Breaking the Silence- my short story.

Hey people! 🙂

I was going to write this post a few days earlier, but I was actually writing this story for a loooong time, and then rewriting bits of it, and wondering whether I should actually post it and whether I like it, and then I ended up with a migraine yesterday, so hopefully I can do it today. The title was meant to be only for the draft but I didn’t have a better idea so I left it as it was. I based it on the following prompt from The Goddess Journaling Workbook by Beatrix Minerva Linden:

I welcome new adventures. Imagine the most exciting adventure which could happen to you tomorrow. Write a short story about it. You don’t have to keep things realistic: allow yourself to dream big.

And as you can see, I did allow myself to dream very big. As always, apologies for any linguistic shortcomings and do let me know if you see something about the language that could be improved as I’m not a native and have only wrote a few stories in English so far. Also, a little note to the bit at the end of the story, about the old lady and the “guide cat”. It was inspired by a few stories I’ve heard from different guide dog owners who said that people often talk to their dogs, rather than to them, or believe some strange things like that guide dogs can read traffic signs.

Okay, here goes:

Breaking the Silence

“Oh, wow!” – I exclaimed in my brain, looking at the clock- “4 AM! Is it really?!” For the last six and a half hour, I was writing another chapter of my Jack Hamilton novel, or perhaps I should say saga at this point. I hadn’t touched it for ages, but today I must have caught up on all that time. While writing, I didn’t feel the passing time whatsoever, just like it always was back when I used to write the novel regularly, every single night at school, because when you spend time with someone as interesting as Jack Hamilton, there would be something badly wrong with you if you paid any attention at all to such a trivial thing as time. Now that I stopped writing though, and my brain hit the hard surface of the real world, the tiredness and lack of sleep hit me just as hard. Satisfied with the result of my efforts and with having been able to hang out with Jack for so long, I turned the computer off, put some music on and went to bed. Very unusually, Misha was already waiting for me in his bed, sound asleep. Usually he only comes when I call him, and when I go to sleep this late, it’s rare that he would still be waiting for me. I felt really happy to have him close to me. I laid next to him, and very soon, as for my standards, I followed him to Dreamland.

* * * * *

I was still in a deep sleep, floating from one dream to another, when I heard a very faint sound coming, as it seemed, from the real world. It felt vaguely familiar, and there was something urgent about it, but I was way too sleepy to care, and just ignored it. Admittedly, a part of me was pretty sure that it already must be indecently late for sleep, but really, what’s decency gotta do with sleep at all? I kept on dreaming. After all, you don’t get nice dreams every night, certainly not if you’re me, so why should I give up on cool dreams featuring Jack Hamilton just because there’s something squealing in my room? Or whatever is it doing. After a while though, the sound repeated, pulling me out of my new dream, but still not out of sleep. “Perhaps there’s a baby somewhere” – I thought, and fell in a deep sleep again. – The little sounds repeated more and more frequently, getting louder with each time, now making it impossible to sleep deeply and peacefully, but I was still too sleepy to fully wake up, even though with every such sound, deep down I felt an increasing sense of that I actually should for some reason. After a while they turned into wailing, and became even more annoying. Then the wailing turned into proper crying, and then started to morph into words:

“Pleeeeeaaaaase, wake up, I really, really need to pee.”

and then suddenly my consciousness started working properly. Or semi-properly. It must be Misha. Why didn’t I leave the door opened so that he could get out whenever he’d wake up? How funny that my brain started to make up words to his meowing. While I usually love waking to Misha greeting me with his little sounds and cuddle him before letting him out in the morning, when I have a late night it’s definitely not as pleasant to get out of bed just to open the door for Misha, even if I can go straight back to bed immediately. I sat up slowly and checked the time, while the now very agitated Misha jumped at the door. “What? It can’t be 1 PM already.” – I thought. “Misha wouldn’t be here by now. Sure someone would let him out”. Misha usually wakes up earlier than any of us, so when my Mum doesn’t see him downstairs when she gets up, she often checks whether he is in my room,and sometimes lets him out, because, just like me, she likes very much his presence in the morning, and when he’s not there, it feels very empty. Also she doesn’t understand that a lot of the time I find it very pleasant to be able to see Misha first thing in the morning and that it’s pure pleasure to let him out, because for her it would be a nuisance, so she does it for me as well.

“Hey, Mishmish, what are you still doing here?” – I asked groggily. –

“Hmmm, let’s think… Purrhaps because my so called “mummy” likes her sleep more than me, and no one else can be bothered to open the flipping door?”

I jumped up to the ceiling. What was that?! Have I gone totally mad now? I was frantically trying to come up with an excuse for what has just happened. Maybe Zofijka is in a silly mood and making some weird pranks? Or perhaps seriously I’ve got some bad hallucinations. I was ready to admit there must be something in what people say that I’m too obsessed with Misha.

“Misha?” – this was the only thing I was able to say.

“Misha, Shmisha!”.

I didn’t know what more could I say… Then suddenly my confusion and fear turned into pure amusement. I fell back on the bed heavily and started laughing heartily at myself. OMG, my brain must be really off that I am wide awake and still seriously consider the possibility that my cat can talk. Too much silly playing with Sofi.

“What’s so funny?!” – the little voice grew more annoyed. – Still laughing, I thought that “Actually, what’s so wrong about it? I’ve always talked to Misha so now I should be happy I can also hear him. Who cares if I’m the only one who does? Let’s just go with the flow!”. –

“When you’ll be as old as me, Misha, you’ll notice that most things are funny, even if they aren’t.”

“Deign to remember that I’m already older than you, I’m over 30 in peep years. Now, will you finally let me out so I can go to the loo or should I do it on the carpet?”

“Oh, Misha!!!”

“What, Misha”.

“Have you really been waiting all day long for me to let you out?”

I immediately remembered the time when Sasha was still with us, and when we were going for a day-long pilgrimage. Despite Misha and Sasha weren’t getting along with each other, Mum decided to put the two of them in the cellar with the food, water and litterbox, because Sasha, despite being a very clever kitten overall, had a real problem with peeing in the right place, which, as we later discovered, must have been due to some traumatic experience with Misha. He would do his thing everywhere but not in the litterbox, and had a very strong aversion to it. At least in the cellar there was nothing that could be damaged if he peed or pooped on it. Since Misha needed to do the business somewhere as well, and we had only one litterbox, he had to go in the cellar too. And when we came back from the pilgrimage, there was pee and poop in three different cellars, the litterbox was empty, Sasha was basking in the sun on the windowsill with his paws dirty from the poop, and Misha sitting high up on the wardrobe looking utterly scared. When we let them out and Mum put the litterbox back in place, Misha sprang to the loo immediately and it was clear that he was holding it all day long, so stressed he was. Also when there was a time that no one cleaned his litterbox, instead of doing his thing wherever else, he was holding it until it was clean and he could do it properly.

Poor little thing, I wouldn’t blame him if he just peed on the rug in these circumstances, as he tried his best to wake me up, and normally I wake up fairly quickly when I hear him, as this is almost always the first thing I hear in the morning, but he probably just couldn’t bring himself to do this.

“Oh my, Misha, I’m so sorry…”

I quickly opened the door and he sprang out and flew downstairs with lightning speed.

“Was that why he started talking?” – I thought to myself. – Nonsense! It must have all been in my head. Sometimes, as it seems, hallucinations can be very useful for pet owners. I wonder if parents with babies ever experience the same phenomenon? God knows how long I would sleep if this didn’t happen. Or maybe it’s because of my out-of-whack sleep that I hear cats talking?

The house was empty, except for me and my talking feline, and I was on my way to the kitchen, when I heard a voice from the loo: “Can you please turn the light on? You guys always remember about it when you go to the loo, but you’ll never switch it on fur me.”

“Okay, no problem, if you want… but do you really need it? I mean… I’ve always thought cats can see in the dark?” – I said, switching the light on. –

“Obviously I can see in the dark, but I can also listen to the music, can’t I?”

“Absolutely yes!”

I don’t know if it’s a common practice in other countries, but definitely not here, so I believe you must learn, dear reader, that we are people strange enough to have a radio in the loo, so that it starts playing when you switch on the light.

“Uhhh, you listen to some real shit! Isn’t there any proper music?”

“WHat sort of music do you like to listen to?”

“…A human asked her cat, with whom she has lived fur over four years.” – the excess of pee has definitely made Misha feel very sarcastic. –

“Well you’ve never told me so how should I know?” – I asked, a bit irritated. I never thought my little Misha could be so grumpy.

“You do know! Jazz, classical and baroque. And renaissance music is okay. ANd some of your folk music is decent. And Russian ballads… And relaxing piano music. And Russian drum & bass is my guilty pleasure”.

“Huh, my intuition must be truly outstanding. ANd Zofijka’s.” – I thought. These are the genres we’ve always imagined that Misha likes, including the Russian drum & bass bit. Also because he seems to respond very well to some of these genres, like classical music. I found the station with classical music for him and finally went to the kitchen o get Misha’s favourite sauce, hoping he’ll consider it a good recompense for my previous shortcoming, and that perhaps this way I could persuade him into some more talking. I wondered what I should eat myself, but then noticed a plate of small sandwiches, like the ones my Dad always makes, on the table, with a piece of apple pie and a mug of iced coffee, and thought they must be for me. Yum, how cool that someone thought about me! As I started eating, Misha finally emerged from the loo.

“Enjoy your meal. And thank you fur turning on the radio. You left so quickly that I couldn’t thank you in time.”

“You’re always most welcome, Mishi. Are you always so very polite?”

“Yeah, always when I speak. Even when I’m grumpy at the same time.” – he noticed his bowl with sauce and started eating happily.

“You enjoy your meal too. Why are you talking now? I mean, why didn’t you do it before?”

“This sauce is very yummy, thank you, Mila. I had to wake you up somehow, right? And I really don’t like to pee on the carpets. They’re so unpleasant, at least fur peeing, you can’t even do it discreetly on them. So I had to do something, right? Other peeps left very early and I didn’t want to get up then just yet, but I didn’t think I’d have to be imprisoned in one room for so long”.

“But you speak very well. How do you do it?”

“Duh, all cats can speak! It’s just too much fuss so we normally don’t bother. We’re not made for this. But we’d have to be really stupid if, after living with people for as long as we do, we wouldn’t be able to speak. Especially with me when you talk to me all the time and in so many languages. Can I have some more Mish ice-cream, please?”

“No, you’ve just had a whole bowl.”

“But pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaase. I’m so hungry. And I can speak so well. Shouldn’t I get a proper treat fur that? Some whipped cream or something? I can say please in Swedish. Or in Welsh. Much more than please, actually.”

“Okay, okay, we shall see if there are some more snacks for Misha. But not whipped cream, you’d have to ask Mum for that.” – I squeezed another tube of Mish ice-cream into his bowl, all the while smearing my fingers in it, which prompted Misha to start licking them enthusiastically.

