Wisteria D. Jones’ Short Story #2: Things That Happen While I’m Asleep
I woke up and almost immediately noticed that a pair of jeans were half-hanging out of my closet. I hadn’t opened it again after taking out my clothes that morning, and I knew that I hadn’t left my jeans hanging halfway out the whole day. Not knowing why they were positioned the way they were, I asked J about it.
“Why are my pants hanging out of the closet?”
“You got up after we went to bed last night,” J yawned, still sleepy and tired.
“Yeah. You got up and went to the closet. You opened it and dug around for a while before closing it and leaving the room. You were gone for a long time.”
“I don’t recall exactly. I just remember noting that you were gone for a good while.”
“Did I say anything? Why I went in the closet, what I was doing?”
“You didn’t. I thought maybe you were changing your clothes or something.”
“What did I say when I got back to bed?”
“Nothing. You fell asleep.”
I studied the closet. None of my clothes were missing. I looked all around the kitchen, bathroom, and everywhere else in my small apartment in search of stray clothes that could be laying around where they shouldn’t be.
Nothing was out of place; save for my jeans hanging out of the closet. I couldn’t remember getting up, nor what I did when I left the room that kept me away for so long.
I still don’t know what it was I was looking for in my closet.
“What? What? What did you say?”
I woke up to the sound of J’s voice. The words were obviously a response to something someone had said, though I knew that we were the only ones in the room. Well, us and the cat. I stayed quiet, unsure if there was a third person in the room I didn’t know about.
The next morning I asked J a couple of questions.
“Who were you talking to last night?”
“Me? You were the one who was saying things.”
It was my turn to be confused.
“What? I woke up to you talking to someone.”
“I was talking to you. You said something and I couldn’t hear you. Then you just didn’t respond at all.”
“I thought you were talking to someone else.”
“Who else would I be talking to?”
“I don’t know. A ghost, a demon. You know weird things have been happening in the apartment lately.”
“You thought I was talking to a demon, and in response you just went back to sleep?”
“I was very tired.”
For the rest of the day I wondered what I had said that woke up J, resulting in responses that in turn woke me up. What had I said? What was it?
I still don’t know if I normally talk in my sleep, as that was the first and only incident.
“Do you ever notice that sometimes it feels like someone is walking across your bed? Even though no one’s there?”
“What do you mean? The cat walks across it all the time when I’m trying to sleep.”
“Your cat was sleeping next to us when I felt it. You were asleep, too.”
J’s tone was even. I had been told time and time again how J believed in ghosts and the paranormal, but I didn’t want to talk about such things while we were still inside the potentially haunted apartment in question. From every scary movie I had ever seen and every book in the horror section I had ever read, I knew that it wasn’t smart to discuss weird happenings right where they happened.
“We’ll talk later.”
It wasn’t until we were out shopping that the subject was brought up again.
“I mean, yeah I’ve noticed it before,” I said, not quite knowing how to explain myself. “I just thought it was my imagination, or my own body shifting and tricking me. I’m usually half-asleep when I feel it.”
“You can feel the individual footsteps though, right? You can tell where it’s stepping. It always starts at my shoulders and goes down towards my feet.”
“Yeah. Same pattern for me. That’s why I thought it was the cat. She uses a similar path.”
“You haven’t seen anything, have you?”
“No. Just felt it, I guess. I thought it was all in my head since i watch so many scary movies and stuff.”
“Maybe you’re just more open to it.”
“What’re you doing?”
J’s voice woke me up again. I look down at my hand, which is holding onto the handle on the front door. Luckily it’s still locked, which is why I probably had a hard time trying to open it.
“I don’t know,” I say, quite confused at what was happening.
I’m standing at the front door, barefoot with only a T-shirt on. I turn to go back to bed, still thoroughly tired and sleepy. As I turn, something falls out of my other hand and clatters to the ground. J picks it up and inspects the item with a confused expression.
“Why do you have a pen?”
I look at the pen. I don’t even know where I got it from. Last I could recall, the pen had been in my work bag that was currently in my car.
“I don’t know. Maybe I wanted to write something?”
“You were trying to leave out the front door. What could you have wanted to write?”
I dismiss the situation and head back to bed. J begrudgingly follows, still not convinced.
I was under careful watch for the rest of the night, and I don’t think either of us got much sleep. When I woke up that morning, I noticed that my arm felt like it had been scratched. Looking at it in the rays of the morning sun, I could clearly see the word that had been etched into my skin by the pen.