of my house on the day “Creepy Calvin” arrived. But flat tires do happen, so I paid it no mind.
I played around with Creepy Calvin a bit that first day; listened to his recorded voices by pushing his torso and noted he had the most blood-curdling laugh I’d ever heard.
By evening I decided he ought to take his place beside Darling Esmeralda, so on the shelf he went, to live until Halloween. Darling Esmeralda didn’t seem to mind and Mr. McCarthy rolled his eyes but didn’t utter a peep.
Because I almost never dream, I was shocked when I had an entire night filled with nightmares during Creepy Calvin’s first night with me — horrid, Technicolor, 3-D, bloody, insane nightmares.
The second night the nightmares got way worse if that’s possible and I ended up not sleeping the entire night because I was afraid to go to sleep.
The next day I tried to recall any changes that might have recently happened in my life that would have brought on these scary dreams. Of course! They started the night Creepy Calvin arrived.
What to do? I put him outside in the bright sunlight for a week, because it seemed that might “purify” his spirit.
I also sprayed him with rosewater, practically buried him in crystals, sprinkled him generously with pink Himalayan sea salt, and burned sage around him. I looked him in his wicked little eyes before I brought him in the house again and his presence didn’t seem to have changed, but I bravely wanted to give it another try.
Back up on the shelf he went and as I placed him there, Darling Esmeralda kept sliding away from Creepy to lean against Mr. McCarthy’s arm. Did she know something I didn’t?
Her lovely face always had the kindest, sweet expression but I noticed her pretty brows had a slight frown, however, I paid this no attention.
Creepy Calvin must have really gotten steamed at me for putting him outside in the sun and performing rituals on him because he found a way to climb off that shelf and get right smack in my face that first night he was back in the house.
No nightmares, just Creepy right up in my face, doing his evil whatever it was to me, sucking my every breath.
I sat straight up in bed, grabbed that little monster’s arm and flung him against the wall. Of course it activated his horrifying laugh-recording, but this time it sounded like a real, genuine human laugh. I was terrified but mad at the same time.
I figured if I took him outside and buried him deep in the ground I could get rid of his nasty evil. Surely that would work.
Even though it was the middle of the night, I went out and dug a deep, deep hole and flung Creepy Calvin into it, face down. There, I fixed him but good.
Happy with myself, I came back in the house and went back to bed, very sure I had solved the problem once and for all. I slept like a rock the rest of the night and was very pleased with myself for such a brilliant solution.
However, the next morning when I woke up, the first light of dawn revealed a trail of dirt from the foot of my bed up to my pillow.
Fresh, damp, tiny, and muddy footprints to be exact.
By Susie Christian

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