“Thank you, I love Mish ice-cream so much!” – he said, rubbing his head lightly with his paw, as he always does after a delicious meal. –

“I love making you happy.” – I said, smiling at him.

“I love making you happy too, that’s my job, isn’t it”.

“I guess so. I think we bothh live to make each other happy”.

Misha sat still for a while, as if thinking deeply about something.

“I’ll be happy if you let me out now”.

“What?!” – I screamed in shock, much louder than necessary. – “Misha, you are so clever, you can speak and all. So why can’t you understand that you just can’t go out? It’s unsafe for you. You don’t know what it’s like outside. There are a lot of animals and they can do something to you, hurt you or even kill you. Or someone can still you, because you are so beautiful, and people could get a lot of money for you. Or just be happy to have such a beautiful cat for themselves for free. There’s no way I’m letting you out. You could get lost, ran over by a car, you wouldn’t know how to get food, and you’re just not used to living outside. It only looks so nice in theory, but it’s very dangerous for such small, beautiful and unexperienced little Mishas”.

“Is your lecture finally over?” – he sighed theatrically – “I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you. It’s exactly the other way around. I’m so very clever, can speak and all, and therefore I do understand purrfectly well what it’s like outside, even though you never let me out. So it’s not dangerous for me. I know how to stay safe, trust me”.

“No, Misha, there’s no way you’re going to do that!”.

“If you’ll go with me, will you stop panicking?”

“No!!!” – I yelled in frustration – “Why do you have to be so stubborn? I said no, and it means no! It doesn’t change anything if I’ll go with you, because you always do everything to slip out of the leash, even with Mum or Sofi, and I won’t be able to see what you’re doing. You’re not going anywhere and that’s it!” – I was already missing those times when Misha didn’t speak. Now it’ll probably be an endless battle. What a sheer luck that he can’t open doors! Or can he? – “Plus, Misha, I can’t go with you alone because I can’t get around outside by myself, so we’d both be almost equally clueless. You know we have a river on our backyard so we could both end up in there.”

” You’re a liar! You said you want to make me happy but now when I want to do something that makes me happy you won’t let me. I’m not clueless. I could be your guide cat.” – he giggled.

“I would never think you could be so stupid.” – I mumbled, feeling like tossing him inside the wardrobe and not letting out for the next few hours.

“This is very offensive. Mila, why can’t you give me just one chance. One little chance. We’ll just go out for a little while. I’ll be really careful. I won’t slip out of the leash, if you won’t keep it too tight, and I’ll make sure we don’t fall into the river or anywhere else. And I won’t run away and we’ll come back home soon. We’ll just go for a little walk. Wouldn’t you like to go for a walk with your little Misha. If you really want, we can stay here in the backyard or in the garden, but we could also go out on the streets, why not? I know how to deal with cars. Please, Mila, give me just one chance”.

“You had many chances before, don’t you remember? We let you out but you’d always try to run away or cry all the time that you want out again”.

“I won’t cry at all after we go this time, I promise. I really, really promise. You wouldn’t want to bet with me, because I will win it and you’ll have to get me 50 litres of whipped cream.” – his typical Russian blue smile widened. –

“I’m not going to bet with you, nor am I going anywhere with you. You’re crazy”.

“Okay, suit yourself. I just wanted to be nice. But if you don’t want to be nice, I’ll just go on my own and I’ll come back when I want.” – and with this, he ran to the door and was just about to jump on the handle.

“No!!!” – I shrieked, and ran after him, took him in my arms and shook firmly a few times, which he definitely didn’t like.

“So what?” – he asked, when I finally put him on the floor. – “Are you going with me or not?”.

“I guess I have no choice, but be sure that this is the last walk in your whole life.”

“Yaaaay! Thank you, Mila! I knew you’re cooler than that. You’ll see it’ll be a lot of fun” –

I was full of doubts, but I got out Misha’s leash and out we went. Jocky went all bonkers seeing Misha, and Misha did let him jump all over him for a while, but after some time his patience was exhausted and he nudged him gently but firmly away with his paw.

“Excuse me, sir Jocky. I like you a lot, but I have more important things on my mind at this moment. WHere shall we go, Mila?”

“Dunno, it’s your freaking trip, you say.” – I said, feeling sort of as if I suddenly found myself right in the middle of some strange fairytale world a la Alice in WOnderland.

– “We’ll hang around here for a while, then” – said Misha confidently.

I had to admit it to him that so far he indeed was very well-mannered, didn’t ran out frenziedly or stand in one place full of fear as he usually did when we let him out, didn’t try to slip out of the leash and kept close to me, moreover, if there has ever been something like a guide cat, I believe he could be viewed as an example for what a guide cat should be and how it should behave, and, although I have no personal experience with guide dogs, dare I say he exceeded even them, as I didn’t have to give him any commands, and of course he was also able to talk. Though on the other hand I’m not sure if a manipulative cat who does exactly what he wants no matter what it takes could be the kind of a service animal most people would want.

Finally, we came to the garden and Misha decided we’ll spend some time here.

“We’ll just lie down on this purrfectly fresh grass, I’ll have some of it as I’m sure it’s great fur getting rid of hairballs, and we’ll have a cuddle, just as you always like. Doesn’t that sound nice? I won’t run away I promise.”

And so we did. Misha enjoyed the fresh grass and rolled around in it and nibbled on it. When he had enough grass in his tummy, and decided that he smells grassy enough, we just laid next to each other in silence, Misha taking in all the new smells, and I wondering about the whole surreal situation I’ve found myself in, and how long it will take me to go completely crazy.

“If you can jump on handles and go out whenever you want, why didn’t you do that earlier, for example when you wanted to the toilet today?” – I asked after a while.

“Cats never do such spectacular things when there’s no absolutely urgent need. And besides, I cannot jump on handles. You guys weren’t kind enough to put your handles low enough fur me to reach, nor was anyone willing to teach me how to open the door, I’m not THAT clever. I only wanted to scare you so that you’d go with me.”

– “You bloody manipulator!” – was the only thing I was able to say.

“Why do you insult me?” – he asked in a calm, innocent voice. – “I only wanted to have an adventure”. But never mind, I’ll furgive you. Oh look, there’s a butterfly, yay! I’ll catch it fur ya! What a beautiful butterfly!”

“No, Misha, leave it alone!”

“But why? It’s the last walk in my life and I’ve never propurly caught a mouse or a bird or an insect. DO you want me to feel like a total failure in life? That certainly won’t make me feel happy.”

Misha caught the butterfly in a matter of seconds, all the while making sweet, little feline sounds, as he always does when “playing” with little animals.

“Here’s my gift fur you, Mila. A very beautiful butterfly. I killed it myself.”

“Am I supposed to eat it or what?” – I asked, the surreal, grotesque feeling growing with every minute.

“Oh, you can’t even appreciate a heartfelt gift. I’ll eat it then.”

“Let’s hit the streets now. I need to get some new snacks for myself.” – he said after his little brunch.

I think I felt too dazed to refuse him any longer, or too exhausted by all the events of this short day, but whatever the reason, I followed him. We went out the gate and on the streets. Misha truly amazed me with his ability to navigate in the town, even as little as ours, with not very much traffic.

“Do you purrhaps know if there are any pet shops in the area?” – he asked.

“Yeah, there is one.” – I gave him the street. – “It’s quite close to us, but I don’t know where exactly, you’d have to figure that out for yourself somehow”.

“Okay, no worries, I will. Misha Hhrrru? can deal with any situation like a pro.”

“Excuse me, ma’am. – a well-dressed, tall, elderly lady with a grotesquely big hat and very-high-heel shoes, was passing us, and as it seemed, Misha decided to ask her about the pet shop. I froze. What will she think? Will she actually hear him?

The woman gasped, her eyes widening in horror, and pressed her hand to the chest.

“Jesus! Someone help me! A cat… a cat… This cat can speak…”

“Yes, you’re right, I’m a cat. My name is Misha. Nice to meet you. You don’t have to be afraid of me. I’m a nice and friendly kitty, I like people. I understand you, because I used to be afraid of everything too. Only today I decided not to be. Now I’m not afraid of anything. What do you need help with.”

“H…h…heeeelp! I think I’m going mad. And my heart… my heart… – she whizzed –

“Oh no, what’s wrong with your heart. Mila says I can heal people. I can’t promise anything, but purrhaps I can heal you…?” – but before Misha could end his friendly monologue, I dragged him in the opposite direction and we ran away, as quickly as possible. Misha realised it’s indeed not safe for him to stay there, as more and more people were gathering around the woman, looking at her and at us. Seeing us running away though, the woman suddenly regained some of her vital energy and started yelling:

“It’s hers!!! It’s this girl’s cat! THey’re running! Someone catch them! She’s making pranks on poor, elderly people!” –

“Come on” – I heard a little voice behind me – “I live right here, come with me, quick.” – a little girl, perhaps 9- or 10-year-old, was smiling at us.

We ran after her into her gate, which she closed behind us. We all sat at the stairs of her house. She giggled.

“Your cat is beautiful. How did you make that old bag believe he can speak?”

” Thank you for saying I’m beautiful. I can speak, every cat can.”

“Hahaha, that was really funny. How can I also make my cat speak?”

“You can’t make him. He must want himself. I am Misha, nice to meet you.”

“No, but seriously. How did you make your cat speak?”

“Seriously, I didn’t make him. He can speak for himself. He started today.”

She thought for a minute.

“Really? This is strange. But I want to believe it’s true so I guess I will.”

Soon, a man came out of the house.

“Nela? What have you been doing there for so long?” – he came closer – “Oh, good morning.” – he said to me – “What a beautiful cat. I am Nela’s dad.”

“I’m Emilia, and this is Misha”. – I said, nudging Misha to tell him not to say anything, which he understood. I really wasn’t up to another conversation about how I make my cat speak.

“Please do come in. Nela, you should have invited your guests inside.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, but I think we have to go now.” – I said – “Misha only came to visit Nela for a moment.”

“Well, okay then. But I hope you visit us some time soon in the future again.” – said Nela’s dad, visibly surprised that we weren’t going to stay for longer.

“What a pity you can’t stay for a while” – said Nela when her father disappeared into the house. – “I really love Misha. And perhaps my cat would learn to speak from him. I think it’s safe now so you can go”.

“Oh but wait!” – Misha called when Nela was about to go inside her house. – “I have a very important question.”

“What is it?”

“Do you know where is the nearest pet shop?”

“Emm… not really… I’ve been there once with my parents but I don’t know where exactly it is. But I can ask dad.”

“Oh no, there’s no need for that” – I said –

We said goodbye quickly and went in search of the pet shop. Misha decided to go back to the same street, as he was sure the fuss was already over. Nela had hid us very successfully, and it seemed like no one cared overly about the old lady’s revelations about a talking cat, perhaps apart fromm a bunch of people who could hear Misha for themselves. The street was actually empty. Or so we thought, until, seemingly out of nowhere, the old lady appeared in front of us.

