When Things Go Bump In The Night


Trish Kocialski


“It was a dark and stormy night…” Alex read from her laptop.


“Really?” Sally exclaimed.  “That’s how you’re starting your Halloween story for Mrs. Goodbody?”


Alex swiveled her chair around and stared at Sally.  “So, what’s wrong with that?”


“It’s a bit of a clichés don’t you think?”  Sally replied.


“Okay.”  Alex turned back to her laptop and deleted the sentence then typed another.  “The wind howled and rattled the window panes viciously.”


“Oh, come on!” shaking her head, Sally continued, “Certainly you can do better than that!”


Alex sighed heavily and deleted the sentence and sat staring at the blank screen.  Minutes passed without a word being entered on the screen.  Shrugging her shoulders she swiveled back toward Sally.  “I just can’t do this.  I’m not a writer and never want to be one.  Why do we have to do these stupid writing assignments anyway?  I want to be an action reporter.  I want to report what’s happening at the moment.  I don’t want to be a print journalist!”  She lowered her elbows to her knees, rested her head in her hands and stared at the floor.  “You’re the creative one, I just like facts.  Reporting the facts of an event…as it happens.  Not making up a story about it.”


Sally walked over to Alex and gently lifted her chin.  “I know love, it isn’t your cup of tea.  But it’s something that we all have to go through to get that darn diploma to get a good job.”  She knelt before her friend and lover and offered her a warm smile then leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Alex’s lips. 


“Would you write it for me?” Alex asked hopefully but knew her request was foolish.  Sally’s integrity and honesty was uncompromising but she still hoped for a miracle. 


Sally responded to the question by giving her lover another kiss then stood and smiled.  “You know the answer to that question,” she said with a sigh.


“Yeah, but you can’t say I didn’t try.”  She sheepishly shrugged then turned back to her laptop.  “I’ll sit here all night if I have to.  After all it’s due tomorrow.  Why don’t you go ahead and go to bed.  I’ll be alright.”


“You sure?”


“Yep.  I’ll probably be here when you get up!” Alex said with a chuckle.  “Go ahead and get some sleep.  One of us needs to be awake for class!”


“Want me to make you some coffee before I turn in?”


“No, but thanks.  My anxiousness has my adrenelin flowing so I’m wide-awake. Hopefully the muse will be kind and I’ll slide into bed next to you in a little while.”


Sally gave Alex a goodnight kiss then headed to the bedroom mentally wishing her lover success in finishing her assignment.  Mrs. Goodbody was constantly giving tasks without prep time.  Wanting to see how quickly we could react, research topics, and complete assignments.  She was a great teacher, but has little tolerance for missed or incomplete work.  All the better to make us good reporters, Sally thought.




Alex shook her head and stared at the screen.  “C’mon, you can do this!” she said softly.


She thought of all the spooky stories her father read to her on Halloween nights.  Stories about ghosts and goblins, headless horsemen, dancing skeletons, and creepy graveyards.  The more she thought the more discouraged she got.  Those stories came from really creative minds, she thought, I don’t have an ounce of creativity in my body!  She ploughed on, typing sentence after sentence, then reading it quietly aloud, then deleting and retyping.  This went on for two hours before exhaustion overwhelmed her and she slumped forward, her head finding the makeshift pillow of her arms.


Watching all this frustration were two ethereal souls, one tall with dark hair and cerulean eyes that were brilliant even in the faint light of the desk lamp.  The other was shorter with blond hair and green eyes that sparkled with delight.


“What do you say, Xena?  Think it would be alright to help Alex out this time?”


Xena shook her head not sure if they should interfere with the living.  “I know, she’s my great, great, great…”


Gabrielle interrupted, “yes, and that’s why I think we should give her a little assistance.”


“Gabrielle, we can’t be interfering in her life.  She has to be able to stand on her own…and….”


“I know,” Gabrielle replied as she placed two fingers on Xena’s lips to stop her from continuing, then kissed her lips softly.  “She’ll make a great action reporter, she’s just a little lacking in creative writing.” Gabrielle chuckled. “She should have my genes!”  Continuing, Gabrielle said, “She has the smarts and brains to follow a story, get and report the facts, but she’s just not into making up things.”


“Yeah, she couldn’t talk her way out of trouble if she wanted to.  ” Xena added with a smile, “But she sure could fight her way out!  Remember that fight she had on the playground in second grade?  Wow…she was awesome!”


“Yes, dear.  She was awesome…just like you!”  Gabrielle gave her another quick kiss then added, “But if she doesn’t get a good grade in this class it could affect her chances of seeing any ‘action’ in the field.”  Gabrielle knew that emphasizing the word ‘action’ would get Xena’s attention.  “You wouldn’t want to see her chained to a desk would you?  All I have to do is whisper the story into her ear and when Alex wakes up it will be right there for her to put into words.”


Xena responded just like Gabrielle anticipated.  “I guess you’re right.  What’s a little nudge in the right direction going to hurt.”


“Right!” Gabrielle replied excitedly.  “So, how about I whisper the one about the time young girls were being abducted to become followers of Bacchus?”


“No, that story has been told already,” Xena said as she flopped into Sally’s chair.  “What about the one where I went to help Marcus retrieve Hades helmet of invisibility?  That was pretty scary with those crazy Dryads trying to keep us out of Hades castle.”


Gabrielle shook her head, “No, that’s been done already too.”


The looked at each other for a bit, then Gabrielle smiled.  “I know, I’ll tell her about…” She stopped short and shook her head.  “Nope. Done.”


“Well, you’re the bard, make something up!”


Gabrielle thought for a minute then smiled.  “Got it!”  She whispered the story for several minutes into Alex’s ear.  When she was done she walked over to Xena, slipped onto her lap and laid her head on Xena’s shoulder.


“So, what did you tell her?” Xena asked softly.


“You’ll see in the morning.” Gabrielle said with a sly smile.  “We should be on our way, but first….”  Gabrielle got up and deliberately bumped into an end table, knocking over a stack of books, waking Alex up with a start.



Alex yawned as she came out of the bedroom.  She managed to slip in two hours of sleep.  Sally was already up and finishing her second cup of coffee.  In her hands was the story that Alex had finished just a few hours before.


“Wow!” Sally said as she put the final page down.  “That was really scary but I loved the ending!  You really did a great job on this story.  See, I told you you could do it!”


Alex blushed and picked up the stack of papers, straightening and putting them back into order.  “Yeah, it just sort of came to me in a dream.”  She picked up the first page and began reading…


“The little town of Potidaea was just like any other village in ancient Greece, with one exception.  Each night the village children would sleep walk to an ancient cave where they spent the night digging new tunnels in the many chambers of the cave.  Every night they would dig deeper and deeper into the cave.  In the morning they would wake in their beds screaming in terror as Banshee’s, Bache, and Dryads’ had filled their dreams with….”


The End