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The Chair at the End of the Bed

J Campbell

By Joshua CampbellPublished 3 months ago 17 min read
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Mark and I grew up together, meeting in nursery school when we were about two. We played with the same toys, learned the same games, read the same books and as we started school, we were both delighted to find that we were in the same classes.

I didn’t really notice the chair at the foot of his bed until we were six.

We were playing Super Nintendo in Marks's room, being rambunctious and probably making a lot of noise. Our game of Mario Kart had turned into a little bit of horseplay, and when I bumped into the old wooden chair at the end of his bed, he jumped up like he'd been scalded. He picked it up, dusting the seat like it might be offended as he placed it carefully back where it had been.

“Sorry,” I said, “ I didn’t mean to push your chair over.”

“That’s okay,” he said, “It's just gotta sit there. It's kind of important.”

“Why's that?” I asked as he reached for his controller to go back to playing games as if nothing happened.

“Oh, because that’s where my guardian angel sits at night.”

He said it in a way that made it very clear this was both something he believed in and was as normal to him as the toast he'd had for breakfast.

When he noticed I hadn’t picked up my controller to begin playing again, he looked back at me in confusion and seemed surprised by my look of stunned interest.

“Your what?”

“My guardian angel,” he said, with a little laugh, “What? You don’t have one at the end of your bed every night?”

I told him I didn’t, and he seemed surprised.

“Huh, mom said everybody had them.”

He tried to go back to the game again, but I found myself much more interested in his guardian angel than our game of Mario Kart. As kids, you get used to hearing your playmates spout all kinds of odd things that sometimes don’t make sense. This, however, had been endorsed by a grown-up. To a kid barely into his seventh year, the word of an adult was still something I put a lot of stock into. If his mother had told him this, then it had to be true, and if a real angel sat at the end of his bed every night, then I wanted to know more about it, or even see it if I could.

“Okay, so when I was little, I woke up and found something at the foot of my bed that scared me a bit. I thought it was a monster at first, but when I went and told my mom about it, she said it was my guardian angel. After that, we left him a chair so that he could sit, since before he had been sitting on the bed.”

“And it comes back every night?”

“Every night,” Mark said proudly, “and now I’m not afraid of him since I know that he’s there to watch over me.”

This whole thing interested me greatly. Mark’s family didn’t strike me as particularly religious, I don’t even think they went to church, so the idea of Mark having a guardian angel and not me was a little bit weird. If it was a real thing, and Mark wasn't just pulling my leg, I wanted to see it too.

That was when I started bothering Mark‘s mother, my mother, and Mark about having me over for a sleepover.

We were getting to the age where sleepovers were pretty common, but it seemed like there just never was a good time to do it. They were weekend plans. My parents were religious so we always went to church on Sundays. I started trying for Friday night or Saturday, but there just always seemed to be something to stop us from spending the night at his house. As if in answer, Mark came to stay at my house a couple of times. That was fun, but it ultimately wasn’t what I wanted. We couldn’t see Mark’s guardian angel at my house, after all, so I kept asking and asking if I could stay the night, and finally, we found a time that would work.

We were in the second grade, a whole two years after I started asking when my parents suddenly needed to go out of town and didn’t have a way to bring me with them. It was right around the middle of the school year, and they needed to go to a funeral that would last from Thursday morning till Friday night. It wasn’t really that sort of thing you could bring a small child to, and I suggested that maybe I could stay with Mark. My parents liked the idea. We had hosted Mark a few times so his parents could have a date night or visit relatives, and so they called to see if it was something they could do. Mark’s parents said that they would be happy to help, and I was filled with excitement as I packed my bag for a couple of days over at Mark's house.

Wednesday night was a blast! Mark's dad grilled hamburgers in the backyard while we played on the slip-in slide. Mark's mother had rented a game from Blockbuster that we took turns playing. We watched some TV in the living room, his parents said we could stay up a little later than usual, and when his mother said it was time for us to get ready for bed, I felt excited all over again.

As I lay on my pallet that night, sleeping in the shadow underneath Mark‘s bed, I was filled with anticipation as I watched the chair. I had waited years to see this thing, and I wasn't going to sleep until I saw it. The chair just sat there, a mute hunk of wood, and as the lights went out and Mark's last-minute chatter turned into soft snoring, I tried my best to stay awake. I wanted to see it, but as I began to yawn more frequently I wasn't sure I would make it. I wondered if Mark really had just been putting me on as the alarm clock on his nightstand went from ten thirty to eleven. It would be some real joke if there never was an angel, and he had just been having a laugh at me all these years.

As my eyes grew heavy, I tried to keep myself awake until it got here.

Inevitably, though, I lost the fight and fell asleep.

