My door is always
closed when I sleep. My wife thinks it is just one of my idiosyncrasies, but
there is another reason.
When I was young, I loved sleeping with my door open. The
sounds of my parents moving around the house, watching television, etc. always
comforted me knowing I was protected. One night, when I was 8 years old, all
It was like any other night. I had a good day at school, just
finished playing through a few levels of Super Mario Brothers 3, and was ready
for bed. I walked out to see my mom was cleaning the kitchen and my dad was on
phone talking to somebody.
“Good night.” I said quietly enough to
not disturb my dad on the phone but to make sure they heard me. My dad smiled
at me and waved good night, but continued his conversation on the phone.
My mom came over and kissed me on the forehead, “Good
night Mijo, see you in the morning!”
I walked into my room and started getting ready for bed.
Normally, I slept with my side away from my door. I liked to hear the sounds
coming from my parents, but the light sometimes bothered me. I was always
asleep within 5 minutes, but this night was different. I heard the same sounds
that I always heard at night, but I felt something. Not something watching me,
but that something was there.
I tried to relax and fall asleep, but that
nagging feeling of something being at my door bothered me. I slowly turned over
to look at the door. “Was that a fingernail I just saw?” I thought,
“Maybe my mom or dad were just passing my room?” I turned back to the
wall and tried to reassure myself that it was nothing.
“What was that? It couldn’t haven’t been my mom or
dad.” My mind was racing with the possibilities of what I had just seen,
and suddenly the feeling returned. Gathering my courage, I quickly flipped
myself towards the door. This time, it wasn’t just a fingernail. There were two
long fingers, about twice as long as my dad’s, with sharp pointy fingernails. I
couldn’t move, paralyzed with fear. I began to try and shout, my voice trapped
in my throat.
Suddenly, the fingers disappeared. I took this moment to
hide under my covers.
“I’ll be safe under here,” I breathed easier under
the safety of my blankets, “nothing should be able to get me here.”
I could still hear my parents in the living room. Could they
not see what was outside my door? Surely if something was going to attack me
they would notice.
It only took a few moments before my illusion of safety
melted away. Again, I felt the presence of something at my door and I knew I
was not safe under my blankets. I peeked out from my blankets, and this time an
entire hand was visible. It had impossibly long fingers that were wrapped
around the frame of my door. I saw one of its sharp fingernails slowly start to
scratch along the inside of the frame. I was not safe, I needed help. I did
what any 8 year old does when they get into trouble.
Happy Kristanna Christmas Emma! I’m so sorry this is late, I hope you like it!
The nurse regarded Anna with a blank stare as she recounted her story.
“…and bam! The snowball hit him square in the back of the head! I didn’t mean to hit him- well, no, that’s a lie, I did mean to hit him, because that hat is just ridiculous- I just didn’t mean to hit him so hard! I mean, who knew I had it in me!”
The nurse blinked twice, sighed once, then positioned the pen above the form in front of her. “Name?”
“My name? It’s Anna.”
“Not yours,” the nurse took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes, “The person you brought in.”
“Oh! Well, would you believe me if I said I didn’t know?”
“At this point I’d believe anything.” The nurse muttered under her breath. “Well, you’ll have to fill out this form to the best of your ability then.” She shoved the form in Anna’s face and left to deal with the next patient.
Anna sighed heavily as she stared at the form. What started out as an afternoon of innocent fun turned into a harried trip to the ER, bringing in an innocent victim of her shenanigans. She was about to start filling out the form with fabricated information when the doctor came out of the swinging doors.
“Who brought in the John Doe?” He announced, looking around the room.
Anna ran up to him, her arm raised. “The blond guy? Gray jacket, red scarf? Weird hat?”
“Sounds about right. He’s waking up, you can go see him. First bed on the right.” He walked back through the swinging doors, Anna following. She pulled the curtain aside at the first bed on the right, and came face to face with the victim of her vicious volley.
