This story is by Evrim Akyilmaz and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
“How many today?”
Mr. Barnaby was having a casual Sunday on his favorite couch, basking in the morning sunlight, half asleep. The careless dance of dust specks was inviting him to a meditative state of mind. He stretched and sighed happily. He could lay here forever if Mrs. Sweetpie would ever let him. He wouldn’t even lift a finger.
Just as happy dreams were closing in like a warm blanket, a heavy thud followed by a shatter made him jump. He lifted his head, opened his eyes and listened for a few moments. The sound came from the kitchen, he thought. It must have been Mrs. Sweetpie ransacking the kitchen cabinets for a morning snack.
Even though she had a petite form, she was always hungry. All the food she ate was collecting around her waistline giving her a round figure but she didn’t care. Yes, that was Mrs. Sweetpie: carefree, chubby, sweet pie.
He grinned at the thought of Mrs. Sweetpie with her happy round eyes and her round belly drooling over a morning snack.
The shuffling continued in the kitchen. He stretched. The continuation of his interrupted nap was in order. Yes.
He turned his head back to the couch. Suddenly, he was face to face with Mrs. Sweetpie. She was looking at him with round eyes full of fear.
Mr. Barnaby stood by the door, his back pressed to the living room wall. He was hyperventilating. This was a bad idea but Mrs. Sweetpie insisted that they should go and check on what was happening in their kitchen.
He was no hero, in fact he was known to be a coward. Mrs. Sweetpie always found ways to scare him, made him jump up to the ceiling in fear. She even teased him about it by calling him pussy.
And this was a bad idea. They should just run or hide or something but not go around poking their noses into danger. Mr. Barnaby could smell danger from miles away and this was smelling like a week old piss.
A terrifying whirring noise joined the shuffling that was coming from the kitchen. Mrs. Sweetpie, standing just an inch away, gave him a gentle push.
Alright, just a quick look and than he was out of here and Mrs. Sweetpie could think whatever the hell she wanted to think about him. He could be the pussy of the year for all he cared.
Mr. Barnaby gathered his strength, held his breath, reached for the last piece of courage hiding in deep down – way down – and took a peek into the kitchen: A giant shadowy figure, so tall that its head seemed to touch the ceiling, was blocking all the sunlight coming from the kitchen window.
It was shuffling the upper cabinets looking for something. And it wasn’t alone. There was another one by the garden door. It was holding the glass jar full of Mrs. Sweetpie’s cookies. It grunted something and the cabinet monster turned around to look at it.
Mr. Barnaby was in state of shock, eyes wide, trying to digest what he was seeing. Mrs. Sweetpie, slave to her own curiosity, pressed herself as close to him as possible and took a peek as well. She gasped and a tiny noise escaped from her pink lips.
Cabinet Monster turned toward the door. It saw them, that’s for sure. It barked orders to the Jar Monster and started running toward Mr. Barnaby and Mrs. Sweetpie.
Mr. Barnaby pushed Mrs. Sweetpie toward the living room and he rushed to the window, trusting that Mrs. Sweetpie would follow. She always followed him everywhere and he was sure she would be at his tail in this crucial moment.
Even though his heart was hammering at lightning speed, everything seemed to be happening very slowly, as if time itself was frozen in fear.
He passed the dining table – his dining table – and almost stumbled on that ugly rug, the one he hated. But it was his rug none-the-less. His couch was still bathed in sunlight as if nothing was wrong but everything was wrong. There were two creatures – giant creatures, ugly creatures – in his house, in his safe haven which wasn’t safe anymore.
Moments later – although it felt like years – he reached to the window only to realize it was, of course, jammed. And even with this adrenaline rushing through his muscles he wouldn’t be able to lift it in time to escape.
He turned. And came face to face with the creature.
It was already reaching toward him when Mrs. Sweetpie yelled at him. He squirmed, managed to avoid it, and ran after Mrs. Sweetpie.
She was running toward the kitchen door where the other creature was standing but he trusted Mrs. Sweetpie with his life and this was one of those situations.
The creature was too tall, thank god it was too tall, so they managed to slide in between his legs and rush to the kitchen. Another right turn and they were in the hallway leading to the bedrooms and the front door.
That was it. Everything that was his up until that moment was gone and they would never be safe again. He would never be safe ever again.
A jingling sound vibrated through the hallway. Mrs. Sweetpie slowed down to look back.
She was ever so curious and her curiosity always meant trouble. Mr. Barnaby ran past her and yelled at her to hurry up.
His legs were getting tired and his heart was beating in his throat and his lungs were burning with pain. He reached for the door. No! It was locked. No time to look for ways to open it. He rushed upstairs to the bedrooms. Even through his panicked state he sensed something was off. Mrs. Sweetpie’s wasn’t with him.
The old clock chimed in delight, announcing the turn of the hour, not knowing what was happening.
Mr. Barnaby stopped at the top of the stairs, turned back and looked down. There she was, Mrs. Sweetpie standing in front of the door – frozen – looking toward the hallway. Toward the approaching monster.
Mr. Barnaby yelled, screamed, cursed, and begged for Mrs. Sweetpie to run away. But she stood there in a trance.
The creatures must have done something to her. Hypnotized her or something. That jingling sound, that must have been the reason.
The creature reached out and wrapped around Mrs. Sweetpie, raising her up. She screamed once before she got sucked back toward the kitchen.
Everything went dead silent. Mr. Barnaby thought his heart had stopped.
Mr. Barnaby stood at the top of the stairs in silence. There was no noise, no yelling, no screaming. Silence. As if nothing had happened.
Torn between his fear for his life and his love for Mrs. Sweetpie he tried to think; to find a way to help Mrs. Sweetpie and still be able to get away alive.
He was sure those creatures were still in the kitchen, plotting. But Mr. Barnaby was also plotting.
Plotting what? Plotting to run away. But where? There were no place like home and this was his home. No, no, he was plotting to save Mrs.Sweetpie, yes. But how?
He lost everything in a heart beat. His dinning table, his ugly rug, his couch, and his Mrs. Sweetpie. No one, monster or creature or alien or whatever, had any right to take what was his. He would run away for everything else but for this, he would fight.
Mr. Barnaby gritted his teeth and crept down the stairs, turned to the hallway, all the way to the kitchen door.
He ignored his heart which was about to jump out of his chest and run away.
He was just about to peek in when something wrapped around him. He screamed.
“Meow, meow, meeeeeeeow”
“There there, Mr. Barnaby. It is your medicine time. Now stop squirming please. Honey, can you hold his head up.”
“Sure, babe. Mr. Barnaby boy, have you been a bad kitty? This is for your own good.”
After a struggle that lasted only a few minutes, Mr. Barnaby swallowed his two pills. He tried to lick away the bad taste but alas, it stayed.
As the terror began releasing its hold on Mr. Barnaby’s chest, he suddenly smelled the most delicious food. Food! Mrs. Sweetpie? He looked around in worry. But there she was, sitting on the countertop, gulping her own bowl of food. She looked at him with her happy round eyes.
The creatures were standing by the corner, watching him. They were vibrating a calm and safe aura. Could it be? Ah yes, of course, not creatures but humans. He remembered now: His home, his Mrs. Sweetpie and his humans.
Everything was safe again.
He was safe.