“Oh yes, I knew you’d be back, scaring to death innocent, dignified older people and making fun of them with your possessed cat.” – she said to me.

“I’m not…” – Misha tried to defend himself, but I tightened the leash on him hard enough that he knew he has to stay quiet.

“I’m sorry if my cat scared you. I’m sure he didn’t mean to”.

“You are sorry! My only hope is that you will not do it ever again!”

“No, of course I won’t. We weren’t making fun of anyone. My cat can speak, but he’s not possessed or anything, and he’s not bad to people”.

“Of course he can’t speak, and if he can, there must be something wrong with him. Cats do not speak”.

“But I’m a guide cat!” – Misha couldn’t hold himself back anymore.

“What?!” – the old lady raised her eyebrows.

“I’m her guide cat.” – Misha repeated. – “You know about guide dogs, don’t you? How they help blind people to get around?”

“Oh yes, I know. My friend’s ex-colleague’s daughter’s daughter is blind and has a guide dog, and I watched a documentary about blind people years ago.” – she said, apparently forgetting she was talking to a cat –

“So I’m like a guide dog, only I’m a cat.”

“Oh, I didn’t know there were guide cats!”

“So, you see now, ma’am, don’t you, that I have to be able to speak. I have to tell her that it’s safe to cross the street, or ask people for directions when even I don’t know where to go.”

“Oh yes, now it’s a completely different matter. I’m sorry I was so unpleasant, poor girl, I didn’t know she was blind, God bless her.”

And with that, along with a dozen others maudlin comments like this, she wanted to leave, but Misha stopped her:

“Excuse me, ma’am, I have a very important question. Do you know where is the nearest pet shop? Even a guide cat deserves a treat once in a while, right?”.

“Oh yes, I know. Turn left, then right, and then left on the crossing, and you’ll see the pet shop first thing on your right.”

“Thank you.”

When we were sure she has left, we started laughing our guts out.

“Misha, you’re a genius!” – I uttered, when I finally was able to speak. –

“Thank you, Mila, but I already knew that. Honestly I didn’t expect her to be this naive. Now, let’s finally go to that pet shop, I’m really tired of all that peopling.”

* * * * *

“Bibiel!!! Biiiiiibieeeeeeeel!” – Sofi yelled so loud that she would wake up all the dead people on the cemetery.

“What do you want?” – I asked sleepily.

“Wake up. You’re sleeping and sleeping and sleeping. It’s 2 PM. Mum told me to wake you up and ask if you want to go with us to the beach.”

I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Misha sneaked in quietly and rubbed his head on my hand in a playful way. The memories of the last hour floated back into my brain. So it was only a dream… or was it?

Question of the day.

Hey people! 🙂

What fictional character does everyone else love, but you despise?

My answer:

I can’t think at the moment about a particular example that I would really really despise but there are a lot of fictional characters that people seem to like and to be oohing and aahing about while I find them boring at the very best. I think what first comes to mind is the Twilight series and especially the two main characters who are so dull and cliche.

You? 🙂

The Human Life Of Misha Hhrrru? ep. 8.

Hhrrru? 😻

Yay! Finally I’ve got to write another post. How are you all pets and peeps doing? Here’s another episode of my what-if human life. *****

March 9

I am Misha. I am 8. I just came back from school today. It was mostly a very boring day but the last lesson we had was plast plast –
that is how I call art. – I love plast plast! My Mum does it, and my plast plast teacher used to go to college with her, but she’s not very nice to me because my mum is her friend. It’s the opposite. She is very demanding. She wants more from me than all the other kids. When any other kid does something a bit wrong she says it’s okay as it is, but when I do even a very little mistake, she is very worried and wants me to try more. I used to be a bit sad about it and think I’m so very bad at plast plast, and I didn’t want to be bad at plast plast because I love it and my family always tells me I am a very good painter, but mum told me she does it because she wants me to develop my talent. I guess it’s very nice of her. I want to be a very good painter and now I’m happy when she tells me that something is wrong. But at the same time, she’s hardly ever satisfied. She constantly wants me to improve something and even mum says she’s a bit too harsh on me because I am just a little child. But guess what? Today she was very happy with me.

She wanted us to draw or paint or present in any possible way that suits us, our favourite season. My favourite season is autumn, because I love leaves. I like to think about them. But it makes me sad when I think about lonely leaves. When one fallen leaf is lying alone, or among leaves of a different kind, with no leaf of its own kind, or if there is only one leaf on a twig or the whole tree, it makes me so very sad. When I feel lonely, I often think that I feel like a lonely leaf. Some people say it’s stupid because leaves are never lonely, but I think they can be, very often. Whenever it’s autumn and leaves are falling and I come back from school, I try not to step on them. My mum says I’m too sensitive about leaves and that they have no feelings. But I just love them! I’ve always had. It makes me sad when someone says they don’t feel anything, I’m sure they do. But mum thinks I have such strange thoughts and ideas because I’m the only child and have no one to play with. But I have Feluś, and when I don’t have Feluś I have myself to play with. And even if I had many siblings and many friends, which would be very lovely, I guess I still would be myself, wouldn’t I? With my own thoughts and ideas. I would still have enough place in my heart to love leaves and care for them. And when it’s getting cold, I sometimes take a couple leaves home with me and put them close to my bed, so that they are warm and cosy and they have me and I have them. Mum says it’s unhygienic. But how can something as natural as leaves be unhygienic? Perhaps I’ll have to make a bath for them when I take them home next year before I put them in my bedroom. I wonder how they would feel about that. But I wanted to talk about plast plast. So of course I decided I will paint an autumn picture. An autumn forest with colourful trees and with lots of leaves, but no lonely leaves because I didn’t want to feel sad. I miss leaves because there are none at this time of year. They were all happy and with their leaf families, and leaves on the trees were happy too. i even managed to paint the wind moving the leaves, and light rain was falling. I painted birds and some other small animals, and a little grey cat rolling around among the leaves. I was so engrossed in this that I didn’t know what was going on around me and suddenly I felt someone elbowing me. It was Feluś, he sits with me in class. “Hey, you, Misha, I’m speaking to you.” – he whispered. – “Hmmm what?” – I asked, looking up from my picture at him reluctantly. “I asked why do you painted a cat in this forest. Cats don’t live in the forest”. “This one does.” “Ahaa, and of course this cat is called Misha?” – he asked giggling. – I have a book series about a cat called Misha, and I myself often feel like I’d love to be a cat, and I often include a cat called Misha in my paintings. Feluś thinks it’s weird, and that I am weird, but he likes me anyway. I nodded, and got back to my picture. I finished it, and had a lot of time to wait for all the others to finish. Finally the teacher said the time has passed and that she’d now like to see our works. She came to me and Feluś in the end, and seeing my picture, she gasped.
“Oh, Misha! This is beautiful! Very simple, but you really have a knack for colour, I must admit that. There’s still a long way for you to go but I can say it now in front of the whole class that you are very talented and you need to develop it. But, why did you paint a cat here?” “It’s a cat called Misha.” “Ah, well, I assume this explains everything” – she laughed. – She didn’t understand and pretended she did, I don’t like it, but other than that I was sooooo very happy that she praised me. I got an A for this painting. I’m home now. My mum is abroad for a couple of days and grandma is here. She cooks us meals and all. It’s grandma from dad’s side, who lives nearby, not the one who gave me the books about Misha the cat. I’d prefer that grandma to come here and take care of me. This grandma is always irritated and grumpy and complains about everything and forces me to eat things I don’t like and is always asking what I’m doing and whether I did my homework, as if I never did, and when she’s not watching me she’s constantly watching very strange series on the telly. I’m not a baby, she doesn’t have to remind me of my school work. Today we had mushroom soup and liver for dinner, yuck! I guess grandma can cook better than mum, because mum often swears while cooking, cuts her fingers and does lots of strange unnecessary things and is always in a hurry, when she makes cereal for me she boils milk over most days so I’m late for school because she has to boil it twice or doesn’t remember to take out the cake in time from the oven, and grandma knows what she’s doing or at least she looks like she does, but at least mum doesn’t force me to eat what I don’t like, and grandma doesn’t even let me eat cereal. I had to eat scrambled eggs today for breakfast and I hate them. But actually I don’t like a lot of foods. I don’t even like bread, I never did. And grandma says it’s because I’m spoiled and don’t respect what other people do for me. No, I don’t if they do something I don’t like when they know I don’t like it, it’s malicious. But I actually haven’t done my homework today yet, so I better get to it now. Misha 💜 💙 💚

The Human Life of Misha Hhrrru? ep. 7.

January 7.

I am Misha. I am 7. It’s Monday. I hate Mondays, but today is a very good day. Well okay, besides that I’m sick. But if I wasn’t sick, it wouldn’t be a good day, because I would have to go to school.

