Horror and Thriller Fiction posted March 23, 2014

This work has reached the exceptional level
A child's worst nightmare, is not to be believed


by amahra

"There's no such things as ghosts," Linda assured her precious five-year-old. Little Tyra squeezed her Teddy and sniffled--not wanting to let go of her mom's arm.

"Leave the light on, Mommy," she said in a faint, almost mechanical doll's voice.

"Okay, Sweetie." She guided Tyra's little head back onto her pillow. She kissed the babe on the forehead, reached under the circus-colored lamp shade and clicked the bright light to dim. After tipping to the door, she looked over her shoulder to assure her baby was settled, and then she closed it.

Tyra flashed opened her pale blue eyes and sat straight up in bed. She peered at the picture on the wall: The one with the brown, funny-looking barn. It had a cow, a dog and an old farmer dressed in coveralls holding a pitch fork over his shoulder.

But she knew it was a matter of time before the barn, cow and dog would disappear and the picture would turn to night. The farmer would turn into a tall, dark hooded figure with glowing red eyes and no face. His coveralls would become a black robe and tied around its waist--a rusty chain dripping with blood; thrown across its shoulder (in place of a pitch fork) would be a long, sharp, silver-like sickle with a point that twinkled like a shining star.

Tyra couldn't bear to watch the change again. She dived under the covers, shivering like she was naked in the snow. She held on to her Teddy for protection. For no one else believed or knew the danger she was about to encounter.

Linda talked on the phone with her best friend, Brittany. Both talked about the cuteness of Little Tyra's ghosts fears and shared with each other a few of their own childhood nonsensical fears.

"It will pass, Linda."

"I know," she said. "I can't tell you the number of times I'd jumped into bed with my parents, telling them my stuffed dog was trying to kill me." Brittany's chuckles were warming as Linda joked about kid's silly little fears of ghosts and such supernatural crap.

"Well, I'm going to look in on Tyra before taking my bath. See you in the morning."

"Okay, Honey, goodnight."

Bearfooted, Linda walked next door to Tyra's room. She eased the door opened and peered in. Tyra stayed perfectly still in her fake sleeping. Satisfied, Linda eased the door shut and headed back to her bedroom.

No sooner had her mom closed the door, little Tyra heard the familiar movement, like a scraping sound, along the wall. She tried to call out, but it was as though fear had a mind of its own, as it exercised its power by gripping her tongue--holding it still.

"Ummmm," Linda moaned. She placed a plastic pillow under her neck as she emerged herself in the fragrant water of bubbles and salts. Up to her neck in white suds, she relaxed with a set of earphones and listened to the cool jazz bellows of Sarah Vaughan's Misty.

Still shaking  under the covers, Tyra held onto Teddy for dear life. Unable to yell, she began to pray a little prayer her grandmother had taught her; she used to pray every night until her mom told her she was just talking to the ceiling. But Tyra, surprised that she even remembered the words, began to recite them verbatim. She gripped the sheets and bit into her bottom lip until she could taste the blood.

Tyra felt the bed when it swerved slightly from side to side; she didn't know what was happening--only that the last time her stomach knotted, she was on a ferris wheel.  Peeking from under the covers, she gasped at seeing the ceiling fan just inches from her head.  Her body grew cold and stiff as she looked wide-eyed for an escape; she  threw one leg over the side, but the bed did a cart wheel that sailed her across the room.  The child bounced off the wall and thudded to the floor. Still unable to find her voice, she ran into her closet and cowered under some boxes. But to even more horror, her arms were empty.

Where was Teddy? Where was her only protector? She thought.

Lying in a fetal position, in total darkness, it sounded  to Tyra as if a small storm was erupting in her room. Then, it came as quickly as it had been interrupted-- total silence.

The little angel shook and cried in a whisper--tears dripping rapidly down onto her Tinkle Bell pajamas. Her panting and heart beats bounced off the closet walls as she lay still--wondering, listening, what could happen next.

The warm water took on a slight coolness as Linda had taken a short nap. The music had started from the beginning and she knew she had been napping far too long. She released the water by flipping the tiny metal with her big toe and withdrew herself from the tub. Strolling into her bedroom, she removed the towel and slipped on a pink nightie.

