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Jeepers Creepers

“Daddy, sing me the goodnight song.”

“Only if I see can your face.”

“But I like to sleep facing the wall.”

“I need to see your face.”

“OK”

“Ah, there’s my beautiful girl. Here’s a kiss. Keep your eyes open while I sing you the goodnight song.”

“How will I fall asleep if my eyes are open?”

“Don’t fall asleep.”

“Daddy, I’m tired.”

“Promise me that we’ll see each other in the morning.”

“Who else would we see?”

“Promise me.”

“I promise. Now sing, Daddy”

“Why’d you move my hair. I don’t like it behind my ear.”

“I wanted to see all of your face my darling. I never want it hidden.”

“But you keep waking me up. Start the song again, Daddy. Please.”

“How about if I move just this one lock of hair from your beautiful eyes?”

“OK. Will you sing now – from the beginning?”

“Yes.

. Are you asleep? Your eyes are closed. Never leave me. Never be like the others. Never my darling.”

*

“I see you.”

“Good morning, angel. I see you too.”

“I promised you we’d see each other in the morning.”

“Let’s promise that we’ll see each other every day.”

“I promise. You look tired.”

“I didn’t sleep well.”

“You never sleep well anymore.”

“I know.”

“Is it because of the… others?”

“Let’s not talk about them.”

“Why is it that only we can see the others? Why doesn’t anyone else?”

“I don’t know.”

“I wish we didn’t see them.”

“I know. What do you want for breakfast?”

“Ice Cream.”

“Ice Cream isn’t for breakfast. Let’s go downstairs silly-head. I’ll make you pancakes.”

*

“Are you buckled up back there?”

“Yep. All ready. What are you doing?”

“I’m moving the mirror so I can see you while I drive. There you are, my beautiful girl. I can see those emerald eyes of yours. Make a silly face.”

“Arrr. Arrr. Arrr. I have green eyes like you, don’t I?”

“Yes, just like mine.”

“Why do you keep looking at me? I promised you we’d see each other every day. A promise is a promise.”

“Promise?”

“Now you’re just being silly Daddy.”

“I know.”

“Why is Mrs. Mills standing in the road?”

“That’s – that’s not Mrs. Mills.”

“It looks like her, but I can’t see her face. Her head is bent down. She’s not moving.”

“She’s moving. She’s just…she’s just – crossing the street.”

“No she’s not. Her arms are like my dolls, just hanging down by her side.”

“I’m turning the corner so you won’t see her.”

“I still see her, Daddy.”

“Honey, don’t look out the back window.”

“She has Barbie-legs.”

“What are Barbie-legs?”

“You know, stiff. They don’t bend because they’re made of plastic. Mrs. Mills’ legs are stiff like that. She isn’t moving Daddy.”

“Let’s not look at her anymore. Look at me in the mirror. Look at my silly-face. There you are. You have my green eyes. Give them back.”

“They’re not yours Daddy, they’re mine. I can’t take your eyes away.”

“No one can. Right? Your eyes will always be yours. Right?”

“Right.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

“Don’t forget your backpack.”

“I won’t.”

“And your lunch”

“I won’t.”

“Wait, before you go. Don’t tell anyone about what we saw, you know, about that stranger.”

“Why? Mrs. Mills became like the others, didn’t she?”

“No, no, no. I don’t know. Just don’t tell anyone. OK?”

“OK.”

*

.

“Good morning, Mr. Collins. Early as always.”

“Fine. Thank you. And you?”

“Something must be pretty interesting on that iPhone.”

“Yes. Stocks. Hold my calls, Lana. I have a lot of paperwork do to. No disruptions today. I’ll be leaving early, at three o’clock.”

“Sure. Mr. Collins, before you go. I don’t have last week’s numbers from Mr. McDevitt. He was to place them on my desk yesterday. The light is on in his office. Maybe you should knock on his door?”

“No! I mean, let’s give him one more day. Sorry, Lana. I’m busy. I have to go.”

