Fiction Fragment Friday
This week is the third part of my Halloween exercise. What made this story different to write is that I don’t think I’ve ever written from the perspective of a small child before. I kept looking at the words I was using and trying to scale them back. On the other hand I wanted her inner dialog to show that she is more intelligent and aware than her vocabulary lets her express. I’m not sure if I succeeded on that point.
I have been thoroughly enjoying this process and looking forward to sharing the final two perspectives. I had a basic idea in mind when I started, but the story has continued to deepen and grow as it moves along. There are so many angles to the events that no single perspective would have provided and if I’m being honest I would not have thought of if I were not exploring the other perspectives.
It was a scary night. The rain poured down outside, and the thunder was so loud the windows kept rattling. Even our big fluffy dog Jack knew that it was dangerous, so he was hiding under the couch and whining. Sometimes I think Jack is smarter than daddy. Instead of hiding like we should have daddy picked me up and tried to calm me down. Being in his arms did make me feel a little better, but he just didn’t understand. I had to try to get him to. “But the Scary Woman comes when it storms.”
“We’ve talked about this baby. The Scary Woman isn’t real.” Daddy always says that. He has never seen her. If he had he would know.
“But Daddy I’ve seen her.” I try again. I just want to get through to him. He thinks I made up the Scary Woman with my imagination. I didn’t though. I have really seen her. I see lots of scary people, but she is different. She keeps coming back. Always during bad storms. The other scary people are just out there in the world, but the Scary Woman comes to my house. I am shaking because of how scared I am. I know she is coming, but it feels different this time.
“There, there child. It’d going to be ok.” My grandma puts her hand on my shoulder, and I stop shaking. She can do that. She makes me all calm even when I’m super scared. Daddy never sees her or talks to her though. I keep telling him that he’s being really rude, but all he ever says it that grandma is dead, and I shouldn’t talk about her. I don’t know what the word dead means, but I’m not going to stop talking about grandma. I love her and I won’t ignore her like he does. I look at her and she is smiling.
I look back at daddy and stare into his eyes. I am completely calm now, but I can feel her. I can’t really explain it, but I just know so I tell him. “She’s here.” My voice always sounds weird when grandma is touching me. I can’t really explain it, but daddy gives me weird looks when I talk. The Scary Woman is outside our front door though and daddy needed to know that. He is braver than me so maybe he won’t be scared. He is going to see her tonight I just know it. He sets me back down on the floor just in time for a loud banging sound on the front door. It is her and he is staring at the door.
“Come on Cathy lets go to your room. We have some work to do.” Grandma takes my hand, and we walk to my bedroom. When she lets go of my hand the fear comes rushing back so I jump on my bed and under the covers for protection. I know they won’t really protect me. I can feel the Scary Woman out there still just like I can feel grandma standing over me.
“The Scary Woman needs to go away,” I say.
“Yes she does Cathy dear. I think she has bothered you long enough. It’s time I taught you how to call my friend.”
“Oh yes dear. When the scary people keep coming it means that they are lost. If you call him, he will come and get them.”
“Why don’t you call him?” I didn’t want to talk to some stranger and daddy says I can’t use the phone unless he is there. I didn’t want to get in trouble.
“It has to be you dear.” She takes my hands and I feel calm again. She is under the blanket with me, but I don’t remember her crawling in and the blanket isn’t big enough for both of us. It is covering us both anyway though. Grandma always tells me not to worry about things like that and with her holding my hands I don’t. She puts my hands together with my two pointer fingers touching and my two thumbs touching. They make kind of a diamond shape. Then she asks me to say some words. I don’t know what the words are or what they mean. They sound like gibberish, but I say them. I can feel this strange sensation running all over me, but grandma is holding my hands so I am calm and still.
“You call and I am here to answer.” The voice came from a man wearing a black suit. He looked at me for a moment and then smiled. “Why hello there little miss I don’t believe we have met.”
“I’m Cathy. Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m just a friend of your grandmother’s and now I suppose I’m a friend of yours. So, what can I do for my new friend?”
“The Scary Woman is here, and she needs to stop coming here.”
He turned to look towards the living room. “Ah I see. She just ran off into the night. Don’t worry though I’ll take care of her.” He looked over at my grandma. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you Elizabeth my dear. She’s almost ready to take your place and when that day comes, I’ll be back for you.” Then he did some weird heel tapping thing and turned to walk away. I couldn’t see him anymore through the blanket, but I knew he was gone.
Daddy came back in the room. I could hear his footsteps on the floor. I could never feel him like grandma, the Scary Woman, or my new friend. “It’s ok now. The woman at the door is gone.”
Grandma was still holding my hand, so I was completely calm. “I know,” I told him. I did know. I could feel when she ran away even if my new friend hadn’t told me. I turned my head to look up at him. “It’s going to be ok now. He’s coming to get her. I called for him.” I was proud of myself for learning how to take care of problems like the Scary Woman, but my voice sounded all weird again.
Grandma let go of my hand and all these emotions rushed back into me. I was suddenly so tired and just wanted to sleep. I lay down in my bed ready to fall asleep, but when I blinked my eyes daddy was still standing over me looking really worried. I was surprised to see him still there but didn’t want him to worry. “Hi daddy. I’m not scared anymore. I am tired though. Goodnight.” I rolled over and fell right to sleep knowing the Scary Woman would never bother me again.