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Under the Rug, one of those Harris Burdick types
I don't think I have anything personal to add to this story, I came up with most of it as I wrote and I'd be super happy with any criticism anybody has to give. I'm making the assumption that some of my sentences may run on a bit longer, or that my grammar isn't the greatest. Also be aware that I wrote this over many days, and sometimes you get into one headspace and start writing just to get into a completely different one and continue the same writing. Pretty much if you notice any strange switches in how the story is told point it out so I can fix it, I've come to the realization that a lot of my writing has a sort of, flip flop writing styles sometimes.
Jeremy Wilkes was an average man, living in his average sized home in an average neighborhood, very little did he have to complain about. He graduated from a university, worked five days a week, and spent many nights in bed with a book. Nothing would’ve prepared his average mind for the most extraordinary of events he was about to experience.
It was a night just like any other, Jeremy flicked off his lamp and was about to prepare for bed, when he heard a loud and abrupt Thump. The noise came from beneath his lamp, and he figured that the lamp must’ve fallen over. Now that the lamp was presumably broken, he figured there was no light he could use to clean up the broken pieces in, so he went to sleep, planning to deal with it in the morning. Waking up around 7 o’clock, just like he had every morning, he stepped outside his room to find the lamp still sitting on it’s little table. “Strange,” he thought to himself, “I could’ve sworn I heard a noise” and a noise he had definitely heard, but he decided to brush it off.
Two weeks passed and it happened again. He flicked off the lamp, heard the Thump beneath it, and still he decided to investigate in the morning. And of course, come morning the lamp sat where it had many times before, unbothered as it had been those many time before. He was beginning to lose his temper, he knew he heard the noise this time. There was no doubt about it, the lamp had fallen. There was no other explanation, he scratched his bald head. “Well” he said aloud, “I suppose there is no sense in making a fuss of hearing things.” And he went to work, Jeremy loved his job, he worked in a small office, taking calls on the telephone all day. He could hear his coworkers complain about the days that seemed so dull, but Jeremy lived for those dull days.
Soon after, Jeremy had forgotten all about the thumping noise from beneath his lamp and he continued living as he always had. That is until about three months later, when he flicked off the lamp, turned took a few steps forward and heard an ear wrenching Crash from behind him. This was like no other Thump he had heard before, this sounded real. More real than those other noises, and more importantly to Jeremy this sounded messy. He decided he would not wait to see what had happened, he walked to his room, lit a candle, and returned to the table where the lamp stood safe and sound. Untouched was the lamp, but beneath it was the real mystery, there under the rug was, something, still, yet so completely visible.
Jeremy was shocked, how could anything have gotten under his rug? And maybe more importantly, what was this thing under the rug? He set the candle down, hands shaking, his breathing seemed uncontrollable and tense. His mind raced as he slowly approached the thing. Flicking on the lamp again, to maybe get a better look at this lump in his floor, it disappeared, back into the ground from where it came. He stood completely still, holding his breath, trying to hear for the slightest bit of noise coming from anywhere. A minute had passed before he remembered to breathe, he stared deeply into the floor, unable to make anything out of what he just saw. He thought, maybe the lamp best stay on for the night, and he went to bed.
The next day Jeremy decided to stay home from work, he didn’t feel like leaving his house unattended. He stood by the lamp, flicking it on and off, trying to get any sort of reaction out of anything, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary this time. He concluded that the thing would not be coming again any time soon, and he tried to relax. As relaxed as you can be knowing that there is a small creature living beneath your carpets. As he sat on his leather loveseat, he thought. He thought of ways to rid himself of this strange beast, and he concluded that he would lure it in by flicking the lamp off, then striking it with something. Whatever that something is, he hadn’t thought of.
That night, Jeremy stood next to the lamp, waiting for nothing, but hesitating nonetheless. He took a deep breath, he knew what must be done, he flicked off the lamp with a shaking hand. His lip quivered, his eyes widened, and he trembled with a sort of feeling that could only be described as the purest form of fear mixed with anticipation. There was nothing. Silence. No Thump, no Crash, no slight movement. He stood next to the dimmed lamp for what felt like an eternity, waiting for nothing, but hesitating nonetheless. Eventually turned around, and shuffled to his bed, he didn’t sleep that night, he just stared into his ceiling.
