Sunday mornings I rest; no talking, no movies, and no human interaction. Once the dogs wake me, I lie on my pillow and stare upwards. Last Sunday, I counted 337 holes in the ceiling tile around the light. So far, the number hasn’t changed. Over the past few weeks, sounds are richer. Birds share greetings, and leaves slap against each other. Bees hesitate among the flowers, and I swear the hedge hides a family of crickets.
On this particular morning, I perceived a slight wheeze. Not a loud whistle, but closer to your grandma dozing in an overstuffed chair. A light pat pat interrupted the wind followed by a pause and then a single pat. The pats punctuated the sound; an infrequent rhythm and seemed to come from above me.
Climbing on the bed, I steadied myself by grabbing the bedpost. I ran my fingers along the wall and noticed a short tag. I ripped it away. The hissing noise grew louder and the pat pat stopped. I peered through the hole, and recognized nothing other than darkness.
As I glanced sideways, I noticed a flash of light. A room waited for me. Hesitant and anxious, I listened. I only caught the sound of air rushing through the opening.
Outside a dog barked and I startled before climbing up the spot. My arm hung limp as I fingered the hole. If anyone planned to jump me, I lacked any advantage.
With my finger blocking the opening, I no longer heard the sucking noise. I pulled it from the hole and the wind became louder. I moved my finger over it, then away tapping out a dance beat. As much fun as this was, I realized I wanted to know what was on the other side.
I picked at more pieces of wallpaper and reached into the break with my hand. I stood tiptoe. Nails stuck through and I touched their sharp ends. Clutching the wallpaper, I smashed through the opening and saw a small room.
I entered the dusty dark interior and a damp, dirty breeze hit my nose. It smelled like potting soil, and as my eyes adjusted to the room, I saw a bassinet. Cobwebs rose from the child’s bed and a mirror flashed light from a small window. A rusted metal dish, wooden spoon, and tin cup had been tossed in front of a rocking chair where a child’s skeleton sat.
I approached the desk where a child had scrawled my name. Was this a dream?
I woke with a start.
Then, I took a deep breath, looked to spot anyone watching, and counted the ceiling tile holes once again.
© 2016 – 2019, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.
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