My best friend Feluś came to me for the weekend, for two sleeps, and we had lots of fun. I’ve got skates for Christmas from my parents and am still learning how to iceskate. So yesterday we both went to the rink, because Feluś can skate a little bit too, my dad took us, and we were skating. But it was frrrrreezing! And I didn’t want to take my hat with me, because I don’t like it. It’s gross. I wanted to go out without it but mum started yelling “Misha! Misha! Take your hat with you or your ears will fall off!”. But that hat is really awful and cringey and the last time I wore it to school a few boys were laughing at me that I look like an idiot in it and asked me whether my granny crocheted it for me. Mum says I look cute, but Mum always says I look cute, so I think they know better, this time at least. So I just pretended I couldn’t hear her. It was really cold and my ears did feel like they wanted to fall off, but they didn’t and I was brave and tried not to show how cold I was, though dad said my ears were very red and if I wanted to go home. Of course I didn’t. I like iceskating, you know? I am getting better at it. I am still a little bit unsteady but I don’t fall as often as I used to. It’s a lot of fun. I’m sure that soon I’ll be able to iceskate as fast and smoothly as my mum. Feluś fell once and hurt his knee, and looked as if he wanted to cry, but he was brave too, and didn’t. Luckily nothing bad happened to his knee, it was only a bit bruised, but I’m sure it must have hurt him a lot. I wouldn’t laugh if he cried, or call him a cry baby, as some other nasty people do. So yeah, we had lots of fun, and then when we came back mum said that we looked all blue from cold so she made us a bubble bath, and we were making soap bubbles and were splashing at each other. In the evening I was very tired and went to bed just after we watched some telly and Feluś’s grandma came to take him. I was exhausted.
I had a long dream, in which I was skating, all happy, and then suddenly I saw a big monster, who started to pull my ears, and drag me around the iceskate so very, very fast, and I was scared. He was whirling around with me and I screamed and cried, and then I couldn’t keep up anymore and fell down, and he was still dragging me around on my knees, and I had such large, disgusting bruises on them. I woke up and it was still dark, my ears were hurting, my throat was hurting and my head was hurting, and I couldn’t swallow, and I was so cold that I shook like a leaf. A lonely leaf. A lonely leaf always shakes more because he doesn’t have other leaves to keep him warm. And I always say that I’m lonely as a leaf, and everyone says it’s strange, because leaves are always in a bunch, even when they fall. But when most of the leaves on a tree fall, sometimes one stays and is the last to fall. And sometimes when the leaves fall, the wind will take one away from all the other leaves. Is it strange to feel lonely as a leaf? So I was shaking as a leaf, and I wanted to call mum, to close my window, I thought it was open because it was so cold, and I didn’t want to get up because it was just too cold and I was too tired. But I was too hoarse to call her, and it was so dark that I thought she must be sleeping. I raised up in bed and saw that the window was closed, and mum even put a blanket over me. I pulled it closer so that I was almost all hidden under it, and soon I fell asleep again. The next time I woke up it was very light and I could hear some papers rustling in mum’s study, and when I called her she came to me immediately. “Mum? I feel sick, I can’t go to school.” – I screeched. – “No, don’t worry, you won’t. It’s noon already. I was trying to wake you up in the morning but you wouldn’t even move. The next time you go iceskating you will put your hat on, won’t you?” “No, because it’s ugly.” – I said, and felt so happy that I don’t have to go to school.
I don’t feel well, my ears are throbbing and snotting every 5 seconds but at least I can do my plast plast thingy. Plast plast is how I call arts – painting and drawing and modelling and cutting and gluing and all that. – I love plast plast! Mum went out to the shops. I’m lucky because our family doctor isn’t at work today, so I didn’t have to go see him, will do tomorrow! Or maybe he’s sick too? I hate going to doctors, I almost never have to. I don’t like the smells in there, and people coughing and sneezing all around me, and the doctor putting that stick in my mouth, eww. And I hate medicines. Mum only gives me vitamin C now, it’s good because it’s fizzy and doesn’t taste too gross, but she says I’ll probably have to stay at home for a week, and take a lot of medicines. The first thing is great, the latter is horrible. It’s also a pity that I can’t play with Feluś. Actually, who invents illnesses and why? I would like to know. I’ve always wanted to be a painter when I grow up, but if I could be both a painter and an inventor, I’d like that. Then I’d invent such an illness that would last very long, and everyone would see straight away that you’re ill so you wouldn’t have to stick your tongue or measure your temperature, they’d just know, so you wouldn’t have to go to school or work, but you would feel well, or only a little little bit sick, so you can go out to play and have adventures, bruise your knees or do whatever you want and no one can tell you that you can’t. You just can’t do things that you don’t like and talk to people you don’t like because then you will infect them and they will have it too, you only want to infect nice people.
The worst thing is that when someone in our house is ill, either dad or me, mum gives us loads of veggies, and I hate them. And my mum isn’t a good cook, so things are always over- or undercooked. But I’ll deal with that somehow, though I am not hungry at all today because it hurts when I swallow and mum has to force me to eat and everything tastes so icky. At least she lets me play on the computer and do as much plast plast as I want and as I can in between having to snot, even with her things. Sometimes it’s very pleasant to be sick.

The Human Life of Misha Hhrrru? ep. 6.

Hhrrru? 😻
This is Misha. How are you pets and peeps doing? Any yummy things you’ve eaten this week? Any adventures? Me, I almost choked with a bracelet yesterday. Mum hung it on my neck, when Mila wasn’t around. Mila never lets people decorate me like a Christmas tree because it has happened a few times that it hooked on to something and I couldn’t free myself, and it almost choked me. That was a loose bracelet with a cat on it and Mum thought nothing would happen to me but I didn’t like the idea, and neither did Mila. It started to irritate me last evening and I wanted to do something with it and was yanking on it with my teeth, and then I couldn’t free my teeth from it and was choking with it again. Mila was soooo mad at Mum, and I was too, sort of.
Oh but I promised you to share my what-if human lifestory. So, here is episode 6. There won’t be episodes 1-5 because those are reserved just for Zofijka according to her request. So we’re starting at the time when I’m six years old. Here we go: *****
The Human Life of Misha Hhrrru? Ep. 6.
January 30.
It’s my 6th birthday today, yay! SO I have a lot to talk about. It was a fantastic day! I’m so happy, I couldn’t sleep last night, wondering what will happen today and what presents I will get. So I’m a bit sleepy now. I got up almost as soon as the sun was out and got dressed super quickly, like I never do, and was downstairs in 5 minutes.
“Oh, Misha, you’re up already?” – Mum was in the kitchen, stirring something, and looked very surprised. “What happened, you’re never out of bed that early on Saturdays? Did you forget it’s weekend?”
“Did you forget that it’s my birthday, mum?” – I chirped and felt so happy that I couldn’t resist and jumped up high in the air. I’m very good at jumping.
“Oh, really?! I completely forgot!” – I felt very hurt. How could she forget about my birthday? And yesterday she remembered, so why not now? “Mum, how can you not remember?” – I said with a very sad face.
“Oh Misha, you little silly sausage, how could I forget about your birthday? Of course I didn’t! I was just joking.” – I breathed a sigh of relief and laughed, at that “sausage”, I love sausages. She quickly came over to me and scooped me in her arms, and started spinning around the kitchen with me, as she used to when I was younger, singing Happy Birthday, and planting kisses all over my face in the meantime. “Happy birthday, my little, sweet, precious boy”.
“Mum, I am six… I’m not little” – I said, starting to feel a bit dizzy and embarrassed.
“Okay, okay, giant Misha. You must be patient and understanding with your old mother. For me, you will always be my tiny little Misha who is 3 and a half. My memory isn’t that good to always catch up with your age. Now, sit down and have a mug of hot chocolate. I’ve just made it for you.”
“Yeah, that’s what I love most about having a birthday. I always get a big mug of steaming hot chocolate. Not a cup, a mug. And there was a little cupcake with a decorative lettering on it saying “Happy birthday, Misha”. I knew it wasn’t my mum who made it, my mum is rubbish at baking, everyone knows it, but it felt so cool that I had my own special cupcake with Misha written on it. It felt a little odd to eat it. Most happily I would just keep it until monday and show off with it at the nursery, but… it was too yummy. So I sat at the table and ate my food. Mum didn’t even force me to eat sandwiches, as she always does. I hate bread. But I do like cupcakes. As I was eating, I could hear dad waking up and yawning, and pottering around the room. I was still enjoying my meal and just finished to eat the word “happy” off the cupcake when he came into the kitchen, still yawning and stretching and rubbing his eyes.
“Ah, Misha, you here already?” – he said, and I could hear he was still half asleep. Dad’s a heavy sleeper, just like me. I wonder why then did he find himself such a job that he has to wake up so early for it, and even on Saturdays. When I will be his age, I will be the boss, so I’ll never have to wake up early. I’ll sleep to 12 PM. Everyone will work for me, and I’ll only pop in there in the afternoon to see if they did everything well and give them their cellery. Loooots of cellery, and for their children too, even if they don’t like it. If they will work well I will give them loads of cellery but if not I will only give them carrots. I’ll be very fair with cellery, not like my Dad’s boss. I don’t know why people want cellery from their boss but my dad constantly complains about his, and that it’s too low and not as much as it should be. Indeed, I’ve never saw him coming back from work with cellery, but I’m quite happy about it, I hate it. And I hate all vegetables. Mum says I’m very picky and would only eat meat and junk food.
Dad was drinking his coffee and reading a newspaper, but I could see he wasn’t paying attention to it.
“Dad, do you remember?”. – He jumped in his chair as if I woke him up from a nap. “Yes, yes, I remember about your swing, I’ll repair it tomorrow”.
“I’m not talking about the swing, dad!” – yeah, that’s always the case with my dad, he never remembers the most important things. – “Do you remember what’s the day today?” “Ah, yeah, Saturday.”
“But it’s a very special Saturday.”
Finally Mum had to chime in.
“Filip, your son is desperately trying to get your attention. It’s his birthday today. Misha is six years old!”.
“Oh my God, the time is flying so fast!” – Dad said, suddenly looking much more brisk. – “So, how many bumps should I give you, son?” “Seven!” – I yelled with a thrill of happiness.
“Not now, he’s just eaten.” – said Mum.
“Okay, so maybe we’ll do it after I come back from work?”
“No, no, dad, please no! I’ve only eaten a bit.”
He glanced uncertainly at mum and I prayed that she would agree. I loved getting birthday bumps! “Okay, but be careful. I’m not sure it’s a good idea.”
I clapped my hands excitedly. “Yaay!”.
He bumped me up in the air and I gasped and laughed happily, with my eyes wide from both joy and a bit of fear.
“You’re too light, your mother has to give you more chocolate to drink!” – said dad, finally putting me down on to the floor. “More! More! Please, dad, I want more!” – I screamed and laughed.
“No, it’s forbidden. If you get more bumps than how old you are plus one, it will make you very unlucky this year. You don’t want it, do you?”. –
“You’re lying! I want 10, no… 20… 25 bumps, so I’ll be lucky for many, many years. I’ll be too heavy to be bumped up when I’ll be an adult, so I want enough of them now. Maybe even 50”. “Okay, 25.” – agreed dad after a while.
“Filip, don’t be crazy!…” – mum tried to intervene, but I was already in the air again, squealing with joy.
In the end, no one counted how many bumps I received. Soon even mum joined in, and we started playing that they were sending me high up into space. Mum took out a big blanket and wrapped me up in it, and they were both holding it and lifting me very high up into the air. Until finally I hit the chandelier with my foot, not strongly, but mum was afraid we will break it, and said that we’re all insane and need to stop.
My chocolate was already cold, but mum just sighed and made me another one, but without as much foam, it was still good.
Just as I finished my breakfast, I noticed that mum went into the living room and was now carrying a few packets in her arms.
“Wow, presents for me!” – I screamed, and started tearing the paper on all of them at once. “Easy, Misha, your presents won’t run away.” – dad said cool-headedly.
I didn’t care. But I had to decide which box to open first, after all. I decided on the biggest one. It took me some time and effort to open it, but when I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes… I stared at my present with open mouth… A big, beautiful painting set. Just for me.
“Do you like it?” – mum asked tentatively after a while. “Dad said it’s too much and too fancy for a child your age, but at least you won’t have to paint on my easel anymore. And we do think you are a very talented lit… big boy. Incredibly talented. And you need to develop this talent.” – mum was speaking to me so calmly and seriously, and as if I was a really very big boy, and it made me feel so proud of myself. When my first shock passed, I quickly stood and ran up to her, hugging and kissing her. “Thank you, mummy! You’re fantastic. It’s so great!”.
“You need to thank dad most importantly.” – she said when I finally freed her from a very strong hug. So I ran up to dad and thanked him as well. I was so happy I could have cried.
My mum is an artist and paints a lot, and I’ve always loved painting too, but I’ve never had my own things to do that with. And now I had my own little easel, my own paintbrushes, beautiful watercolours, and even a box of new crayons, and some other artsy things. I couldn’t wait to try them out.
I could see my parents were also moved with my joy, but now dad really had to go to work. He kissed both of us and left.
I left my painting set on the table and went to see what other presents I got from my parents. There was a little lockable diary, with a cat and my name written on the front cover. My parents always say that I resemble a cat very much, and that I must have been a cat in my previous life, if there are previous lives. And I really like cats and things with cats on them. They really like me, too. I also got very warm and cosy slippers with cats on them. “It’s still winter, Mishka, and you didn’t have any good slippers” – Mum said.
I liked them a lot as well. I like smooth and warm things. There was also a pair of brand new football boots for me, which made me euphoric. I love football!
“Oh, and this is a present from your grandma” – mum said, producing another box. –
There was a small picture book – “Adventures of a Cat Called Misha”. “Yay! That sounds like the right book for me! And this cat is grey! My favourite colour!”
“This is just the first book in the series. We can read all of them sometime if you like it. I told grandma that there’s no way you wouldn’t like this book.”
It was a very pleasant day. I spent it just as I liked. I didn’t have to go to the nursery, and mum didn’t have to go anywhere either. I had the time to try out my new painting set, and I painted a little scene that my mum liked very much.
I painted a big, green grassland, with lots of different animals in the background, and some pretty flowers. In the middle, there was a big blanket, and my parents and me were sitting on it, and there was a big basket full of food. We were having a picnic. After a while I also painted my new football boots on my feet, and a football lying close to me, so that someone could think that Misha in the painting has just been playing football.
Mum said it was “breathtakingly skillful and detailed for a 6-year-old boy” and for a little while she indeed looked as if she couldn’t breathe.
Later that day, we had pizza and my family came. Grandma, aunt and uncle, and their son – my cousin Sasha. – His real name is Aleksander, but no one calls him that. They all were stunned by my painting too, and spoiled me with compliments. Sasha wanted to paint something too, but he is only three and doesn’t really know how to do it. He only wanted because I did. I let him use my crayons. I don’t want anyone to paint with my watercolours. Not such babies like Sasha for sure.
I also played a bit of football, but there’s no one living near us with whom I could play, I can only do that with my friend Feluś from school so that was a bit dull to play on my own.
After they left, mum told me that she had some spare clay and I could play around with it if I wanted. I love clay! And in the end we both ended up playing around with it, making lots of animals out of it. My mum is really good at that. I hope one day I will be as good as her.
Dad came back in the evening, a bit earlier than usual, and mum made a huge bowl of popcorn, we and watched cartoons for a few hours. That was so cool! My parents don’t usually do that with me. Dad just takes a shower and goes to bed because he is so tired, and mum always has tons of other things to do, even if she is home all day. So I was really really happy. And now I’m really really sleepy. Mishpurrs. 😴
Misha 💜 💚 💙

