|The cover of In A Dark, Dark Room|
Today's blog about our goings-on last night actually begins with a book which has been read for days and weeks and years, ever since Shelby was younger. It is marketed as an easy reader and it is a family favorite entitled "In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories." We are actually on our second copy since we read the first copy to tatters. It is perfectly spooky for Rutherfords of all ages. In it are stories such as The Ghost of John with his long white bones and the flesh all gone.And then there is the story of Jenny, who wears a ribbon about her neck her entire life. On the day of her death, she allows her husband to finally untie the ribbon . . .
|The Ghost of John illustration|
|The illustration of Jenny's de-ribboned neck.|
|The final illustration for the story about a Dark, Dark House.|
Last night I was sleeping deeply enough that it took me a few moments to realize that the noise I thought was inside my dream was actually a child calling "Mom!" very loudly. Disoriented, I listened for a moment, trying to place who and where.
"Mom!" Pause. "Mom!" Pause. "Mom!" Pause. "MOM!" Pause. "MOM!" Pause. "MOM!" Pause. "MOM!" Pause.
It finally sunk into my awareness that part of my befuddlement was the fact that it was pitch black in our room. Ahhhhh . . . dawning realization. Power outage and a chicken-in-the-dark twin. I sat up and realized it was very, very dark. I waited for a moment, trying to think clearly about how to proceed while listening to the continuing escalation of panicked "MOM!"s being shouted, when I remembered my Light Wedge. The Light Wedge is a book-sized piece of plexi-glass with two LED lights shining into the clear plastic, allowing the entire page to light up. I picked it up off the bed and flicked it on. Instant light. My watch read 2:30 am, which means there is plenty of time to salvage the sleeping portion of my day.
I carried it out into the hallway, vaguely aware that Elias was waking up in our room as I was leaving. Keats's terrified face met the blue lights from my impromptu flashlight. I calmed Keats down and left the Light Wedge with him as a night light and went back to bed. Of course by now, Elias was completely awake and ready for some attention. I laid down to nurse him, hoping that the light would have enough battery power to get us through the night.
Moments after Elias fell asleep again, Keats walks into our room. Of all the things he is quite good at, whispering is not one of them.
Keats: "Mom! What if the batteries fall out? [Elias wakes up with a start.] What if we have to live in the Dark, Dark House again? Mom - what do we do?"
Me: [picking up Elias to begin rocking him with one arm while comforting Keats with the other] "Keats, it will be fine. The batteries won't fall out. Really. Go back to bed."
Keats leaves and I lay Elias back down, who fusses gently and then falls back asleep. Perhaps four and a half minutes go by.
Keats: "MOM! [Elias begins to cry again] I heard the voice saying 'And me!' just like in the Dark, Dark House! Mom, HE'S HERE!!!"
Me: "Keats - go to you room while I calm down Elias and I will be right there. It's okay. I promise."
Keats leaves again, I rock Elias and lay him back down. Of course, this time there is no gentle fussing but rather full fledged crying. Keats again appears in the doorway.
"Mom! Is Elias alright? Is he scared like me" [Elias cries harder.] I think to myself, No, he isn't scared. He just wants you to learn to whisper!!
I sigh, kiss Elias on the forehead, and leave with Keats, firmly shutting the door on Elias. I know he's upset but it will quickly pass because he's tired. Sure enough, within minutes, E is silent. I go in with Keats to tuck him into bed and whisper good night. He looks at me with wide eyes and asks me to please stay. Truly, this request is a rarity, so I agree. I grab a very hard pillow they use as a doorstop an throw it on the carpet next to him. Then I pull a fleece blanket off Tucker, who mumbles, "Hey! That's mine!" before snoring some more. I spread Tucker's quilt over his sleeping body and curl up on the floor next to Keats.
I sleepily watch for Keats to fall asleep so I can return to my very, very comfortable bed with the freshly laundered sheets on top of my beloved four-inch memory foam. It takes almost an hour, but Keats finally begins to nod off. I turn off the light wedge and I am about to get out from under my fleece cocoon when I hear Tucker's voice.
"Dawson?" Pause. "Dawson?" Pause. "Dawson!" Pause. "DAWSON!"
Ahhh, Tucker is aware there is no light.
Tucker: "Dawson, you're voice sounds weird."
Me: "Tuck, it's mommy."
Tucker: "Mommy doesn't sleep in here. Who are you?!"
Me: "Tuck! It's me, mom!"
Tucker: "No - mom sleeps in the other room!"
I remembered the light wedge, which was so helpful for Keats. I lift it up and hold it in front of my face in order for Tucker to see that it's me once I turn it on. I flip the switch.
Blood curdling scream follows.
Keats wakes up yelling gibberish and Aidan sits up and yells, "What?" Aidan sees my glowing head and jumps, banging his head into the bunk above him. Dawson never, ever moves.
Realizing I have made quite the colossal mistake, I resolve to my night of sleeping on top of the comfortably soft but irritatingly scratchy wool rug next to the three boys who will probably never forget this particular power outage. Or their remarkably idiotic mother.