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June 17, 2024

Drip, Drip, Drip

By Tedi Trindle

Yes, she'd gone back to bed just as she'd done so many nights. Gone back to bed with all that haunted her. Mother and Father, they were trying to assuage her fears, but to no avail. "There are ghosts, Mummy!" she wailed, but she was still beleaguered. It was all put down to "night fears", a clinical evaluation of a very real fact.

When Rosalyn went to bed, the ghost world came out to keep her awake. She tried to shut her mind to the presences. Lord knew, she was only nine. She should be worrying about gym class.

She really didn't know what happened to people when they were dead. She went to church, and the people in church told her that good people went to heaven, wherever that was. And that the bad people went to hell. And that was what concerned Rosalyn.

"If all the world comes down to whether you are good, or if you are bad, why would you leave and go to the bad place?" she wondered. "Maybe you can't stop death, but it seems to me that, if you are still conscious after you die, you have a choice." And what Rosalyn concluded was that happy people did not hang around after they die. What her mother told her was that the world was a bright and happy place.

She was not pleased by the prospect of the alternative. But, as a child of only nine, she was still a child. And she was still living in the house she was born in. They lived in a clapboard world of what was right and what was wrong, and beware and betide the someone who disturbed the serenity. She wanted only comfort, but no one listened. No one believed that when she was tucked in and read a story, once the lights went out, the world of her imagination and the damned crept in.

Rosalyn tucked her head deeper into her pillow and looked with fear upon the door, the closet, under the bed. The pillow was scented with the "fresh rain" conditioner her mother threw into every load of clothing. It comforted her.

She started to doze off.

And then she started to hear it. "Drip, drip, drip". "There must be a faucet that is not turned off," she thought to herself. She snuggled deeper into her pillow. Tomorrow was Angie's birthday. There would be a party. Think positive thoughts. Might be fun.

"Drip, drip, drip," she heard. She drifted her hand lazily down to the floor and felt comforted by the reassuring lick of her new puppy's tongue against her fingers. He was under the bed, ready to aid and comfort against the ghosts which assailed her. Nobody would hurt her while Spike was on patrol.

She was just about asleep, the time where daydreams capitalize on the mind. You wander incessantly in the dream force/place that is half of your life. If you fall asleep obediently, then the world mostly leaves you alone. But if you resist, then you are on your own. Rosalyn was on her own.

"Drip, drip, drip." It must be a faucet, probably in the utility room. The plumbing was notoriously bad. Rosalyn dropped her hand again off the side of the bed and again felt reassured by a comforting lick on the side of her palm. "I should go check it out," she thought. Maybe she could turn off the faucet and sleep more peacefully as a result.

Sleep beckoned, once or twice, and she heard the dripping. "Ok, this is stupid. I won't call for anyone, I just can't sleep for the noise." She drew her robe around her and walked down to the basement. Everything was dark and scary. She rarely had ever been in this part of the house.

She flipped on the light and felt instantly comforted. Working her way down the stairs she chanted to herself, " as soon as I figure out what it is, I can sleep". She continued on her way, saying, "I can sleep, I really can, I just need to rest and have no distractions."

Kicking aside some moldy boxes, she made her way to the laundry room. Reaching out to turn on the light, her hand made contact with the switches. The light burst on, independent of Rosalyn's thoughts.

"Drip, drip, drip." She moved forward, mindless of the clutter aroumd her.

The sink. She looked at the sink. And there was Spike. Not running around as he always did. Just dripping, head over heels, lashed to the faucet, blood dripping out of his mouth.

With an agonized cry, Rosalyn screamed.

Article © Tedi Trindle. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-11-27
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