“Help!” – my short story.

Hi guys. 🙂

I wanted to publish this story already a couple days ago, but I lost what I’ve written so had to rewrite almost everything. Interesting how when I write something, and then read it after a few days, I usually think it’s shitty and delete it immediately, but this time, I think that that first version I wrote was much better and vivid than this one. 😀 This one doesn’t feel quite as natural to me. I couldn’t rewrite it exactly the same way though because I didn’t have any plan or anything, the idea was very spontaneous and only based on the writing prompt from The Haunted Wordsmith.

This is the story about sleep paralysis. Mostly about the way I feel it, although the heroine is not me, I imagine her being quite different from me, and not all her experiences in relation to sleep paralysis are exactly the same. Most of them are though, or at least are based on mine, some things I made up because I thought they were very likely to happen in a sleep paralysis episode. My “Ian” is very similar to hers, although it’s not his name. Melanie’s dreams, hallucinations and thought processes are more logical and understandable and relatable for an outsider than mine are in sleep paralysis.

Also, while I have a lot of the same experiences with other people who have sleep paralysis, not all of them are the same – well, I guess that’s the thing with all conditions that everyone experiences them differently (is sleep paralysis a condition actually?), but some of the differences I experience seem to be a rare thing as I’ve never heard about anyone else having them, also I believe some other things I deal with, including, as I call it, my “sensory” anxiety (I don’t have a better name for it) seem to complicate my sleep paralysis. Many people who have sleep paralysis say they have a full consciousness during it and are often aware of their surroundings, their mind is fully awake, only their body is asleep and they have hallucinations. For me it’s usually different, I either have partial consciousness, or I’m only aware that I’m dreaming, or I’m conscious of what’s going on around only at some moments and not the other, or I have a wild mix of reality and dream which I am not able to distinguish, with dozens of false awakenings usually, which can be very very creepy and realistic as in Melanie’s. It’s not always that intense as melanie’s, sometimes I am able to wriggle out of there by accident, use my consciousness and evoke a more positive dream at least for a while, you know as in lucid dreaming but it doesn’t work long term and it’s still all pretty murky and creepy and I have to be in control of the dream all the time which is not always possible, or I can move my toe or something and then it’s over. But it’s very often very intense and I’m not quite as resilient as Melanie to get over it within a few hours if it is intense, the anxiety usually lingers for days for me and can be very bad at times.

My sleep paralysis is always very difficult to describe for me, first because it just feels so evasive and like it’s hard to find words that would make it comprehensive, but also because if I’m to talk about mine in details it can feel quite upsetting, for different reasons, so I’ve never really talked with anyone much about it other than that I have it or just had it or that it’s scary. So I thought writing that story would be an interesting way to share some of my experiences, and maybe spread some awareness, although I have no idea if it would be relatable for other people who have it. I am aware that it might feel a bit boring and repetitive at times, but sleep paralysis is no fun and you get sick of it even before it really starts, and there’s a lot of repetitiveness in it, so that’s how I feel it should be. When I was a child for a long time my sleep paralysis dreams would actually look exactly identical for years. I’m sorry for any potential linguistic shortcomings as I’m not an English native so they might happen.

If you are an easily upset and very sensitive person, or have sleep paralysis that causes you a lot of distress and you think reading about in detail could unsettle you, please be cautious or stop reading here. Hope it gives you some idea of what it’s like.

Help!

“Help!”

– Melanie shouted, begging her lungs to cooperate. But she could only hear it in her mind. Nothing came out. “Help!!! Help!!! Heeeeeeeelp!!! Help… me…!!!”. She shouted so much, that she didn’t know anymore, was it her real voice, or was it all just in her imagination? But she kept holding on to the hope that, finally, someone will hear her, they surely will, this time it will be different, someone will save her. Chris will see something is wrong, he will save her, maybe he’s right there, sleeping beside her, she just needs to wake him up, scream loud enough. Did she just hear him snoring? Or maybe it’s morning already? God, please, let it be morning, let me wake up. Lily will wake up soon, she has to go to school. “I need to wake up, I have to!” But nothing happened, except she fell deeper, and deeper, and deeper down, no matter what she did, down into the abyss of her mind, which she knew so well, but which always held so many new surprises for her. She was falling faster and faster with every second, unable to control her body, unable to stop or slow it down. Yet at the same time it felt as if she was falling like that for centuries, and was still to do that for many centuries to come. What if I never wake up? But she didn’t have any strength left, or so it felt, to shout more, or to try and go out of where she was. Besides, deep down she knew it all too well that no matter what she does, she won’t be able to stop it, if her brain decided to keep her trapped. Suddenly, the pace of her fall increased much more, and shortly after she reached her destination, falling hard at the bottom of the abyss with a spectacular thud. The fear gripped her throat even more tightly, and the grip tightened even more when she heard the familiar, heavy steps.

– “Aaah, so you’re already here! That’s fantastic… We haven’t seen each other in ages, right? You can’t ignore me like that.”. Before she would even manage to say anything, he fell on her heavily, pressing her to the ground. That was how it usually started. Ian wasn’t a very clever man, but he was certainly a master of suspense. Ian loved routine, but his passion was also to surprise her with something new every time, and everything she had to endure was planned to the smallest detail.

Melanie knew him since she was a very little child, but never told anyone about his existence, and the overwhelming influence he had on her and her life. He would visit her in dreams, scare her to death, leaving repugnant signs of his presence scattered all over her brain. Then he would sometimes leave her alone for weeks, months, sometimes even years. ANd just when she thought she’s cleared up her mind of him, and that she’s free from him, or that she has found a strategy to deal with him and avoid him, he would come back. And with time, she has just gotten used to it, even though the fear never disappeared.

One day when she was a young girl, one of her teachers said something that stayed with her: “We are most scared of what we don’t have a name for. Once we name it, we feel more familiar with it, it feels known, and we aren’t so frightened anymore”. And so, Melanie decided to name him Ian. But it didn’t change anything. The fear was the same.

And now she laid there, with him on top of her, strangling her with one paw and fingering, or rather “clawing” her skin with the other, breathing loudly and yelling insults in her face, threatening her in all the ways he could come up with. His “crew” surrounded them, making eerie, wailing sounds. Someone tied Melanie’s hands and legs so that she was unable to move at all, unable to fight or escape. She felt as if the walls were closing down on her, about to fall down right on her, and the atmosphere of this place was seething with fear, hatred and everything was covered in sinister, impermeable darkness. Ian’s “crew” presented her with all sorts of scary visions, sounds and sensations. In a blink of an eye she saw her father being killed with premeditation, and shouting for help, she knew he could see her, but she wasn’t able to help him out, she was grounded. She saw her house being bombarded in a spectacular way, and then her daughter, Lily, standing beside her mother’s bed and crying over her dead body. She wanted to tell her she’s not dead, she wanted to scream, to console the poor child, but she couldn’t. She could no longer recognise whether it was truth, “just” a dream, or maybe something yet different. All that, and countless other things, she saw as in a flashlight, yet each of those visions looked like in slow motion at the same time. she could hear the strangest and most scary sounds echoing in the abyss, sounding distant yet piercing her ears at the same time. Those were Ian’s “crew”. They imitated voices of people from her life, said scary and cruel things to her in situations that felt as realistic as it was only possible, so she didn’t know anymore what’s real and what’s not. They played with her memories, reviving them, editing them so that they looked sinister. Once in a while, a loud, crazy laughter echoed in the distance. Scary shadows creeped around the ceiling, was it the ceiling of her room, or of her mind’s abyss, she didn’t know. They danced before her eyes, whispering, singing and making unnatural, unhuman noises. Everything was spinning, her body felt numb and floaty, her limbs jerking, her mind foggy. Her mind was all covered in a black, smooth veil, that didn’t let her feel anything other than fear. Her rational mind was switched off and locked away, where she couldn’t reach it. Fear was the only emotion she was allowed and able to feel. And it consumed her whole, not knowing any boundaries. She had no control over it.

