On another note thank you to anyone who has read any of these stories. So far they are a part of the week that I look forward to more and more. We’ve reached number 20 today, the halfway point! Here’s to the next 20. Cheers and Enjoy!
Word Count: 989
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 28 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 28 minutes
The click of the light switch was loud as a firecracker in the little boy’s ears. He hated the darkness, that terrible thing we call night that comes every day no matter how much you try to wish it away. But he was ready tonight—or as ready as a scared little boy can be.
There were no windows in Harold’s room and when the lights went out, they were gone. Utter blackness. At first it’d been a dream come true for the boy. He liked to pretend it was space and he was traveling across the universe, fighting aliens and saving damsels in distress in billions of different galaxies. What adventures he’d had… at first.
Then they came, the scrum. That’s what he called them, it was the sound they made. A low noise that was almost a grunt, but he could hear the word clearly in their chants; scrum, ssccrruumm, ssssccrruumm.
“Sweet dreams Harold,” his mother said, and just like that the darkness was complete. The last piece fell smoothly into the puzzle, as the hallway light disappeared from the crack under the door.
Harold’s head disappeared beneath the blanket and the boy quickly sealed the edges between the seam of the mattress and box-spring. Once secure, checked, and double-checked, he sat cross-legged in the center of his bed so that none of the edges would escape their holdings and expose him to the infinite darkness of his bedroom.
He took deep, slow breaths, trying to calm the thunderous beating that emitted from his chest before they heard it. To his left—at the foot of the bed—were his weapons. A flashlight, aluminum baseball bat, Swiss army knife, and his trusty second-in-command, Sergeant Spongebear, keeping watch over it all. He ached to turn on the flashlight, but it had to be saved, all he could do now was wait and listen.
There was something strange about sitting in complete dark silence. If you let yourself you could forget which way was up, and which way was down. Becoming a piece of the unseen for short time. Harold thought that maybe when he’d been playing in the wild dark worlds of his imagination, something may have hopped a ride back with him and Sergeant Spongebear.
The quiet seemed to go on forever, and the thought that tonight would be different—scrum free—crossed his mind, but he knew better. He wouldn’t be tricked into taking down the protective blanket barrier, not this time. If they wanted him tonight, they’d have to come and get him.
Kkkccchhhttt, kkkccchhhttt. A long scraping noise ruined all the hard work he’d done on controlling the rhythm of his heart—it pounded now, and threatened to beat its way right up and out the boy’s throat. They were almost here, the scraping along the walls and floor was like the welcoming bell in school, on time every day. A tear fell from his eye as the fear began to spread its dark roots deeper and deeper into his small body. Harold tried not to think of what he would see this time when the blanket was thrown down. It changed all the time always seeming to stem from one of the boy’s deepest fears… but worse.
He hoped it wouldn’t be the zombies again but he was ready if it was. They were a new one, his dead, moderately dismembered parents and siblings, moving toward him ready to gorge on the sweet young flesh of their little Harold. That had been the worst night, besides the scrum monsters.
His body froze, but the room was getting hot. As much as he wished to believe it was from his rapid breath underneath the sealed blanket, lying to himself would do no good. It always got hot when they arrived. He looked at Sergeant Spongebear and slowly raised his right hand pressing his index finger over his lips for the bear to see. His other hand reached toward the foot of the bed, the weapons supply, and wrapped around the handle of the bat. He fought the trembling that tried to take hold of his body while frightened tears flowed freely from his eyes. There was no other time in his short life where he had been so scared. So alone.
When the scrum had first come to his room Harold told his parents, but they acted as all parents do when children are afraid. They said it was nothing to be afraid of, that it was just nightmares and they would pass before he knew it.
“Be brave big guy,” his father had said one night with a kiss on the head.
He heard more slow scraping across the floor, making its way up the walls and onto the ceiling. It would only be a few more minutes now. The palm of his left hand squeezed so tightly around the bat, Harold thought his knuckles may start glowing.
Ssssscccccrrrrruuuuummmmm. Ssscccrrruuummm. Ssccrruumm.
They were almost all there, almost as many as they should be, but it’s still not time. One is missing, he knows it by the sound of its scrum. The Scrum King Harold calls him.
It was never like the others, whether they were giant spiders, monsters, snakes, or zombies. This one stayed at the back, a black shadow with dull, glowing red eyes. It watched as if the whole production was merely a show, and though it had no face aside from the eyes, Harold knew it was smiling.
He pulled the bat closer as he felt something land on his bed at the pillow.
It’s here. The darkness outside the blanket is now one long, echoing scrum. The blanket at the foot of the bed sagged inward just in front of Sergeant Spongebear.
“Now!” Harold yelled, and he charged into the scrum bravely.