I came awake suddenly in the unfamiliar darkness of Mark‘s bedroom. It was very early, and as I sat up with the start, I remember feeling that momentary sense of confusion. Where was I? What was going on? That was when I remembered that I was at a sleepover at Mark, and why I was at a sleepover at Marks. I glanced up at the chair, expecting to see something in white robes with wings and a halo, but I was disappointed in that respect.

Disappointed but utterly terrified.

What I saw was a shapeless shadow with vaguely human proportions. The dimensions seemed to move when I watched it, though I don’t think it had noticed me. It was leaning forward in the chair, staring at Mark like a hungry shark, and it didn’t turn to look at me until I started screaming. It shifted its soupy face towards me and I saw a pair of dancing red eyes amidst the miasma. It went right on looking at me until someone turned the lights on and as the room came into view, the creature was just gone.

Mark‘s mother was sympathetic, asking what happened, and I lied and told her I had just had a bad dream. She bought it, but I think Mark knew what I had seen. He tried to ask me about it, but I rolled over and faced the wall as I pretended to go back to sleep. Mark tried again as his mom took us to school the next day, but I didn’t want to talk about it. I was as terrified of what I had seen as I was disappointed at the outcome of my curiosity. My parents picked me up from school that day, having gotten back a little early, and I think they too sensed that something had happened. I slept more soundly in my own bed than I ever had before, and I never asked to sleep over at Mark's house again.

I may have never asked to spend the night at his house, but Mark and I remained good friends. I still went over to his house, I still hung out in his bedroom, but I never stayed after dark again. Incidentally, since the sleepover had been such a success, my mom let Mark stay over at our house more often. This seemed to work better for Mark’s parents too, and looking back I don't think they got along well. They argued a lot and many of the trips they took together ended abruptly without helping their marriage. When they divorced after Mark graduated high school, I think it was only really a surprise to Mark. They decided to sell the house and split the money, and Mark decided to move out on his own and start his adult life a little earlier than he had expected.

So when he asked if I wanted to be his roommate, it seemed like a no-brainer.

We moved into a two-bedroom apartment near the college Mark was attending, and it was pretty cool. We got on about as well as two high school kids moving in for the first time could. There were arguments about chores, loud parties that probably bothered the neighbors, late-night underage drinking sessions where we told each other all sorts of things, and plenty of general day-to-day life stuff.

The things we had meshed well together in our new home, except for one thing he had brought from his old home that stirred up some memories I’d have as soon not thought about.

I was helping him move his things out of the back of his dad’s F150 when I caught sight of something that I hadn’t thought about in years, though it had played quite often in my nightmares. Picking up a stack of boxes revealed a familiar wooden chair that had sat at the end of Mark's bed for as long as I could remember. It was the chair that the angel had sat in that night and watched him sleep. I asked him why he had brought it with him, and he looked at me like I was a fool.

"It's where my guardian angel sits, why wouldn't I bring it?"

I had kind of hoped that the angel was just an "at his house kind of thing", and the thought it might be in our apartment at night gave me the creeps.

My boss had been asking me if I would be interested in working the night shift for months, and after seeing that chair sat with such care at the end of his bed, I went and told him that I was ready to accept.

I wanted to live with Mark and help him out, but I just couldn’t stand being in that house at night. I could tell that Mark was a little miffed that I wouldn't be home at night, night was kind of the only time he wasn't at school or work, but he understood that bills had to be paid. I don't think he actually understood why I had taken the shift. If I was off, I always kept my door locked and slept facing the wall. If the angel ever came into my room, I never knew about it. I certainly never left a chair out at the foot of my bed, and I guess it stayed in Mark's room.

Though, I guess in the end it worked in Mark’s favor.

I was at work one night, playing on my phone and watching cameras when my phone rang. I saw that it was Mark, and figured he was just making sure I was going to be home in the morning before he had to go to school. When I picked up, however, Mark sounded frantic. He was yelling about needing me home right away, and how he needed help calling the police. I told him to calm down and to just go ahead and call the cops, but he said he couldn’t until he cleaned up a little bit.

Then he said the most chilling thing I had heard since we were kids.

“The angel got him.”

"Got who?" I asked, still not sure what was going on.

"The intruder that broke into our house."

I called my boss and told him the situation, and he agreed to come work for me so I could go get things sorted out. I offered to come back, but he said there was no need. I was probably looking at police reports and other paperwork anyway, but to let him know if I wasn't going to be in tomorrow night so he could make arrangements. He even said he would still pay me for the night. My boss is a good dude, one of the best bosses I've ever had, and I always appreciated how helpful he was.

By the time I got home, Mark was in a tizzy.