Despite being grounded, and unable to move, Melanie tried to fight desperately, to push Ian off herself. Deep down she knew it was a waste of time, because the more she fought, the deeper they both fell down, and the more she was sucked in the dream, but it was an instinct that was stronger than her, and driven by fear. Ian loved when she did it. “Fight as much as you want” – he said one time, with his unnerving grin – “I’ll always win anyway.”.

Somehow, despite being barely able to breathe, move or do anything, she managed to push Ian off herself. As soon as that happened, the ties on her limbs fell down and she got up immediately. Now they started real fighting. With Ian, trying to knock her off again, and herself, trying to run away, or at least keep herself up, to hurt him if possible. The ground beneath her feet felt unsteady, and she felt Ian’s breath on her back all the time. Everything was against her. She was exhausted, and knew she couldn’t keep like that anymore, her body was giving up, soon she’ll be on the ground again. Ian’s “crew” stood around, looking at the battlefield with their soulless, transfixed eyes, yelling “Ian! Ian! Ian!” on top of their voices, as if supporting him. As they fought, the ground under their feet started to transform into sticky mud, that was growing deeper and deeper. Wading through it, Melanie was barely able to move her legs. Finally… it had to happen. Ian knocked her off. She fell down, head into the mud, and as soon as that happened, the mud changed into a stormy sea. The waves crashed erratically, roaring deafeningly and throwing her around like a ball. She could hear Ian’s voice far away, his sinister laughter, silent, but carrying through the water. She fought against the waves with all her might, all the strength she still had. She swam, not knowing where, just to e far away from Ian, and not to sink. Yet it was increasingly difficult. The fear gripped her tighter and tighter, pulling her in the water. “I want an end to this. When will I wake up? Chris! Chris, please help me!”. She screamed and screamed, didn’t even know what, just screamed, in hopes someone from the outside world will finally hear her voice. “Lily! Lily! Come here! Someone help me!!!”. but soon her body succumbed into the water.

She lied there for a long time, her body covered by the water and washed over by the waves, that have calmed down a little. That was better than having to fight all the time. She wouldn’t even mind dying there, or so she felt, but somehow, despite she sank, it didn’t happen. After a while of lying there, she noticed that the water was flowing away, faster and faster. Not much long after, she realised that she’s now on a shallow, her hands touching the sand. From the overwhelmingly big, scary sea, or perhaps even an ocean, this strange body of water suddenly changed into something smaller than a lake. She stood up, and came out to the land, disoriented and weak…

“Mummy! Mummy! Did you call me? What happened?” – suddenly, she saw Lily standing by her bed, worried.

“Oh, nothing, sweetie. I just couldn’t wake up. – she said, laughing nervously, hystericaly, as she thought, at the ridiculousness of her own words.

“Don’t be silly mummy. You wouldn’t call me if you were asleep.” – Lily grinned. Melanie hugged her, breathing in her smell and feeling thankful for the dream to be over. But why did she still feel so floaty and foggy, and so fearful?

“I just had a very long dream.” – she said.

“Oh, Lucky you! I love long, long dreams! It’s so nice to dream and dream and dream, and dream, and dream, and dream… and dream… and dream… and dream… and… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… dream… …” – Lily’s voice suddenly multiplied, echoing around the room, and sounded very unnatural. But where was Lily, actually? One moment she saw her daughter right beside her, and the next there was no sign of her at all. Or maybe it was Melanie who disappeared? It felt much more likely, as she found herself feeling floaty again. Drifting through something as soft as cotton wool. It would feel as a gentle fly, if not the fact that she could feel falling lower and lower, and she knew she would inevitably fall to the ground. With every “dream” her body lowered and fell deeper, and deeper, and deeper down, her mind fell deeper into some strange kind of trance, every single “dream” sucking her into one more eternity of sleep. Her body felt like a ton of bricks, and as if it was weightless at the same time…

Thud! “Yes, you bloody bitch. Now you’ll really have a very long dream. You like to dream, and dream, and dream, don’t you?” – Ian asked her, in his slow, deep, unnaturally calm voice. “He’s not right. It’s just a dream, I wil wake up. I will. I will. I just need to try hard enough”.

The story repeated again, with some additional surprises to the mix, just as Ian liked it. Tons of horrific visions, sounds and sensations that she no longer new to which world they belong – were they the reality, or “just” a dream – raced through her mind.

“Enough of it!” – she cried in her thoughts. “I have to wake up!”. “I need to! I don’t even know what time it is. Someone help me out of here.” In the midst of all the havoc she was going through, the ground started spinning even more under her, so did the ceiling. A big, dark hole opened a milimetre beside her arm, and started to suck her in. The crazy floating started all over again. Melanie yelled for helpfor all she was worth, yet again, no sounds came out of her mouth. She screamed, and screamed and screamed, and again, finally reached the ground, which felt like her own bed. Melanie looked around in disbelief. Was she finally awake? It did look like her own room. She tried making a sound, move her body, and succeeded. Or did she? She knew all too well that what feels true, doesn’t always have to be. It could be as well that her imagination was playing tricks on her. She still felt dizzy from the dream, and completely horrified and disoriented. “Chris?” – her hand searched for the pillow next to hers in the darkness of the bedroom. But Chris wasn’t there. There was only darkness around, but that Chris wasn’t there meant that it’s probably early enough to get up. “Lily?” – she called out, and immediately heard the sound of her daughter’s feet patting on the stairs.

“At last! You woke up, mummy. I’m already late for school. I was wondering why you’re sleeping so long.”

“Oh, really? Is it so late?”

“I guess very late. The sun is up.” – Lily didn’t know how to tell the time yet, and this was the only way she could do it. Melanie reached for her phone, to see what exactly the time was.  Although the relief has been rushing through her body, she still felt very strong consequences of her dream, her body still felt numb, her mind foggy, and the world was spinning. She was more tired than when she went to bed, and didn’t like the perspective of getting up and out of the house. And the fear was still crippling, she needed time to pick herself up. But she must have been felt even worse than she thought, because suddenly she realised she can’t unlock her phone. Well, she was sure that unless something happened to her brain, her password had to be correct, she was using the same gesture for ages, so maybe the phone was broken…? Phew, finally, the phone started to cooperate. Her wallpaper was changed, and some of the settings appeared to be different than how she usually had everything set up, but oh well, the phone was old, and yeah, Lily was playing games on it yesterday so maybe she did something to it accidentally. When she looked at the clock though, she was even more amazed and concerned about her sanity. The hour was changing! All the time. When she looked at it once, it would show 5 PM (way too late to go to school, let alone wake up), then 2 AM, then 6:30 AM, etc. etc. sometimes the hours were really out there, like 111:35, and weird things would appear on the screen next to them. Melanie panicked slightly – she knew all too well from her dreams that the numbers Ian seemed to always like were 111 and 35, they were symbolic for him in her dreams. “Really, Mel, pick yourself together!” – she thought. – “You have a nightmare and you go crazy. Something’s wrong with the phone, that’s all.”

“OK, darling, let’s have a quick breakfast then.” – she said, slowly getting up and battling the fog. Whatever the hour was, something to eat would be a good idea.

She got dressed, wondering when she’ll start to feel normal and more energised. She still felt like one leg in Dreamland. And the fear, the fear was still there. No smaller than at the beginning. She made breakfast for them both, which tasted like soap, still feeling unsafe and wishing that Chris hadn’t gone to work yet. She did a quick make-up, made sure Lily had everything she needed in her schoolbag, and they both went out. Melanie was a fit and healthy woman, an avid swimmer,and tried her best to live healthily. Therefore Lily’s school, being only 5 minutes away from their house, was never a problem for her to get to. Many parents having a similar distance would take their offspring to school every day by car, and were astonished seeing Melanie and Lily walking all the way even in the rain if there was a more comfortable alternative and taking less time and effort. But today, this short walk felt like an eternity to her. The ground under her feet was spinning, and felt as it was about to crack and consume her, she felt unsteady, barely able to catch her breath, fear rushing through her veins. Somehow she finally reached the school though, left Lily in the class, and slowly went back home. The way home was even more difficult, without a little, warm hand squeezing her hand. As she approached her house, she shakingly took out the key, warily opened the door, and not even thinking much about it, peeped in the house before coming in, as she supposed someone would be there. She couldn’t see anyone or anything, so came in, and through the dimly lit hall, not really knowing where she was going or where she should go. Her feet carried her upstairs to her room. She opened the door, and again, peeped in cautiously before coming in. She closed the door behind herself, and only then she saw…

There he was… Sprawled on her bed, with his legs stretched out, he laid on her bed, grinning appalingly at her. “God, I’m still dreaming! Or is he real”. The floor under her feet, feeling more and more unsteady, finally didn’t manage the pressure of her feet. She fell. ONce again. “God, can you help me? Will this ever stop? And if it will, how will I know it’s real? How can I know that when I don’t know when I’m awake, and when I’m dreaming? I already am not sure. Maybe it’s just a fucking psychosis.” – she thought in panic. Melanie was by no means a religious person. She didn’t have anything against any religion, and did believe that there is some God, although she never thought much about him, other than optimistically hoping he’s good, and doing all that He can to care for the world, and has a good plan to come out even from the worst things that happen to people, and that one day after she dies, maybe she’ll see Him, and be happy in some celestial, glossy new world with her family, and this enigmatic God being something like a good grandpa figure for her. She didn’t have a habit of praying though, and didn’t really feel it. And now, as she was trying to pray, so desperately, she couldn’t. She couldn’t find any words, neither of the prayers she learnt from her grandmother as a child, nor could she pray with her own words. Her mind was blank.

Let’s spare you the details of yet another episode of the neverending series of Melanie’s encounters with Ian. It’ll be enough to say that during that short time, she endured dying in a plane crash (by falling out of its window all the way through to the ground without a parachute), her legs being cut off by her own mother, who threatened to kill her if she’ll ever tell anyone who did it to her (no, Melanie’s real mother wasn’t a sociopath, just a tiny, cuddly, elegant lady, full of smiles and gracefulness, which made the execution the more spooky, to Ian’s pleasure), and seeing deformed corpses wandering around her kitchen and eating random stuff right out of her fridge. Melanie wasn’t a squeamish or oversensitive person. She was a very down-to-earth lady, working as a sales assistant, and, in normal circumstances, was always calm, collected and level-headed. In normal circumstances, she’d probably laugh it off, but with that black veil covering her mind, the atmosphere of the abyss of her mind, and Ian’s presence, which always freaked her out just by itself, the fear was unbearable.

“Mel! Mel! Wake up sleepy head, I’ve made pancakes for you!” – Chris called out cheerfully, standing in their bedroom door. “Have some good piece of news for you.”

Melanie felt a bit surprised. She couldn’t complain about Chris. He was always very caring and loving for her, but making pancakes for her, that wasn’t very like him. Suddenly, not thinking much about what she was doing, Melanie sprang out of bed, and ran right into Chris’s arms, who was now looking very astonished and worried, as she was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably.

