The story so far:
I slept in the next morning. Subconsciously forcing myself to remain sleeping long after the sun rose, an act of pure willpower. After my little apparitions had faded back into whichever realm they came from, I had crawled upstairs, skipped brushing my teeth, and gone to sleep in my favorite shirt. I didn’t dream back then, before the preacher. Even after the break-in, after everything that happened, I never dreamt about anything: not flying, not work, not happier days, not being tied up and watching them die, nothing. I hear Caroline, “You dream, baby, you have to. It heals your mind and cleans out the junk.” She’d read it somewhere. But it can’t be right, because I didn’t dream before the preacher. But I dream now, and I don’t find it beneficial.
Eventually I had to get up. The shrink I had seen for awhile said so. I could hear his voice whine in my head, “You can’t sleep forever, you know what it means if you say you want to.” Yeah, I knew, I’d get committed until I stopped talking about perpetual sleep and all the sleeping pills it would take to achieve it. I didn’t feel rested. But I got up anyway and walked to the kitchen, maybe an Irish car bomb and some Snickers for breakfast. Seemed like a good pairing. Caroline would probably not have agreed, at least not for breakfast. She used to make this amazing French toast sandwich thing with cream cheese and orange marmalade inside. Pan a deux or something, I think I’m remembering the name wrong. It doesn’t matter anyway because I never learned how to make it myself and now it’s lost. Something squeaked under my feet. No, not under my feet. I looked down to see which SpongeBob character it was and there was nothing there. Another squeak penetrated the silence. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Maybe I could sleep on my feet, stop this nightmare. Squeak.
Standing in the middle of the hallway, master bedroom behind me, flanked by the kids bedrooms, and kitchen in front of me, I saw nothing. I turned, ready for something, but not quite sure what. Nothing. Ok, just a mishearing, like a misunderstanding. It was silent, I heard a noise, mishearing. You said, “I want to torture and kill your family,” I heard, “My car broke down can I use your phone?” It happens. I continued on to the kitchen. Maybe coffee and toaster waffles were a better idea for breakfast. I was feeling shaky enough already. The kitchen was empty, no ghosts. On the kitchen table sat the big orange bowl I had bought to hold the candy for trick-or-treaters. My stomach growled and I decided to go for that Snickers after all. The bowl was fuller than I remember. Candy almost spilled over the rim. I leaned over to check it out, hoping there was a Snickers right on top. Nope, figures. I reached my hand into the center of the candy mountain, nothing, just the hard, round Smarties packages. I reached further and felt something I didn’t expect, something soft. I pulled it out. Squeak. It was Squidward. Hysterical giggling filled the house, from every direction and through it all I could hear a slow, steady knock on the front door.