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What We Don't Know

By: Solange

Movement in the doorway of the bedroom jolts me awake. What the devil is that? Am I dreaming? No. I'm awake. My mind is zipping through logic. This is not logical. But I'm seeing it. An upright creature with the body of a crocodile and the head of a wolf turns its burning red eyes on me. Its claws are reaching--. I try to scream, but the sound lodges in my throat. I try to get up, but can't. I'm immobilized as if my arms and legs are tied.

I tell myself that this thing can't be real. Nor can it be the result of residual drugs. The birth of my son was natural, joyful, and I wasn't given any drugs. But it is there, an ugly beast, and I'm praying silently to all my spiritual guardians for protection. I'm praying hard, battling it with my mind. Five minutes. Maybe ten. Across the room, my baby, nine days old, sleeps peacefully in his crib.

Suddenly, moonlight pours in the window. It washes the room in pale light, and the thing backs away and disappears. My invisible bonds are broken; I leap from the bed and snap on the lamp.

Imagine me: blonde, blue eyes, twenty-one, practical and organized. I'm sleeping in the nursery for two reasons: to feed my baby and because the doctor advised me not to walk the stairs for several weeks. My husband is in the master bedroom upstairs. This bungalow is our first house, and Christopher is our first son. I named him after St. Christopher who allegedly chased the snakes from Ireland. My son, like my husband and I, is blonde with big blue eyes.

By morning, I've rationalized the night incident as a weird hallucination, nothing more. I'm calm, in charge, the sun is shining and I feel good, so I don't mention the hallucination to my husband. I don't expect it to happen again. That day everything is pleasant and normal. My baby is content.

But the next night, the reptilian creature once again awakes me. I watch it clawing at the air, trying to stretch its arm into the room. Its claws are deadly. I try to get up, but can't. I can't move. Again, I pray frantically to my spiritual guardians. Again, the moonlight comes through the window. The creature vanishes and I leap from the bed and snap on the lamp. There is nothing in the room, but my baby and me. I feed my son and hold him as I sit in the rocking chair. I wait until dawn, then I go back to bed.

At breakfast, I say to husband, "I think I'm having post-partum hallucinations."

"What kind?"

"Oh, just weird stuff." I can't bring myself to describe it, and he doesn't press me. He gives me a hug and kiss and goes off to practice law.

But I'm thinking: Maybe it was a hallucination the first time. But twice? Am I going mad? No, if I were mad I couldn't think about it objectively. I'd be hysterical. What the devil is that thing? Why doesn't it just come into the room and choke me? Then I remember. There is a tiny Hebrew scroll nailed to the nursery doorframe. It was there when we moved in.

I don't know what it means, but assume it has spiritual significance. Is it preventing the monster from coming over the threshold? I'm not sure, so that night I take precautions. I drape a rosary around my neck with the silver cross in plain sight. I put a Bible on the bedside table.

Through all this, my son is placid, eating well, gurgling, smiling. He cries only when hungry. Even though I'm a tad psychic and educated in psychology, I can't figure out what is going on.

The third night I go to bed at 10 p.m. as usual. I think about leaving the lamp burning, but decide my fears are ridiculous. The creature is not real. It can't hurt my baby or me. But I am wrong.

Again it appears. Again it immobilizes me. It sees the cross; it hears my prayers, and it exerts itself to stretch its claws into the room. I sense an urgency in its concentration. As if to halt my prayers, it says to me via telepathy: I don't want you.

What do you want?

I want the soul of your son.

I shoot back a mental message. Over my dead body.

At the moment its claws clamp on the crib, my son begins to wail. Terror shakes me. Like a wild horse, I jerk hard and break the bonds holding me. I thrust myself across the room and grab my baby. I snap on the lamp. To my horror my son is covered with red welts. His tongue is swollen, protruding from his mouth. He is gasping for breath.

Now I am hysterical. Screaming. My husband comes running. We jump in the car and race to the emergency room of the hospital. We are standing there in our pajamas when the doctor tells us. "It's an allergic reaction to something."

Allergic reaction? To what? Until now he's been content with baby formula.

I know that if I say monster, I'll be put in the psycho ward.

The doctor gives my son a shot of cortisone. After a while the red welts and his swollen tongue subside, and we return home. This thing is dangerous, I know that, but its existence is unbelievable. All I say is, "It's something in the nursery."

That night and for every night until we move, my son sleeps between my husband and me, or in a bassinet, in the master bedroom upstairs. Allergy and visions come to a halt. I don't tell my husband about the monster. It sounds insane. I simply say, "There is something weird in this house. I think we should move."

He is not religious or superstitious, but he goes along. Two weeks later, we move.

I never see the reptilian creature again.

As my son begins to walk and talk, I am careful not to expose him to anything pertaining to the devil. No pictures. No TV cartoons. I never mention the concept of evil. After all, he is just a child. I do read to him about animals and show him pictures from nature books. He is a precocious child. His pets are a kitten and a frog. Usually he is not afraid of anything.

Our new house is on a hill, and the windows of Christopher's bedroom are large and high above ground. Only a giant could look into his window. Yet one night when he is four, he begins screaming. He races down the hall and dives into bed with my husband and me. He is shivering with fright.

"What's the matter, honey?"

He tells me a monster was looking in his window. He describes it as a crocodile with the head of a wolf. He says it had red eyes.

I break out in a cold sweat. I had never told anyone about my vision. Yet my son describes the monster I had seen. The next morning, I call the priest to bless the house. The entire matter is beyond my understanding.

For years, I keep my own council, but when my son graduates from high school, I attempt to share my thoughts with him. "Do you remember the monster you saw at your window when you were four?"

I get no further. The electricity blows out. The house goes dark. Both of us are spooked. We scramble for candles. Five minutes later when my husband comes into the room, the power returns. He has no explanation for the outage. There is no storm. It is a clear October night, so clear that a shooting star could be mistaken for a spaceship. It is in fact the same date that I saw the creature seventeen years earlier. Is this yet another eerie coincidence? I'm trying not to think about it. My brain is like a ball of intuition, peeled back to the core, the text shudders to the skin and I don't speak of the monster anymore.

The End

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