*

“Collins, why the Hell do they play elevator music in the bathroom?”

“Werner! You startled me.”

“FYI, the third sink down doesn’t work.”

“OK. Thanks.”

“Stimulus-response behavior is a real thing. You know that, right?”

“Sure.”

“So, what’s going to happen the next time I’m in an elevator with a full bladder? I tell you, Collins. Playing elevator music in a bathroom is not a good idea.”

“Pretty funny, Werner. I didn’t know you had the brain of a dog. Hey, Werner, which of these sinks doesn’t — Oh God. Oh God. The mirrors. I see him in the mirrors. No! No! No!. Why didn’t I think about these mirrors? Occhi! It’s happening faster than I thought. I know it is. They are coming. Just look down and get the Hell out of here. It’s going to be three o’clock soon. I need to see her. I need to see her-before.”

*

“Hi sweetie. Buckle up. So, how was your day? Sweetie? Chloe! Say something. Oh God, let me see you.”

“Today wasn’t a good day.”

“Oh, thank God. Not that today wasn’t good. I didn’t mean that. Why wasn’t today good?”

“Mrs. Phillips.”

“I thought you liked your teacher.”

“I do. That’s why today wasn’t a good day.”

“Did you have a substitute?”

“No. But we will tomorrow. Mrs. Phillips stopped…moving.”

“What? Tell me what happened?”

“It was the last period. She was writing out our spelling words on the blackboard. Then there was that horrible sound, you know, when you scratch the board with chalk. Mrs. Phillips was writing ‘because’ at the top of the blackboard. I can spell that word you know. B-E-C-A-U- and then squuueeeaak! She just drew a line straight down the blackboard and crumpled over. It was like she was a puppet that’s master stopped holding up its strings. I screamed. Mrs. Phillips – it was like someone flipped a switch and turned her off.”

“Did she look like–“

“Mrs. Mills this morning?

“Did she look like her?”

“Yes. Like the toys in my closet. Like the others in neighborhood. Just standing there, doing nothing. Emma started crying.”

“Did she see it happen like you did?”

“No. I just scared her when I screamed. She cries all the time. She’s a baby.”

“Then what?”

“I was sent to the principal’s office. But, I looked back. As Mrs. Peters grabbed my hand, I looked back.”

“What did you see? You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to honey.”

“It’s OK. Mrs. Phillips’ mouth was opened, like when I sleep sometimes and I drool. She was drooling too. She must have been dreaming about ice cream. Let’s have ice cream for dinner.”

“Did you notice anything else?”

“Someone had stolen her eyes.”

*

“How about you and I take the day off tomorrow?”

“From school?”

“Yes. Let’s play hooky”

“How do you play hooky?”

“Playing hooky is when you skip a day of school and I skip a day of work. Let’s do that. Let’s go somewhere. Just the two of us.”

“Really? Can we?”

“Yes. Let’s go to the beach. Would you like that?”

“I love the beach. Am I going to get in trouble with the principal again?”

“No. I’ll write a note saying you weren’t feeling well. You won’t get in trouble. Let’s do it just this once. You and I. OK?

“I’m so excited.”

“Ready for the goodnight song?”

“What happens when your windows are stolen?”

“Window?”

“Yes. Momma told me that eyes are windows to the soul. What happens to your soul when your windows are stolen?”

“I don’t know.”

“It must be very dark in there.”

“And lonely.”

“Is that how the others are? Is that how Mrs. Phillips is? Dark and lonely?

“I think so. Let’s not talk about the others.”

“Do you miss Mom?”

“Everyday.”

“Me too.”

“Momma had green eyes like you and me right Daddy?”

“Are you ready for the ‘goodnight’ song?”

“Not yet. Where’s my stuffed hippo? There you are. You come under the covers with me. OK, Dad. I’m ready. I’m ready for the ‘goodnight’ song. Dad? Why aren’t you singing? Dad? Why are you standing there like that? Your eyes! Dad, you promised. Every day we’d see each other. Daddy!”

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