“Uh, hi.” She looked up at him sheepishly.
The man in question was sitting on the edge of the hospital bed, rubbing the back of his head. He grunted as a response to Anna’s greeting.
“So… I’m so so sorry for hitting you in the head with a snowball! I’d been inside all day studying for midterms and I was going crazy, so I decided to go outside for some air, and the snow was so beautiful and I can’t resist snow after a fresh snowfall, right? So I picked some up, and it was perfect packing snow, so I made some snowballs and just threw them at trees and stuff but that got boring, and that’s when I saw your head come around the corner and that silly hat just begged to be hit with a snowball…” Anna trailed off as she saw that the man was giving her an odd look.
“You think my hat is silly?” It was the first time she’d heard him speak, and she noticed his voice was deep, but not unpleasantly so. It had a rich resonance to it that settled pleasantly in the pit of her stomach.
“Uh, yeah? I mean, I’ve never seen anyone wear anything like that. Guys normally wear like baseball caps or beanies, it’s just different, you know?”
“Do you normally go around hitting people because they look different?” He said it with such a serious face, brows knitted together, that it gave Anna pause. She started to feel the sweat beading on her forehead.
“No no! Of course not! That’s not what I meant! I mean, yeah it’s different, but not a bad different, you know what I mean?” Anna backtracked wildly, and for once in her life she wasn’t sure she could talk her way out of this one. To her immense relief, however, he smiled. That is to say, one corner of his mouth turned up slightly. He held the hat in question in his hands, mindlessly turning it over in his lap.
“It was my grandfather’s. He came from a family of ice harvesters, back in the old country. He was actually the last one in my family.” His face brightened at the memory, and at the mention of the old country, Anna could detect a hint of an accent in his speech.
“What country would that be?” She asked, scooting onto the hospital bed beside him. Curiosity had gotten the better of her, so she completely missed the look he gave her as she invaded his space.
“Uh, Norway. That’s where my family is from. I came here as a kid.” He cleared his throat, suddenly very aware of Anna’s shoulder against his arm. He seemed frozen, unsure whether he should move over for propriety’s sake, or stay where he was so as not to offend her.
“Oh that’s cool! Haha, get it? Cool? It’s a cool country… Haha… ahem.” Anna laughed at her own joke, but immediately stopped when he didn’t laugh. She slid off the hospital bed, remembering her manners. “I’m Anna, by the way.” She held out her hand.
“Kristoff.” He took her proffered hand in his, shaking it firmly enough that Anna could feel his strength. At this point he had also stood up, and Anna almost pulled a muscle in her neck craning it to look up into his face.
“Well, Kristoff, I think the doctor is probably gonna release you soon, and I really need a break from studying, plus I owe you for hitting you in the head and making you go to the hospital. You, uh, wanna go for a coffee?” Anna wasn’t used to asking guys out, but something about his demeanor and history piqued her curiosity. Hesitantly she looked up at him through downturned lashes.
He seemed to be pondering, she couldn’t quite read the look on his face. His features betrayed no emotion, but unless it was a trick of the garish fluorescent lighting, there was a glint in his eye. “On one condition.” He finally answered.
“Of course!” Anna responded rather quickly. “What’s the condition?”
A grin finally spread across his face, and Anna found the crinkles at the corners of his eyes quite endearing indeed. “You have to stop making fun of my hat.”
“What? This one?” She grabbed his hat and playfully smooshed it on his head.
“Oh! Oh my god I’m so sorry!”
“I thought of another condition.”
“Stop touching my head.”
“But I can’t help it! You have this weird mop of blond hair.”
“Oh we’re making fun of my hair now?”
“I won’t even get started on your boots…”
First, you are well within the gifting days so this is definitely not late. Second, I absolutely LOVE this. All my favorite things crammed into one thing! Thank you so much, I’m now going to read this 3 times over until I memorize it!