October 31, 2014

A Very Scary Story

It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed in jagged arcs across the sky. Thunder shook the walls and rattled the windows.

In the attic of an old dark house, three children lay peacefully sleeping. Their mother slept in a room only feet away, dreaming peaceful dreams. Her last peaceful dreams. Her husband was gone for the weekend, away to drink and laugh with old friends in a cabin on the Maine coast. Fleetingly, she had worried that he might be walking into a classic Stephen King story, but this was the real world, she told herself. Horror stories aren't real.

The floorboards creaked as gale raged on, masking the sound of thousands of tiny feet, even closer than the hallway beyond the bedroom door.

Dawn broke, and she heard light footsteps rushing past. A chill ran down her spine, and she shivered. It's just the children, she said. They're going to wake up Grandmommy and Poppa. I can sleep a little more...

She woke lazily, with no idea of the terrors the night had wrought upon her.

She scratched her head, lamenting how rarely she showered these days, and thinking that it must be catching up with her in the form of worsened dandruff. I'll be sure to take a shower today, she thought, ominously.

She entered the guest bedroom and curled up with her three beautiful children. Her fingers played in their thick mops of long curls, and she pressed her cheek against theirs as they laughed and kissed her good morning.

Snuggled up against them on the floor, talking with Poppa about their plans for the day, when Grandmommy emerged from the shower.

Her shadow fell long and black upon the carpet. The mother felt her skin grow cold, and shivered again as she reached up to scratch her head once more.

"I have some bad news," Grandmommy said, and the mother felt her heart freeze in her chest. Somehow, she already knew.

"No!" she gasped, "Please! Don't say it! Please no!"

Grandmommy dropped to her knees, her face ashen. With a shaking hand, she extended a wadded

And inside...

"AAAAIIIIIIIII!!!!!" The mother shrieked, her shock and fear immediately plummeting to the horror of resignation. "Please no! Please, I beg you!"

But there was nothing Grandmommy could do. The mother opened the kleenex, her own hands trembling, and saw...


The three children, their gorgeous, thick ringlets bouncing ominous close, ran towards their mother.

"What's in the kleenex? What is it? What's in there?"

"NOOOOOO!" screamed the mother. "GET AWAY FROM ME!"

"It's too late," Grandmommy lamented, her cheeks hollow, "You've probably already got them too."


In a frenzy, the mother ran to the store. Without hesitation she grabbed every box of NIX, every store
brand bug killing shampoo, stacks of combs, jars of mayonnaise, saran wrap... she stopped herself before adding lighter fluid to her heap.

She came home and stripped the bed. She stripped everything. Load after load after load of laundry, an ever growing mountain that she climbed with monstrous heaps of plus toys strapped to her back- a hopeless Sisyphus with itchy scalp.

She and Grandmommy shampooed the children, combed their gorgeous locks. Bug after bug tumbled out, caught by the sharp metal teeth of the combs.

Grandmommy smiled hopefully. "That should do it, right?"

But it was not to be. Day after day, the mother toiled. Picking nits, always picking nits. Changing sheets, spraying car seats and couches and tossing beloved toy after beloved toy into the hot dryer.

Grandmommy left, but the bugs remained.

Each time the mother thought she had finally rid her house of the pestilence, nits appeared. And the shampoo came out again, its acrid stench burning her nose and causing her heart to race in panic.

Grandma sent her and the children to a heat treatment salon, where they had their hair vacuumed and burned, and sent them home to boil their brushes and combs. And at last, the house seemed to return to normal. Finally, the bugs had gone.



Happy Halloween!

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