For weeks Jeremy followed the same routine every night, he came home from work and sat on his leather loveseat until 8 o’clock at night, then he’d stumble to the little table with the lamp on it, and flick it off. Five minutes would pass, and he’d flick it on and off again, he did this for hours. Becoming obsessed with the Thump under the rug. He didn’t see any reason to go to bed, he knew he wouldn’t sleep. He knew he couldn’t sleep. This, this thing had completely taken over his life, he no longer liked his job. In fact, he dreaded leaving his lamp every morning to go to work. Jeremy wanted to spend the rest of his life waiting for the Thump to come back, he wanted to kill it. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to rest if it was still alive, if just it’s memory stayed in his house, he wanted his old life back, he wanted to rest.
A year passed, Jeremy had become a pile of bones, he hardly ate anymore, for he had no appetite. His brittled fingers could hardly grasp the little string that turned his lamp on and off, his eyes were dulled and his circular specs stained with grease and cracked in one eye from the time he tripped over his own foot. He was fired from his job weeks ago, but he didn’t mind. More time to find the Thump, and all he wanted to do was find the Thump.
It was a night just like any other, Jeremy flicked off the lamp like he had every night before, he didn’t expect the Thump to come tonight, it hadn’t for a year and a half now. Yet he still tried to summon it, after an hour, he had to use the restroom. As he grabbed his cane and stumbled toward the door leading to his room, when he heard it. Thump. He froze, this is it, this is what he’d been waiting for. Slowly, he turned to face it, the little lump under his rug. It was back, he couldn’t believe his eyes, he dropped his cane and with the shout of a hundred and two warriors and with the force of a great lion, he reached out and grabbed the nearest object he could, a small wooden chair, reasonably sized yet of quality sturdiness.
He slammed down on Thump as hard as he could. It squealed and folded as it was hit, but Jeremy didn’t stop there, he lifted the chair and brought it down on the Thump again, and again, and again. He cursed through swings and uneven breathing, the Thump reacted less and less the more times Jeremy would hit it. Until the chair broke on the Thump. Jeremy was dumbfounded, he yelled and hollered and cursed at the Thump to leave, but it didn’t, how Jeremy saw it, it was mocking him.
The Thump stayed completely still, unfazed by him. Jeremy was out of ideas, he dropped to his knees, bruising himself in the process and he pleaded, “God, please. Go away, I want my life back…” he closed his eyes, and crawled toward the Thump, he held it and cried. For the first time in a long time, he felt tired, not tired like exhausted, but as if he could fall asleep. He rested his head on the Thump, his tired eyes closed. It was nostalgic really, being able to sleep, Jeremy felt as if he could sleep forever.
But he didn’t, and when he woke up, it was cold, dark, and the air was awfully dense. He had no recognition of this place, mostly because he couldn’t see anything in this place. He was laying on his back with what felt like dirt beneath him, he tried standing but the roof of this dark, dusty room was only about a foot away from the floor. He felt around, spider webs, mud, and a sort of fabric ceiling was all he could feel. He couldn’t imagine how he had gotten here, which frightened him even more. With a trembling fist he began to punch the ceiling, “Let me out! Let me free of this disgusting place!” He cried and cried, but to no avail. He was alone, or so he thought, until he heard something. Distant at first, but grew into a castrophany so immense that it could be heard from everywhere all at once, laughter.
The laughing man, his voice wailing and crying out. As if someone had just been telling him the most extraordinary of jokes, or maybe as if he was the jokester, amused with himself so much that he couldn’t keep his voice down. He walked on the ceiling, Jeremy could hear him, Thump, Thump, Thump, his footsteps were loud and large. The laughing man walked until he was right above where Jeremy lay frozen, petrified with eyes wide open, and breathe held tight. He went quiet, the laughter died just as quickly as it was born, and the room was silent. Flick, was all that Jeremy heard, followed by a quick Thump, as Jeremy’s head slammed toward the ceiling. Suddenly, Jeremy had a pretty good idea where he was.