My Craft

Behind the Faded Wallpaper


Sunday mornings I rest; no talking, no movies, and no human sound. Once the dogs wake me, I lie on the bed 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 seem richer. Birds share greetings and I can hear the leaves slapping against each other. Bees hesitate among the flowers and I swear the hedge hides a family of crickets.

This morning, I heard a slight whistle. Not a loud whistle, but more like your grandma dozing in an overstuffed chair. A light pat-pat interrupted the sound followed by a pause and then a single pat. The pats punctuated the sucking in an infrequent but regular manner and seemed to come from above me. I needed to investigate it.

Climbing on the mattress, I steadied myself by grabbing the bed post. I ran my fingers along the wall. Finding a small tag, I ripped it off. The sucking noise grew louder and the pat-pat stopped. I reached up and looked through a small hole. I saw nothing through it other than darkness.

As I started to look away, I saw a flash of light. Something waited on the other side. Hesitant and anxious, I listened. I only heard the swoosh of air sucking through the hole.

Outside a dog barked and I nearly fell off the bed. I climbed down and pulled the bed away from the wall. I reached up to the hole and barely pushed my finger in. My arm hung down with my finger stuck in the hole. If something planned to jump on the other side, I lacked any leverage. I laid against the wall and listened.

With my finger in the hole, I no longer heard the sucking noise. I pulled my finger out of the hole and the sucking grew louder. I moved my finger over the hole and away again tapping out a dance beat. As much fun as this was, I realized I really wanted to know what awaited me behind the hole.

I picked at the hole making it larger. I pulled away more pieces of wallpaper and pieces of the wall fell away. Now the sucking noise was gone and I could feel the air move to the other side. There was a room on the other side of the wall.

By this time, I could just about reach up to the hole without straining up and I reached through. Not much on the other side. Nails poked through the wall and I could feel their sharp ends. No installation. I stood on my toes and pushed through the air. Nothing met my hand on the other side.

I looked around for a stool or chair so I could get a better peak. Below the sink, I found the small step stool used by my son to reach the water. I ran over and bought it back to the wall. Standing now on one foot – the stool was too small — I straightened up to the hole.

Tired of balancing on one foot, I shifted my weight to the other foot. The stool skipped and rocked. I managed to keep my balance and not fall off. Clutching the wall, I looked through the opening to the other side.

A cold, dirty breeze hit my nose as I focused on the other side. It smelled like potting soil and as my eyes adjusted to the light I could see a bassinet. Cobwebs rose up from the child’s bed. A mirror flashed light from a small window. A dirty metal dish, wooden spoon, and a small tin cup were tossed in front of a rocking chair. In the chair sat a small skeleton.

I found a room I never knew existed and it appeared a lot more.

© 2016, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.

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3 thoughts on “Behind the Faded Wallpaper”

    1. I’m glad you liked it. I’m trying to make creative writing more of a daily exercise in the hopes I can eventually just do it! This just popped in my head: it might make a good first chapter to something.

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