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The Midnight Knocker

by I.M.McCollum about a year ago in fiction

a Short Prose

The parents left without as much as saying goodbye to their children who have nestled in their bed away from the cold still night. Chloe was watching the carriage leave in the moonlight as her white night blew in the cold wind. As the oldest of the family, it was her duty to watch her younger siblings as their parents went off for urgent business that night with the sky pure black with only a few stars that had decided to shine.

Chloe closed the decaying, wooden door that almost looked like it would fall off from the mold it was surrounded in and locked the brass hinges that almost looked limit would fall off from the mold it was surrounded in. She then went upstairs to check in on her younger sibling who seemed very quiet for a night without their mother to cuddle them to bed like she always did. Opening the door, she saw that the children were not asleep at all, in fact, that what it seemed as they were reading a book.

“Now, now, you too, time for bed and you can’t read.”

The children startled as if Cloe was a ghost in the doorway, one of them closed the book that was in his lap, “Sorry, Cloe, but we thought she might come tonight since mother and father are not home.”

“Who is she you say?” Cloe asked, knowing that these two loved to play games of all sorts.

“The Midnight Knocker,” One said from behind the other, “It’s an old woman with devil hands, and comes and prays on a child that our left alone by their parents.”

“Now-now, as I said, it is time for sleep, and father and mother did not leave us alone they went somewhere of urgent business, no old woman is going to take us. And I am here, you are not alone.”

Cloe sat on the bed and took the book away from the child which was left with a picture of an old hag holding a lantern in the woods.

“That is not what this story is,” Cloe turned the page to a happier sight of a little girl in front of a doorway, “Now see, let’s think of happy thoughts, no old woman is going to come to knock on the door and take you away.”

Even with her recurrence, the children still had worried looks painted on their faces.

“Oh, we are not worried about us, we are too young for an old woman to get us, she wants you and will come for you.”

Cloe chuckled, “I have stopped believing in ghost stories because I like to sleep with happy dreams, not nightmares.”

“It is not a nightmare,” one child cried, almost tears starting to leak out of his eyes, “It is a warning, we do not want to lose you.”

Cloe bent down and kissed the two boy’s heads while the other still complained, “The mid-night knocker wants girls to clean and take their youth away as that they could become old hags too! Mother and Father are already trying! ”

Cloe stopped before she kissed his little head, “What do you mean by that?”

The two boys looked at each other, “Well, it was why they left at night.”

“The left on business, nothing more, nothing less.”

“You don’t understand, they left from what I heard about a dowry.”

“And Who’s dowry do you think it belongs to?”

“Who do you think? Your’s!” The other cried.

“Hush now, you must sleep, everything will be alright come the morning,” Cloe said and closed the door to the children’s bed, which was in the master bedroom where her parents would have slept. There was a shock in her temples, and a faster heartbeat by the second; however, she knew whatever she was feeling was made by a billion by what her little brothers were scared about, scared for her. She couldn’t play along with that emotion, she had to set the example that her father has told her to do.

Walking to her room, her bare feet stopped at the creaky wood floor. She started to feel this unsettlement in her stomach, a question that she thought would have never been asked. Was she no longer a child, was it time for her to grow up? Trying to forget she went to bed and drifted off to sleep. She woke up in the middle of the night, looking out the window, the was shinning the fields of grass, and the sun was nowhere to be found. Her thoughts crowded her head, about growing up, about getting old.

She looked in the mirror that was beside her bed, just to make doubly sure that she was dreaming, for the first time she noticed her checks were more sunken than she thought they could be, and her eyes looked more swollen like of lack of sleep, maybe it was time to go to bed. She went back into the covers, but before she could her head back on her pillow believed that she heard something, a knock.

She stepped out of bed and crept back to the kid’s room, thinking that they were playing games again, but when she opened the door slightly, the two were fast asleep in their bed. The knock again, this time louder, and made Cloe’s heart stop, it was coming from downstairs.

Cloe went down, whatever it was it was urgent, but nowhere in her mind would she let the children’s story get to head and fear. The knock came again louder and louder and the brass hedge started to break from the mold. Now Cloe could not open the door, it was going to open itself.

And it did, and wood almost fell on Cloe if she had not moved away from it, but now she was on the floor and there stood in the door, an old woman with frail bitty eyes looking straight into Cloe’s soal.


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