With good reason too, since it looked like someone had exploded across his floor. There was blood on the walls, blood on the carpet, blood across the bedspread of Mark's bed, as well as hair, meat, and bones everywhere. The bones were splintered and broken, and everything looked like someone had been fed into a wood chipper. I didn’t know what to make of it, but most striking was the blood splashed across the plane wooden chair that was sitting on its side amidst the gore.

I pulled Mark out into the living room and asked him to tell me exactly what had happened.

After a few glasses of water and a little scotch, he finally stopped shaking enough to tell me.

He said he had heard the guy come in with a key so he thought it was me. He had rolled over and went back to sleep, already seeing the angel there and feeling safe as he usually did. When he heard rustling in the living room, he thought it was a little odd, but figured I was just setting in for a little gaming. When his bedroom door opened, he knew something was amiss. I don’t usually go into his room at night, especially not after what Mark considers bedtime, and the door opening made him turn to confront whoever was there.

He had set up in bed, looking at the person, silhouette it in the hall light, and that’s when he saw the angel turn its head to look at the intruder.

“What the hell?” The guy had said, his voice deep and confused.

Mark said he had taken a step into the room, fiddling with something in his pocket, but he never got out if he had intended to use it. Suddenly the angel was standing, and Mark said it just sort of blurred at the guy. He knew how that sounded, but it was like one minute it was standing beside the chair, and the next minute he had been face-to-face with a guy in the doorway. The Angel had reached out towards the intruder, his hand sinking into the man’s chest, and the intruder made a noise like he had indigestion. Then the angel simply pulled him to pieces. He had ripped him right down the middle, long ways, and that had been where most of the blood came from. He had thrown him against the wall, well half of him, and the other half he had dragged to the floor and began to eat.

Mark said that had been the worst part, watching it eat.

“It didn’t eat like a normal creature,” he said in a shaky voice, “ it ate by pressing its formless head against the body, and parts of the body simply disappeared. It was like watching something that I couldn’t see devour someone.”

As it ate, Mark had gotten shakily out of bed and moved slowly around the perimeter of the room. He had watched the thing as he went, unsure whether it would hurt him or not, and when he came to the door, his hands trembled as he reached for the light switch. Just as the lights came on, the creature looked up at him in surprise. Its eyes almost looked betrayed, and as he dissipated Mark was left with the remains of its feast.

“I don’t know what to do,” Mark said, “the cops are never going to believe that some weird angel I’ve had since childhood tore this guy apart. This is a little excessive, even for a home invader, and I’m afraid that I’m gonna be in trouble.”

It’s probably going to incriminate both of us for me to put this part in, but we came up with a story that wouldn't sound quite so crazy.

The story was that Mark had been in the bathroom when the guys had come in. Mark had locked the door and hunkered down to wait them out while they began taking stuff. While hiding, Mark heard something going on in his bedroom, and when everything had gone quiet he came out to find the guy like this. It was a shaky story, the cops were likely to raise an eyebrow at it, but Mark isn’t a very big guy and the idea that he might’ve hidden instead of trying to confront a home invader isn’t too far-fetched.

No more far-fetched than the idea that he could rip a guy in half.

So we called the cops and after answering some questions, and a trip to the station for some more questions, we were put up in a hotel for the night while they checked our apartment.

It turned out that the guy who had come in to rob us was the landlord's nephew. We've had several apartments that have been broken into without much sign of a break-in, and the cops finally had their answer. The nephew has been using keys from the main office to get into people's houses, and he usually chose places where no one was home. I had met the nephew at the onsite gym a few times, and he knew I worked nights and likely thought my apartment would be empty, not realizing I had a roommate. They found a lot of evidence at the nephew's apartment, an apartment owned by his uncle too, so the case seemed pretty open and shut. Most of them thought he'd had an accomplice who was on drugs or something, and the two had just gotten into a brutal exchange over some bit of plunder.

We actually got a small reward for calling it in, though I think our landlord had mixed feelings about the whole incident.

Mark threw the chair out after that. He just didn’t feel safe with it at the end of his bed anymore. The angel had been his guardian, and it had protected him, though maybe a little over zealously. It’s unclear whether Mark would still be alive if it hadn’t been there, but it seemed that, like me, Mark had seen more than he was comfortable with when it attacked the guy. He put the chair by the dumpster and somebody must’ve taken it because it was gone the next day.

I don’t know if the angel still comes back to the foot of his bed or not, but if it does, I guess it’s standing these days.

urban legendsupernaturalpsychologicalpop culturemonsterfiction
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About the Creator

Joshua Campbell

Writer, reader, game crafter, screen writer, comedian, playwright, aging hipster, and writer of fine horror.

Reddit- Erutious

YouTube-https://youtube.com/channel/UCN5qXJa0Vv4LSPECdyPftqQ

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