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The Little Ones are waiting under the bed…

A short story by Noa Mergi

They came at night. When the moon was high up in the sky, silence was around and all but little Jane was sleeping soundly. She laid in bed, wrapped in her golden nightdress, a garment, a silver too small, beautiful as a valley in the fall. Her eyes danced, searching the shadows, for something that didn’t use to be there before.

At first, they wouldn’t do much… Just crawl from under the bed and sit. Looking at her and smiling, whispering sweet nothing about how pretty she was, how nice she smelled. She could always see them, but just barely from a creek where the blanket and mattress kissed.

Their eyes were like white orbs, with no pupils nor iris. Only sclera full of veins, they shone like dim lanterns of the dead. They were small, about the height of her bed, with arms long enough to reach the floor, but their hands had to bend backward to make room for thin sharp claws. Uneven pointed teeth were protruding under a malicious smile, only noses that reached their chin occasionally broke it up. When the gentle rustle of fabric could be heard from underneath the bed, one only needed to count to three, and they would be there.

One night, before going to sleep, little Jane, with a hurried step and careful glance, nightdress rustling like the wind, sought her mother to confess her fear. She found her in the nursery, singing a sweet lullaby to the newborn baby brother.

“Mom… I can’t sleep.” Whispered the girl as she looked at the little one. Before he was born, the mother would come to sing for her every night, but then in a grand caesura, silence replaced the music, that has yet to resume playing.

Jane's presence was not acknowledged until the song ended. With tired eyes, Mother looked at her daughter and sighed, “Ho Jane, why is it that you always take so much of my time? Why can’t you put more effort in?”


“Hush!” whispered the mother, and by her little wrist she dragged Jane out the room. “Do you realize how difficult it was to put him to rest?! Why must you be so tiresome?”

Jane stared at her feet, grasping her nightdress with both hands.

“Come here now.”

Struggling to keep up, Jane followed her mother to a dusty storage room filled with memories and forgotten artifacts. After pulling a broken mirror, a couple of fairy tale books, and a headless cherub, finally the object of desire was at hand - an old clock decorated with daisies and doves. Jane coughed when her mother blew a cloud of dust.

“If this long hand reaches that number and you’re not sleeping yet, I will come and stay with you.” Said the mother as she placed the clock in Jane's arms.

“You promise?”

“I promise, hurry up now.”

The little girl dragged her feet back to the room, she closed the door behind her but paused before turning off the light. With a grip on the clock, so tight her fingers turned white, she recalled the events of the previous nights. They always came when it was dark, perhaps with the room still bright, the little ones will stay back. Jane sat on her bed, trying so very hard not to think about anything that might bring them here. Every tick seemed like an eternity, but she was full of certainty her mother would come eventually.

Then she heard it. A shuffling advancing down the hallway, slowly getting closer. It was her mother, or so she hoped as the other possibility was much too terrifying to reflect upon. But as the door slowly opened with a creak, all the air in the room seemed to disappear. Hugging the clock, expecting the worst, Jane saw her father beyond the threshold.

“Why are you awake this late at night cradling that old piece of junk?”

“I’m afraid to sleep and mom said that when this long hand reaches that spot she will come and keep me company.”

“Perhaps you can wait while lying in bed with the lights shut?” he asked as he stretched a long arm toward the switch.

“No!” yelled the little girl. “If it’s dark, they will come...”

“Who are “they”?”

“The… The little ones.” She whispered, afraid they will take offense to any other name.

Trying to suppress a smile, he sat down on the bed next to his little girl and asked, “And where do they come from, these… Little ones?”

“From right here, under the bed…”

He placed a finger on his lips signaling for silence as he sat on his knees and slowly leaned in to look at the place his daughter indicated. Jane wanted to tell him it was dangerous. To stop. But something prevented her from doing so. She closed her eyes and heard her father screaming.

“Haaaah! No! They got me! They got me!”

She felt sick, frozen, like at nights when they came. She could feel their presence staring at her from beyond the veil and silent tears began to flow down her cheeks.

The mother ran into the room “what happened?!”

Laughing, the father rolled out from under the bed. “Nothing, nothing. Just a harmless prank.”

“A harmless prank?! Your son is sleeping!” she yelled, and with that, the cries of a restless infant rang like a bell through the night. “Look now what you have done! Jane, stop crying this instant. And you,” she turned to face her husband, “go fix what you have done!”

And so she left, leaving behind a stunned husband and daughter in thorny silence.

“But you woke him…” mumbled the man as he turned off the light and closed the door.

Numbness once again spread across Jane’s body. The old clock was ticking near her head, and she could hear the rustling of fabric underneath her bed. They were coming.

(To be continued…)

This time a short story written by my daughter, Noa Mergi. Because it seems too long for this newsletter, you’ll receive the rest in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, beware of the Little Ones!

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