My eyesight at seven was atrocious. I had to wear
glasses that were so thick that a good shake would
dislodge them. If I looked directly into the sun
unprotected, under that magnification my eyes would
shrivel up like dried apricots. My eyes shrink underneath
the magnification of the lenses and look like they
are in somebody else's head. In short, without my
glasses, I can see only blurred images and it is
only from a few inches that things become clear.
am also afraid of the dark, so at seven I had a
nightlight. Whether this is because of some fear
of the dark itself or of things that hid in the
dark is not clear. If asked, I just didn't like
it dark. However I didn't know what fear was. I
was just beginning to learn that it was far better
to imagine what lurks in the dark than to have those
dad loved surprising us with special things. If
we were under the weather, my Dad would always come
home with something fun for us. Other times it was
something silly just to make us laugh. This one
time he had brought home something truly unique.
However this wasn’t meant to amuse or entertain
us. I’m sure that he meant only to embarrass
us, thinking that we’d understand the joke
right away. However, he didn’t count on my
poor eyesight combined with my vivid imagination.
our room was a near full size female mannequin.
She was cut off around the waist level but was otherwise
completely "life-like". My father had
placed this in our room while we slept and he placed
our clothes in her outstretched arms. She was also
completely nude and to seven and eight-year old
boys, this is not even remotely appealing.
you are in near darkness and you can't see very
well, though, she looks entirely different. In the
dim light and blurred vision, she looked like my
mother laying out our clothes for the next day.
I called out to her. "Mom? Mom, is that you?"
course, I had no response and I began to get frightened.
I couldn't tell what time it was, so I didn't know
how long she was there. My imagination started supplying
my taxed and tired brain with explanations. What
if she had died putting out our clothes? Our selfless
mother, slaved to death while we slept. Maybe she
had called to us for help and we didn't hear her.
"Come, save your poor mother, boys!" she
could have yelled and we just snored away oblivious!
yelled louder, "MOM!" only to hear silence.
decided to get up and see if she was all right.
Perhaps she was choking and couldn't talk and could
only gesture helplessly while her sons blinked in
confusion mere feet away. So I stood up and peered
closer until I could see clearly.
for me, of course, was about three inches away from
her face. Close enough to see that the EYES WERE
PAINTED ON! Somehow to me, this was the worst. A
wooden head would be fine, but those blue eyes painted
with only rough detail, looking more dead than alive.
I was terrified and I ran back into bed, slamming
the covers over my head. Yes, the covers would save
me, they always had!
IS that thing? I thought. Maybe it has taken possession
of Mom and that's because it looks so much like
her! Maybe its taken control of both of them and
Dad's somewhere else in the house, a painted-on
robot! Oh no! I gasped. Maybe it has taken control
of Nick in the next bed and I'm the only one in
the house ALIVE!
was at this moment, possibly due to the excitement,
that my bladder took control of the situation and
told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to get
up immediately. I had to obey because the alternative
was too dire and humiliating to speak of. I couldn't
hold out and I had to get up. But the problem was...
how did I get up and get past that... that imposter
of my mother?!
decided to just run past it. I figured that maybe
it had taken the others in the house unawares but
that I might be spared because I was on the alert!
I was wise to their game! I peeked out from under
the covers and saw that IT hadn't moved. So maybe
it was resting, perhaps even sated from its meal
(or meals!) and I could get past. I looked ahead
and saw that the door was also open. That was good,
too. So far a lot was in my favor. Well, except
for my family being turned into monsters, that is!
whipped up the covers and ran past it hoping that
the whipping of the covers might make it think that
I was much larger than I actually was. There was,
of course, no time to check this as I ran past the
thing, straight across the hall and into the bathroom.
As I clicked the door shut behind me, I breathed
a sigh of relief. I was past it! I hadn’t
heard a sound, either, so it seemed to be safe now.
sat down and attended to business. I decided that
flushing was much too risky. I didn't want to alert
anyone that I was on to their game. Still terrified,
I ran into my parent's room. I could hear breathing,
so I knew that my Dad was in there. Good. He’s
still alive. I called out in a whisper.
There was a tense pause in breathing, then I heard
it continue in rhythm. I needed to yell louder if
I was going to get his attention. "DAD!"
There's something in my room!"
I heard something, which chilled me even further.
It froze the blood in my young veins to icewater,
nearly stopping my heart. I heard giggling! Actual
laughter! I was right! They had taken Dad over,
too! I started to panic, thinking that this was
it for me. I reached around for something to defend
myself with. Bah! Nothing! Defeated, I began a few
prayers. At least my soul would be safe before they
got me. I only hoped that it would be painless.
the laughter, I heard spoken words and I heard my
Dad regain control and he explained that things
were OK. I head my Mom’s resigned sigh. "You
started this one, so you can get up and make sure
he can sleep."
Dad got up and took my hand. We turned on the lights
and, with the return of my eyesight, I could see
that the mannequin really didn't look much like
Mom at all. Afterwards, Mom was actually dismayed
for a while that I had thought it looked like her
but I told her that I wasn't able to see much anyway.
Plus she should be flattered that I thought so.
I thought that the mannequin was actually kind of
pretty (but I didn’t admit this to anyone).
The teasing would be murder.
brother thought it was the funniest thing in the
world that I thought this was even real and razzed
me about it for weeks afterwards. “You thought
that was Mom? Ha!” It was a source of amusement
and derision for him and supplied him with many
comebacks. However neither one of us were able to
take down our clothes off of the mannequin. We dressed
ourselves that day and I may have looked silly going
to school, but at least I didn't have to touch a
read more stories,
head over to http://www.danspeziale.com.