‘I must be the luckiest kid in the world,’ Chris thought.. Every other kid he knew had a bedtime. Not Chris. It didn’t matter if it was a school night or a Saturday night he could stay up as late as he wanted. After dinner he could play videogames until he could barely keep his eyes open or he would watch gameshows with his parents until they went to bed. Spending the night together with his parents around the tv was his favorite. Tonight was one of those nights. But like all good things it had to come to an end. Chris heard those words he dreaded to hear when they were all having fun. “Your father and I are tired. We’re going to bed. We love you.”
At hearing those words Chris decided he might as well go to bed himself. Both of his parents went into their room. Right next to their door hung a painting of a sailboat. His family had a cozy house and his room was a converted attic on the second floor. His was the only room on the second floor with the stairs leading directly into his room. On his way up to his room Chris passed the kitchen and the comfy red leather armchair that his father loved. He jumped on the chair then jumped off using some of his last energy of the day. Chris made his way up the steps, crawled into bed and tucked himself in. He turned on his tv trying to be lulled to sleep. There seemed to be little on tv that night because he was forced to settle for a dumb old looking cartoon.
The cartoon was black and white and looked like something that was older than his parents which he could hardly believe. Chris had never seen this cartoon, but it was better than nothing. It showed a classic bedsheet ghost looking around nervously. The ghost had just entered a house. Chris knew he was about to start haunting the place. After a few seconds the ghost looked directly at the screen, almost as if he was looking straight at Chris. The ghost put one finger to his lips and let out a “shh”. Chris always thought it was cool when it seemed like characters on the tv were talking to him.
Now that the ghost had all the viewers quiet it began exploring the house. As it walked it would move its head from left to right with every step as if it was constantly looking for someone to scare or nervous of being scared itself. Stark white against the black and grey background the ghost was emitting the main source of light in the Chris’s room. Chris could not help but focus on its every movement. Seconds later he began to notice the background of the cartoon. The ghost passed a few bookcases filled to the top. Unease began welling in his belly. For a moment half of the ghost’s body was hidden behind a couch next to a reading lamp.
The unease in his belly grew to a stinging terror clawing at his throat as Chris began to recognize what he was looking at. The ghost continued from the right of the screen to the left passing a shelf nailed to the wall with a baseball trophy on it. Chris’s baseball trophy. This was his house. It was drawn in the black and white style of an old cartoon, but Chris recognized everything he was seeing. He knew what the specter was going to encounter before it appeared on the screen. Cold sweat formed beads on Chris’s forehead. He wanted to scream but confusion and uncertainty smothered his fear. That was until the ghost stopped in front of a painting depicting a sailboat.
It was just outside his parent’s room. Chris wanted to scream out but choked it down when the ghost looked at the screen again. Once again it lifted a finger to its mouth and gave one more “shh.” It pulled a sign out from behind its back in old cartoon fashion that read “Screaming will only make it worse” written in what looked like paint. A chuckle escaped from the ghost’s mouth that it tried to stifle with a hand. The ghost went through the door and the screen faded to black momentarily. When the image reappeared, it was the most bizarre and terrifying scene Chris could image.
The ghost hovered next to a black and white bed. Two cartoon figures were laying in the bed with Z’s emitting from their mouths. Chris panicked trying to rationalize what he was seeing. There was no way that was his parents he kept telling himself. But there was no mistaking that he was looking at a drawing of his parent’s room. Everything was the same, down to the nightstand and the pattern on the bed sheets. The ghost winked at Chris and vanished underneath the bed. Chris slightly raised his head from his pillow too terrified to dare move any further. In the blink of an eye the ghost reappeared above the headboard of the bed. In each hand the ghost held a pillow. Before Chris could think about what he was seeing the ghost slammed the pillows down on the two sleeping cartoon figures covering their faces.
At that moment Chris began to hear a slight ruffle followed by muffled scratching and banging. Not on the tv though, below his room. Tears swelled in his eyes and began to streak down his face as his lips quivered. Chris managed a few whimpers before remembering what the sign had said. On the tv cartoon hands clawed at cloaked arms making folds in the cloth. Those sounds continued for thirty seconds stretched out over an eternity. All fell silent. The ghost raised up the pillows revealing the faces of the cartoon characters that now had tongues lulling out of their mouths. An X where each of their eyes should have been. At that Chris let out a full quick sob, shivering in his bed. The ghost chuckled and disappeared. Screen fading to black again.
His room was pitch black until an image returned to his tv. The ghost was in front of the painting of the sailboat again. Chris could feel his teeth chattering now as the tears continued to stream down his face. The tears blurred his vision but after he wiped them away his eyes went wide. The ghost was passing the kitchen and at the left side of screen color began to show. Red. Red was the only color on the screen, the color of the armchair right before the stairs leading directly to his door. Chris bolted upright still sitting in his bed, his neck and the collar of his shirt soaked in tears. The ghost hovered before the steps with its back towards the screen. Chris looked at his door then back at the screen. The ghost peered over its shoulder and winked. Darkness filled his room again as the screen went black. Light crept up his walls when white letters appeared on the screen reading “The End?”