She sat in front of the mirror and began the ritual of brushing her hair. As Linda counted up to twenty-five, she noticed a foul odor permeating the room. She looked around--shook her head in doubt and continued brushing without losing the count. But soon the odor couldn't be ignored as it grew stronger and seemed to be coming from the hall.

Linda casually walked out into the hall, and then stood facing her daughter's room;  the odor was stronger.  She could feel the coolness between her toes.  Her face flushed as an uncertainty took hold of her. Composed, she turned the knob and eased open the door.

"Tyra!" she screamed.

Her eyes widened and her knees weakened as she fell helplessly against the wall. The room was as if a mini tornado had hit it. The bed was upside down and its covering scattered about the room. The dresser drawers were opened as if a burglary had taken place; and the circus-colored lamp shade lay torn--the globe broken. The closet door was off its hinges and Tyra's Teddy Bear had been ripped to shreds,  with all the parts placed neatly on Tyra's pillow, as if to make a joke. She tore through the chaos, looking in and under everything for her daughter, but she was nowhere in the room.


"Mrs. Crowley, are you sure your ex-husband didn't have something to do with this? After all, the two of you are still fighting over custody."

"No--we resolved it out of court."

"Are you sure, Ma'am?"

"My husband is many things, but he's not cruel enough to do this. He's as upset about this as I...I am..."

Linda threw her hands over her face; the tears dripped down her arms. A female police officer handed her several tissues.

"Try to stay calm, Ma'am. We'll find who did this. I promise you."

Linda nodded at the police woman's kindness.

For hours her apartment had been crawling with police examining Tyra's room, snapping pictures, questioning her repeatedly: Even at one point suspecting her of harming her own daughter. Before they left, they took a recent picture of Tyra in her kindergarten blue and white uniform.

Days went by, and the police had nothing. Linda thought it over and over in her mind--her stupidity in having on earphones, falling asleep--not hearing the horrors of her little girl being snatched right from under her nose. Her head pounded and pounded with no let up. Her ex-husband had come and spent the night. He swore not to leave her side until they found their little girl.

"My baby fighting for her life and I was...oh"

"Stop it, Linda."

"I can't help it, Steve."

"How many times had you done the exact same thing and Tyra was fine?"

"I know, but I just..." Steve grabbed her and held her tightly in his arms.

"God will bring our little girl back to us."  Linda pulled away from him.

"Really? A figment of your imagination is going to get our daughter back? How interesting."

"Linda,"  Steve said, attempting to hold her again.

"Oh, please,"  she said, backing away.  She walked across the room and flopped down on the sofa.


That night, in spite of their disagreement, the two slept in the same bed with a pillow between them. Steve knew better than to cross that pillow. He was there to bring comfort, nothing more. Linda had insisted.

In the quietness of her sleep, the Teddy Bear roamed into her bedroom and woke her. She followed it into Tyra's room and it pointed to the wall. Linda woke suddenly in a sweat.

"Damn that dream," she whispered loudly. It wasn't the first time.

Linda got up and walked into Tyra's room. It was cold and gloomy. She switched on the wall light and gasped. There--sewed together like a Frankenstein chew toy, was the Teddy Bear she had thrown out with the trash days ago. Yet, there it was and appeared to be pointing to a picture on the wall. Linda walked closer to the picture and stood--her eyes locked on the ghostly image.

The piercing scream jolted Steve out of his sleep. He ran to Tyra's room and encountered Linda staring at the wall and hyperventilating. He went to the picture and saw a black hooded figure with a sickle on its shoulder, but the face was Tyra's. Her eyes were blazing red and around her waist was a rusty chain dripping in blood.

Steve carried Linda, who had fainted, back to their bedroom and phoned a friend, Harold Conway, who was expert in the Supernatural.

Conway wasted no time getting to Linda's apartment. With him, were a few other experts, including a priest. Steve wasn't sure how Linda would react. Or if she even believed what she had seen.

Harold told Steve and Linda to relax; he and his associates had worked with such phenomena before. Linda was furious.

"Steve, how could you? I want these ghostbusters out of here."

"Actually, we're Phantasmologist, Mrs. Crowley," Harold said.


