Thursday, November 8, 2012

It Was Nothing (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Petal's mother insists she sleep in her own bed like a big girl and then... 

I wrote this short story to increase the understanding of children with anxiety (I was one of those children).

It Was Nothing
by Leanne Dyck

In pink flannel footie pajamas, Petal crept onto her mother’s bed eased back the covers and curled up. 


The lamplight cut the darkness. 

“What’s the matter, Honey,” her mother asked.

“I want to… I want to sleep with you.”

“Oh, Petal, we’ve been over and over this. You’re a big girl. You have your own room.”

“No, I can’t. It’s under my bed.”

“I’m sure there’s nothing there, but I’ll go with you, and we’ll look.”

Armed with a flashlight, Petal's mom led Petal back into her bedroom.  

Petal prayed silently for protection as her mother scanned the area under her bed.

The beam of light hit something. It moved. 

“There. It’s there. It’s right there.” Petal covered her eyes.

“Open your eyes. It's nothing.” Petal's mom held something in her cupped hand. Petal stared at the dust bunny.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

“What's? What’s that?” Petal wrapped her arms around her mother’s leg.

The flashlight’s beam fell on the window. “It's just a tree branch hitting the window.” Her mother frowned. “Now, please, it’s late. We both need to get to sleep." 

Reluctantly, Petal crawled into her bed. 

Petal's mom left the door open a crack.  "Now, don't wake me again!"

Clutching her teddy bear, Petal laid her head on her pillow, pulled the covers up to her chin, and forced her eyes shut. It’s nothing. It’s nothing.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"Mommy says, you’re just a tree branch. But you sound so close. Like you’re under my bed."

“I’m going to get you.” 

"Mommy says, you’re nothing—just my imagination. But I can hear you breathing, talking, waiting."

A furry, brown arm reached out from under the bed.

The next morning, Petal’s mom called, “It’s breakfast time.” 

Walking into the bedroom, Petal's mom flicked on the light. Petal wasn’t asleep on her bed. She wasn’t in the bathroom, living room, or outside playing on the lawn. She was gone. 

Barely breathing, hoping, and praying, Petal's mom returned to Petal's bedroom but all she saw was the abandoned teddy bear. Her face wet with tears, she cradled the toy in her arms. “But it was nothing.”