“Oh dear, what’s happened?” – he brought her back on the bed, sat her on his knees and hugged her, running his fingers through her hair. Melanie desperately wanted to get rid of the fog sticking to her brain. SHe felt sluggish and weak, but wanted to share with Chris her dark secret. She never did before. “You know… I have those bad dreams…” – she said hesitantly. – “Yeah? And you had one now?”. – – “Yes. It was so… so creepy.”.

A weird thing then happened. Melanie felt as if at this moment, Chris could see what it was like for her. Look into her brain. See all the horrors she’s been through as clearly as if he experienced them himself, with the exact intensity. And she knew he understood. After a long while, he just said: “Now I see. I just wish you told me earlier. We will do something about it, together we’ll do that I promise.”. It sounded so reassuring. So doable. That she started sobbing all over again. “But I have a good news for you. A little surprise. I want to invite you to a ball today. My company is organising it and we can come with our family members. You remember? We were there last year too, weren’t we?” –

“Oh, really! Today? This is a surprise indeed!” – said Melanie, happy that something will distract her from what happened at night, and that her relationship with Chris suddenly looks so much better than ever, so much more harmonious. She was just a bit worried about her condition. She felt weak, wiped out and really not the best. Oh well, it will wear off until the evening, won’t it?

It didn’t, but as they were entering the exquisite hall, that was changed into the colourful and elegant ballroom for the night, Melanie tried her best to distract from the inner feeling of insecurity and fear lurking in every corner of her brain. She had Chris. There were loads of people. Many were their friends. SHe’ll have fun. It’ll be OK.

She danced with Chris, his one colleague, then another, then his boss, feeling more and more dizzy with each dance. The bright lights and loud music were really unsettling for her. THey felt really aggressive. “I guess I’m getting older.” – she said to Chris with a giggle, telling him that she doesn’t  feel well. “You just have to relax. You’re too stressed out by your work. I told you many times you’re going to suffer from it.” – “Maybe you’re right”. – she sighed, unconvinced. And just as she did it, she felt her heart sinking. She automatically looked in the direction of the entrance. She could barely contain her fear. “How can a real person look like that… I must be going crazy.”. She came closer to Chris, who was now chatting to one of his colleagues. “Chris?!” – she said, and he must have heard the urgency and panic in her voice as he apologised to the colleague and took her aside. “What’s the matter?”

“Did you see that man, the one who just came in?”

“Which one?” – Chris appeared slightly confused. “The one in red. He’s all in red.” – she uttered feeling a lump in her throat. How come everyone didn’t notice him? He looked so overwhelming, so different, his eyes so evil, how could people not see it? And why was he here? Melanie desperately wanted to believe it’s just someone looking very similar. “Ah, yeah, I see.” – Chris said after a moment. “What’s the problem with him?” “What’s the problem?!” – Melanie thought in panic. “He… he looks like… him… you know… like… like him” “What him?” – asked Chris, a slight hint of impatience in his voice. “Him!” – Melanie felt tears filling her eyes. The connection that was between them not long ago has gone now. “The… the guy from my dream? Do you know him?” “No, Mel, I’m afraid I can’t read in your dreams, I don’t know who you’re talking about.” “I’m asking if you know this man!” – she said, exasperated. “Hmmm… guess not, can’t remember him, and he’s quite characteristic, but it’s possible I’ve seen him somewhere, there are so many people milling around here every day. Maybe you know him too, and that’s why he looks so familiar to you.” “Maybe. I don’t want to talk to him anyway. i don’t want to talk to anyone. Can we go now? I feel completely shattered” “Don’t be silly, honey, we’ve been here only for two hours, we can’t go out just yet. Maybe go out and get some fresh air in. I’ll be with you in a moment, I need to the loo”. Melanie thought it was actually a good idea. She’ll go out and won’t have to look at that man, whoever he was. She can always call a taxi and go home on her own if she feels really scared. But first of all, what’s the reason to be so scared? Just because he looks like Ian? It wasn’t like her, she tried to rationalise, but her mind wouldn’t listen. The fear rose with every second.

She gasped for air when she came out on the balcony. For some reason, she felt constantly out of breath since she woke up. Just like she did in her nightmares. She gratefully appreciated the cold, brisk wind blowing in her face. There were a couple other people on the balcony, whom she didn’t know, mostly smoking their cigarettes, and one woman whispered nervously to someone on the phone. As she stood there, looking at the sky, she suddenly heard the door opening and someone else came out on the balcony. She turned around, expecting that it was Chris who came out of the loo, but it was one of his colleagues’ wife – Ellen. – Both her and her husband were occasional guests at their house, so Melanie knew her a bit and although never particularly liked, always admired her for her style and wit.

“Oh, hello, Melanie.” – she said, smiling politely only with her mouth. “We were looking for you and I thought you may be here.” Only when Ellen said “we” did Melanie noticed that there was a man accompanying her, whom she just glanced at and thought it was Ellen’s husband. She wondered what they might want from her. The only contact they had with her so far was through Chris, with Jim being his colleague and friend, and there really wasn’t much apart from their social connections that Melanie and Ellen had in common. “Turns out we have the same friend, Ian told me he knows you.” Hearing the name “Ian” Melanie jumped up as if someone pricked her with a pin. “You know Ian?” – she asked, feeling all the blood going down to her feet

“Oh of course I do! He’s my long time friend! But I’d better go, Jim doesn’t like me to disappear at parties for too long” – she giggled, and went back to the hall with the click-clack of her stilettoes. Ian heavily placed his hand, or paw, or however he prefers to call his extremities only he knows, covered in a velvet, red glove on Melanie’s shoulder, which she felt like a flame burning through her skin.

“Do you understand it now?” – he asked, slowly, calmly, quietly, scarily, in his deep, low voice. “Do you understand that I’m with you all the time?”

“No you’re not! You’re just a dream!!!”

“I know Ellen. She’s not a dream. And I will gladly get to know everyone that will give me the access to you anytime I want. Now will you go back with me where you should be now, or do I have to convince you?”

“I won’t do anything you want from me!”

“We’ll see.” – he just said, and laughed cynically. “We’ll ask Chris if he needs you, and if he doesn’t I’ll take you with me. I don’t want him to be jealous” – he laughed again, it was a dry, unpleasant sound. He dragged her into the hall, and found Chris, who was just happily chatting away with Ellen. If Melanie’s ability to feel anything else than fear wasn’t muffled at the time, she’d probably kill Ellen with anger and frustration, not caring for the consequences. Not only had she now her dream enemy – Ian – but also Ellen, who was real, who was happy to leave her with this monster and then spend the time happily with her husband, who was unaware of anything.

“Nice to meet you, Chris.” – Ian said, trying his best to smile. “Would you have something against me taking your wife for a short walk outside? We are old friends and I’m so happy to see her here again, so many years have passed…”

“Of course you can if you want” – Chris said happily. Chris. The one who was always so jealous about her even simply hanging out with other men. Now, when she needed him, he was happy to leave her with Ian, and would rather spend time with Ellen. “Chris! Please, don’t let him!” – she said. But there was no Chris, no ELlen, no ballroom, only darkness and fear. And herself falling down… and deeper down… There was even no Ian.

She was falling like that for a good while, and then fell down with a thud again, but falling on to something smooth, and not as violently as usual, her limbs jerking at the same time.

She slowly opened her eyes. The morning sun was cheerfully peeking through the window, but to her it felt unbearably bright. She felt as if she had a hangover. The room felt hot, her whole body sticky with sweat all over her skin, yet shaking and feeling chilly at the same time. Her head was throbbing, her ears ringing, heart racing, lungs gasping for breath, she felt dizzy, foggy and floaty… a very familiar feeling. Now she knew. She had sleep paralysis again. She felt so exhausted, that she would most happily close her eyes and fall asleep again. But she couldn’t. He would wait right there to get her in his claws again. But was she truly awake? Wasn’t it another false awakening? How can she know that? Melanie looked around paranoid as if she expected someone to be lurking in the corner of the room or behind the courtain, holding her breath. She couldn’t see anyone. battling the feeling of drowsiness, she sat up in bed. And she sat there, staring in the ceiling and not knowing for how long, the scenes of her dream replaying in her mind. When she finally felt strong enough to get up, she looked at the clock. It was only 7:30 AM. THe hour wasn’t changing, so she could hope she was indeed in the real world right now. Deep down she knew it, but she needed time to believe in it and feel sure. She found a small piece of paper on her bedside cabinet. “I took Lily to school. I was awake and you seemed to sleep so heavily and blissfully I didn’t want to wake you up. Chris x”. Melanie flinched. How was it possible someone could think she slept heavily and blissfully? Once more she realised there was no one who could help her out of those dreams other than herself. And how long could that dream last? Maybe 30 minutes, not much more. And she had experienced so much in this short time. It felt creepy.She had experiences from her past sleep paralysis episodes where she could see Chris getting up, or going into the room, and she would yell for help, but he wouldn’t hear her.

She went to the bathroom right away, and had a very cold shower, to get rid of the sweat, the headache and the fog around her brain. Only then she was able to really believe that the dream was over, and she was safe now. She wanted to believe it, despite the dream felt so bloody real.

She went back to her room to get dressed and make the bed, then to the kitchen to make herself a cup of tea and something to eat, then back to the bathroom to brush her teeth and hair, etc… And everywhere she went, she turned the lights on, so that soon the whole house was lit up. She felt like a child, scared of monsters lurking in the darkness under the bed. She constantly looked around as if she supposed someone was observing her. This too needed time to pass. Despite that sometimes she felt that if she was going to have such dreams often enough, at some point she will truly believe they are real.

Thankfully, it was Wednesday, meaning that she wouldn’t have to go to work until the afternoon. She knew that until then, she’ll recover, she will have to. She can’t go around looking like a frightened hare at work. She has gotten used to her sleep paralysis dreams, this one was just long and particularly difficult, but she will get over it.

And – of course – she did. Melanie’s clients and colleagues would never believe that only last night she spent ages fighting her worst enemy, and never knew when she will see him again. Therefore, she was trying to make the most of all the time she had in between. And not to believe all the bullshit he was telling and showing her. because as long as she didn’t believe it, he couldn’t win.

 

The temptation of little Meriel. My short story.

OK people so here’s another short story I wrote basing on some writing prompts. Funnily enough, just as my first one, which you can read here,

it also features some yummy food in one of the main roles. As always, sorry about any potential stilistical, grammar or other shortcomings in the quality, I’m only just starting with creative writing in English.