"Linda, please listen to him," Steve said.

"No! I want you, all of you--out. Now!  And you can go too, Steve." She stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door.

"Look, Steve, what's it gonna' be, Man?  We can't waste time trying to make her into a believer. We've got to get your kid away from that demon."

Steve marched into the bedroom. After a few stormy exchanges, Linda followed Steve into the room and flopped down on Tyra's bed.

"Okay, Phantasmo...or whatever you call yourselves, I'm here.  Now what?" she said.

The group ignored Linda's defiance and went about setting up their digital equipment. Linda was not impressed. She believed someone had painted a horror picture of her daughter and left it in the place of the farm picture she had hung on the wall. The one she had bought from a homeless-looking old woman on the street for $1.00. She thought it would look cute in Tyra's room.

"Okay, everything is ready, Harold," said one of his assistants.

"Good," he said, "we'll need something she loves more than anything."

"Well, that would be us, her parents, right?" Steve said.

"Not necessarily. All kids love their parents, but little kids get really attached to toys. What about that bear? Didn't you say it mysteriously appeared after being thrown away?"

"Yes," Steve said. But isn't it bewitched too...I mean, you sure it's safe?"

"Whenever something evil breaks into our realm, it can sometimes trigger a supernatural good to suddenly come and protect us. But only if we know how to use it. I believe it's that bear."

Linda's smirk slowly faded from her face as she remembered that repeated dream. Steve handed over the bear and the lights were turned off. Only the ones from the equipment were on. It gave the room an eerie feel. The focus was now on the picture and the bear. The wait seemed unbearable until suddenly the equipment started to register something. The bear's eyes began to glow. Then, it lifted its tattered arms.

A bright ray of light began to flow from the bear's arms which caused the picture to tremble on the wall. The more the bear glowed, the more the picture trembled until Tyra moved and her voice was heard coming from the picture.

Linda leaped from the edge of the bed and tried to run to her. But Harold grabbed her and told her that she could ruin the whole thing. Linda crumbled to the floor, tears streaming down her face.

"I'm sorry, Baby. I'm so sorry Mommy didn't believe you."

Tyra heard her mother's voice and dropped the sickle.

"Mommy, Teddy, help me."

"Daddy's here too, Honey," Steve said.


"Yes, Baby, just keep your arms held out to your Teddy," Steve answered.

Tyra kept her arms outstretched and the energy continued to flow from the bewitched Bear. Then a small flash of lightning shot from both of the bear's eyes and began to pull Tyra from the grip of the picture. But as soon as it appeared to be working, a dark figure from the shadows grabbed the blood dripping chain attached to Tyra and pulled her back.

"No, no, let me go." Tyra screamed.

"Do something," Linda yelled.

"Energy! We need more energy," Harold shouted.

The equipment went into overload. A loud buzzing came from the bear as sparks shot from its body. That was expected. But what happened next, the group had never seen happen before. Even to Harold's astonishment, the bear began to grow and at an alarming rate. Everyone, but Linda cowarded against the wall. She had faith in this toy her daughter loved and trusted so much.

"Get her, Teddy, get her," Linda yelled.

Now seven feet tall and looking every bit of 800 lbs., Teddy let out an ear shattering growl and leaped into the picture. The picture went black and then vanished from the wall. The room grew deathly silent. Everyone held their breath. Moments ticked by. No one said a word. No one dared to move. No one really knew what they were waiting for.

Linda's instincts kicked in. She opened the door to the closet. And there sat Tyra in her Tinker Bell pajamas; and with her, was her tiny Teddy Bear that looked as fresh and new as the day it was bought. Everyone gasped as mother and daughter hugged and kissed. Steve joined in.

After a lot of heart-felt moments of thanking Harold, from Steve and Linda, Harold Conway and his assistance packed up and headed for the next supernatural encounter. The police were never told the truth, just that little Tyra had been returned safe and sound.

That night, Linda, Steve and Tyra slept in the same bed. Teddy was kept nearby to keep a watchful eye over them all. Linda had insisted.


There's No Such Things as Ghosts writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story where a skeptic in the supernatural becomes a believer through a terrifying encounter with a ghost.


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