I had worked late that night. Long office meetings and traffic put me home much later than I wanted. After a couple of beers and a microwaveable dinner, I resigned myself to bed. The house was quiet. I lived alone and the silence was quite welcoming.
I flopped onto my bed face first after my nightly ritual. Sleep was just on the horizon when suddenly there was frantic knocking on my bedroom door.
“Dad! Dad!” A child’s voice pierced the darkness.
I rubbed my eyes and tried to decide if the sounds were coming from my half-asleep induced coma, or if they were real.
The knocking began banging and slapping. “Dad, let me in! Mom’s coming, and she’s armed! Please, dad! You promised!”
What? I walked toward the door and stopped.
A shot rang out downstairs accompanied by a shrill scream.
“Dad, please…” Maybe the kid was lost or sleepwalking, but I wasn’t going to let him die or get hurt on my watch. I threw the door open and was greeted by a gush of wind that almost knocked me over. There was no one there. I decided it was time to shut the door and go back to sleep.
When I turned around there was a small boy on my bed. He was a sickly white color and wearing a non-descript white t-shirt with blue shorts. His hair seemed a bit ashy colored and he wasn’t wearing shoes.
“Is she gone?” he whispered. At that moment I was glad I decided to sleep in pajama pants and not just boxers.
“Who-who are you?” I asked.
He snapped his head up and looked straight through me to the door. “She’s coming back.”
I walked over to the bed and sat down next to the boy. “I’m sorry for whatever is happening to you, but I still don’t know who you are. Can we start with names? I’m Ben.”
“She’s coming back,” he hopped off the bed and scurried underneath my window. “Please, please, make her go away.”
“Look, kid…” I didn’t have time to finish my thought. My bedroom door started rattling and there was loud banging. It sounded like someone was trying to rip my bedroom door off its hinges.
“What the-“ I ran to the door and flung it open, ready to punch in the face of whoever was doing this. There was no one there. Once again there was a powerful gush of wind, this time forcing me onto my back. Loud screams and shrieks filled my room and I slammed my hands over my ears. I propped myself up on my knees and elbows and looked to the kid underneath the window. He was gone and the screaming had stopped. In his place was a blood stain smear spattered on the wall.
I stood up and moved toward the wall. “Kid?” No response. I turned around and looked at my bedroom door. It was sitting open giving me a clear view of the empty hallway.
“Ok,” I said. “Ok.” I pulled a flashlight from the drawer by my bedside table, grabbed my phone, and turned on the bedroom light. I clicked on the flashlight and crept down the hallway and hit the upstairs light. All was quiet and right where I left. I stepped carefully down the stairs, shinning my flashlight on the living room as I descended. Nothing. Everything was exactly the same. I turned on the light switch in the living room and kitchen. There was no sign that anything had happened.
I sat on the sofa and opened my phone.
“Hello 911, please state your emergency.”
“Yeah..hi, umm..I think someone broke into my house. There’s uh…blood underneath my window upstairs.”
“Where is the intruder now?”
“Yeah, I don’t know.”
“Are they still in the house?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ok sir. Please stay calm. Help is on the way. Can you please tell me what the suspect looks like?”
“Uh…well I think it was a woman and she had a little boy here? I don’t know. It sounds crazy.”
“Is anything missing?”
“Honestly I haven’t checked. I’m happy standing here…in the living room.”
“Can you tell me your name?”
“Ben. Ben Wyndham.”
“Ok Ben, can you please tell me about the boy you saw.”
“Sure. He was young, maybe five or six. He was wearing a white t-shirt and blue shorts. He looked sick.”
There was a knock on the front door. “Buffalo police. Open up!”
I opened the door and two police officers rushed in. “Drop the phone and keep your hands up.”
“Got it.” I didn’t argue but stood there staring at the officer and his drawn gun. What seemed like an eternity later, the other officer came stomping down the stairs.
“House is clear.”
“Ok,” Officer one said. “You can drop your hands. You are Ben Wyndham?”
“Yes,” I said.
“You called about an intruder?”
“There’s no one here,” Officer two chimed in.
“We’re going to take a look around ok?”
“Sure,” I said.
The cops let me get a shirt from my bedroom and I sat on the couch. As I sat there I ran back through the night’s events in my mind. I had so many questions.
After a while the officers came back to the living room. “Ben, we’re going to ask you a few questions ok?”
“Is anything missing?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t noticed anything.”
“Can you describe exactly what happened?”
I nodded and told them the story. They listened without any emotion and took notes on what I said. When I was done they were both quiet for a minute.
“Ben can you show us where the blood is?” Officer one asked.
“Yeah. Yeah.” I stood up and led the cops back to my bedroom.
“It’s here,” I pointed underneath my window.
The Officers went over to the window and examined it. After a minute they stood up and walked over to me. I noticed that the blood stain underneath the window had disappeared.
“Ben, are you feeling ok?” Officer one asked.
“Yeah. Yeah I’m fine. Where did the blood go?”
The officers looked at one another. “I think you may need a good night’s sleep,” the second officer said. “We will take our notes and put in a report ok? But you, you should just get some sleep.”
I didn’t know what to say. The blood that was clearly there before was gone. I finally managed a “Yeah. Ok. Uh..thank you for coming out.”
The cops nodded and I showed them out. I closed the door and began thoroughly searching my house for anything out of the ordinary. Everything was in its place and there was nothing strange. I shook my head and shuffled back to bed.
Sleep didn’t come easy that night.