   The temptation of little Meriel

“…95, 96, 97… stupid sheep! Why don’t they do what I want?!” – muttered a 6-year-old girl, tosing and turning in her bed. The girl’s name was Meriel, and her problem was that she couldn’t fall asleep. She was trying to count sheep for the last half an hour or so, but with very poor results. The sleep wouldn’t come, no matter what she did. SHe went to sleep in a very joyful mood, all happy and excited, because the next day she was going to have a birthday. A 7th birthday. Her school friends were invited, lots of fun games were planned, and yummy food was prepared. Only, how can one think of a happy birthday when sleep doesn’t want to come at night? The joyful mood has nearly vanished, and Meriel was growing more and more irritated, and more and more scared every minute. The moon was peeking into her room, and long time has passed since her Mummy kissed her goodnight. Soon after that, she switched off the lights, and Meriel could hear her steps upstairs, and the slight creaking of Mummy’s bed. Meriel knew that she mustn’t wake up Mummy. Mummy was troubled by an ugly monster called Insomnia,

who liked to creep into her brain at nights and make it hard for her to sleep, so that sometimes she couldn’t even sleep at night at all. Even the small white pills that always stood on her bedside table didn’t always help. So when Insomnia wasn’t creeping in her Mummy’s brain, or when the pills were able to scare her away, it was the more important to let Mummy sleep peacefully. That’s what Daddy told her, back when he lived with them. “You are a big girl Meriel, and I know you can understand this” – he said. – And she didn’t want to let him down. She also loved her Mummy, and didn’t want to make her sleepy in the morning. She didn’t know what to think about this Insomnia monster though. She didn’t like her, because she was bad for Mummy, but she also liked her at the same time. Because sometimes, when Insomnia wouldn’t let Mummy sleep, Mummy  would come to Meriel’s room and lie with her, or would just bustle around in the kitchen, making herself a cup of tea, which made Meriel feel safe in her sleep, knowing that no scary monsters will come to her because Mummy will see them first and won’t let them sneak in to her little girl’s room. Sometimes, when Meriel had trouble falling asleep too, Mum would make two big mugs of steaming hot chocolate for both of them, and after that, Meriel was fast asleep, sometimes even before she could brush her teeth and go back to her room and Mummy had to carry her.

But now there were no sounds that could mean that Mummy was still awake, despite Meriel listened really carefully. “Maybe Insomnia didn’t come tonight.” – she thought. – “Good for Mummy. That can’t be nice to have a monster in your head.” And then, a scary thought came to her mind. What if tonight Insomnia decided to visit her – Meriel – instead of her Mummy? Is it her who doesn’t let her sleep? maybe she is right here, in her room? Standing beside her bed? Or maybe she’s already creeped into her brain? “I wonder what she’s like. Is she scary, like a real monster?” – she thought. Dozens of images filled her little head, as she thought what Insomnia might look like, and she barely noticed that it’s making her a little uneasy, more afraid. Just as she thought about that, the window curtain moved slightly. Meriel startled, and could barely stifle a scream. “She’s here! I knew it, she’s here!” – she thought panicked. Regardless of whether insomnia was in her room or not, any chance of sleep was gone now. Meriel hid under the duvet, her imagination flooded with horrifying images that she has just made up.

She spent there a long time, or so it felt for her, until finally she could stick her head out and look around the room. There was no one that she could see. “I should be brave” – she whispered – “That’s what Daddy has always told me. I should try to sleep and tomorrow it’ll be my birthday. I need to sleep.” She tried lying with her eyes closed for a couple more minutes, but sleep didn’t come. She was still too startled. After a while, a thought came to her mind: “If Mummy’s pills scare this monster away, maybe I should take one too?” That seemed like a good idea for Meriel. Very carefully, holding her breath, she sticked out one feet from under the covers, then another, after a while. She put her fuzzy slippers on, slowly got up, and quietly came to the door, peering through. It was dark and quiet everywhere. Only her heart was thumping loudly, and Fluffy – her dog – was snoring lightly on the carpet. Meriel stroked Fluffy’s fur to gain a bit of courage. She didn’t like the dark, and was very afraid of it. As she went through the corridor, the tapping of her little feet seemed loud and eerie in this sleepy house. She almost ran through the flight of stairs leading to her Mummy’s room, trying to be as quiet as possible, stopping in front of the door. She opened them very quietly and peeped in. “Mummy? Are you sleeping?” – she mouthed. There was no answer. Mummy was asleep, all snuggled up warm, and, seeing that, Meriel felt a sting of jealousy. She came closer and listened to Mummy’s silent breath. “Will she be mad at me if I take one pill? Just one? I’m not stealing it, I’ll tell her I took it” – she wondered – “But if insomnia came to me, I need something too to scare her away, I can’t go sleepy on my birthday”. And then, very silently, Meriel reached out for the jar with pills, standing beside her Mummy’s bed. As she did it, Mummy sighed in her sleep, murmured something and turned over. Meriel got startled, again this night. “Oh no, maybe it’s not a good idea, I’ll wake Mummy up” – she thought. And sneaked out of the room quickly.

“So what should I do now?” – Meriel thought, suddenly feeling very lonely and on the verge of tears. “Everyone else is asleep, even Fluffy is sleeping. I want to sleep too!”. she thought about all those steaming mugs of cocoa they’ve drank with Mummy, and how they always made her instantly sleepy. Maybe she should drink cocoa then? The problem was, meriel had no idea how to make cocoa, nor any other hot drink. She was an only child, not a very autonomous one, spoiled thoroughly by her loving, single Mummy, who let her play almost as much as she wanted and didn’t want her to worry about anything, and to whom it has never occurred so far that it could be helpful to teach her daughter some practical skills, so that she could cope on her own in case Mummy wouldn’t be there to help her.

But the next day was Meriel’s birthday, and because of this special occasion, there was plenty of delicious food. Meriel herself wasn’t taking part in the preparations, as she was in school when Mum was making all those yummies, but she knew well all that was there, as it was Meriel herself who made the list of all her favourite things that she wants to be on her birthday party. Another thing that Meriel knew, which would probably surprise her mother, was where all those delicacies were hidden, in hopes that Meriel wouldn’t discover them too quickly. She figured it out much earlier on another occasion, but now seemed to be a good chance to use this secret knowledge. Meriel’s Mummy, unaware of her child’s great detective skills, has always kept everything that she wanted to hide from her daughter – in the basement. –

Meriel didn’t like the basement, it was dark, cold and wet, and she suspected that there might be some mice or perhaps even rats, so even though she knew about this hiding place, she wouldn’t dare go there. But now, as she had already get out of her room at night, and stood there in the dark on the stairs, feeling her mouth watering and her stomach gurgling, she thought that it could be a nice, little nightly adventure, to go down to the basement, and have a little treat before birthday. Mummy surely wouldn’t notice. Nevertheless, she could feel a big, unpleasant knot in her tummy, as she thought about going down there, so before her basement expedition, Meriel popped into her room once again, and took out one of the keepsakes from his Daddy – a small torch which he bought for her for one of their campings, to help her overcome her fear of darkness, as her Daddy was a real enthusiast of travelling, especially all sorts of campings and tentings, and had high hopes that his daughter will one day follow his footsteps. – The torch had been lying uselessly among Meriel’s things for almost a year, and now it was finally its time. As she came back on to the corridor, Fluffy yawned and looked at her, intrigued about what her little mistress is up to so late at night. Meriel felt happier and braver that she’s not alone anymore, and as she went, Fluffy followed her faithfully, as if encouraging this little crime. “At least even if Mummy notices I can say Fluffy ate it” – Meriel chuckled.

She started going down the stairs, down into the darkness. “Hm, maybe I should rather go back? I guess it’s not good what I’m doing. It’s cheating…” – she hesitated, looking down and, again, feeling less confident. “Oh well, but I’m hungry! And I can’t sleep. I have to do something that will help me”. And that explanation seemed to satisfy her, as little Meriel continued walking down the stairs. THe door opened with a creek, that seemed somehow ominous for the little girl’s overactive imagination and uneasy conscience. But she courageously went in, looking for the place where all her birthday food has been hidden. As she examined the contents of all bowls and plates she realised that actually it would be hard for her to eat anything of it not leaving any sign. There were mostly cakes, and Meriel wasn’t the most skiled at cutting yet, she knew she wouldn’t be able to cut an even piece of cake, and even if, Mummy would see that something is missing. But then she remembered. There was one dessert that Mummy didn’t do yesterday, because it the best when eaten fresh. Meringue with ice cream! “So there have to be meringues!” – Meriel said to herself. “Fluffy, what do you think, where are they? Will Mummy be mad at me for eating a little piece of meringue?”. The girl imagined that Fluffy shakes her head, and continued rummaging the basement. “Ohh, here they are! Look, Fluffy! Now we’ll have a real feast!” – Meriel took a piece and gave it to Fluffy. Just like Meriel’s Mummy, and Meriel herself, Fluffy was also a real meringue connoisseur, so she appreciated the treat. But Meriel was more hesitant.

She certainly wasn’t an angel and liked to be mischievous and cunning, which both her intellect and fiery temper helped with, making her quite a handful to deal with for her Mummy, but she was at the same time a good-natured child and lying, cheating or stealing wasn’t her natural traits, even if it was just about stealing from her own birthday table. With her kind and honest heart, she would most gladly go back upstairs, woke up Mummy and ask her if she could eat a little meringue, or just anything, but imageries of her Mummy being plagued by Insomnia monster kept her from doing so, as she felt somehow responsible for her mother’s good sleep, and she just wanted to deal with the problem on her own. She took another, very small piece of meringue and held it in her hand. Suddenly, her heart became very heavy and she felt that she doesn’t feel hungry anymore. Maybe she can fall asleep without doing it? Slowly, she raised her hand with the piece of meringue, and licked it. “Mmmmm…” Only that something still wasn’t right. Suddenly, as if driven by some impulse, Meriel quickly put down the piece of meringue on its previous place and went back to the door. Confounded and disappointed Fluffy followed her obediently. “Sorry, Fluff, not this time. I forgot we need to wait for the guests. It’s too early for feasting. And I think meringue tastes so much better with ice cream. On its own it’s too dry for me.”

She left the basement with a sigh of relief so big that she didn’t even feel disappointed that she didn’t get to eat the meringue. Instead of going back to her room though, Meriel again sneaked into her Mum’s bedroom, as silently as she only could. “Maybe if we will be together, we can win over Insomnia” – she thought. – She curled up next to Mummy on her bed, and immediately felt so much  better. Safer. Sleepier. Fluffy curled up under the bed and dozed off right away. The silent, monotonous sounds of Mummy’s and Fluffy’s breaths calmed down the little girl, exhausted after all her late night wanderings. She snuggled up close to her Mummy, and gave out a quiet sigh of satisfaction.

She was satisfied with herself, and knew that she did the right thing. The next time, she told Mummy about her night time struggles, and Mummy was very satisfied too, that she has such a sensible and trustworthy, mature little daughter. And since that night, neither of them has fought Insomnia on her own. They both know that they have each other, and no scary monsters can change it.