Ib, Mi, and Bo.
Connor Siladi

 

Like most nights, she struggled to sleep, still chilled by the sounds beyond her bedroom door. The sounds of objects crashing, the Her screaming and shouting, the Him cursing and then more crashing. Things would go silent for a while after she felt the wall against her bed rumble, and it was peaceful. The Him would sometimes walk into her room late at night, naked, with a bottle in his hand. You could hear his throat sizzle as he stood, taking obnoxious gulps here and there. By then the vomit on the corner of his lips had dried, and the sweat had evaporated over his burning skin. Like always at this time, she pretended to be asleep, and remained completely still. She pretended that she didn’t see the Him standing there, and that the Him didn’t see her. Once he left the room, she was able to breathe again without the voices in the back of her head saying, not now, please, some other time.

It was only recently that she began to hear the voices. Some nights the voices grew louder, no longer whispering from far away, but talking softly next to her. You’re so pretty, you know? So young, you know? She would sometimes talk too, thanking whoever was speaking for the compliments. Oh my, such a polite girl, yes? Such a thoughtful girl, yes? Half the words she heard from the voices, she could not understand. So she just thanked them. That was her only response. You’re welcome, they would say. You can trust us, yes? She said thank you, and they said, yesss, she can, all three of us. And so, she decided to name them. Ib, Mi, and Bo. Ib asked the questions, Mi made the statements and complements, and Bo said nothing. Bo simply listened.

Then one night, after the Him had gone to sleep, and the Her left for the nightly job, there were three little knocks on her bedroom window. She heard it, but she did not move. No man or woman could have reached two stories up, and she knew this. In fact, it was rare for a man or a woman knock on a window and not on the door, and she knew this as well. It’s okay, I am your friend, whispered the voices, but she could not tell who’s voice it was, so she asked, “Are you Ib?” and the voices whispered yes. Then, to be sure, she asked again. “Are you Mi?” and the voices whispered yes. She asked once more, just to know for a fact everyone was there. “Are you Bo?” and the voices whispered Bo is with us, so she thanked them. Come to the window, I want to see you. She quivered, worried that Mi would see her face, and no longer think she was pretty, bringing its polite rain of worship to an end. Then Mi might tell Ib, and Ib would no longer ask her questions, because it could not trust her. Then Bo would no longer listen, because there would be nothing to hear. “No,” She said, and sunk deeper into her stale mattress. Please. I want to see you, I want to look at you, I want to watch you. I love you, I want to care for you, and it is difficult to love and care for something that you cannot see. Come to the window, so I may watch you be pretty. She did not understand, but she knew they loved her, which is all she ever wanted to know. She got up, and walked to the window. She first thought it was the moon, but then it tilted its head. She could not tell if it was smiling or frowning, because it had no lips to smile or frown with. She worried that it did not like what it saw, which brought tears to her eyes, but it said, don’t cry, I still love you, even more than before, because now I can see your pretty face. Still, the tears managed to streak her cheeks pink. She cried because it said it saw her, but it had no eyes to see with, and it heard her, but it had no ears to hear with. Please. Open the window. I want to touch you. She swayed, worried that Mi would feel her head, and think she wasn’t thoughtful, halting his parade of admiration for her. Then Mi might tell Ib, and Ib would no longer ask her questions, because she was a liar. Then Bo would no longer listen, because nobody was talking. “No,” she said, and put her hands behind her back. Please, I want to touch you, I want to feel you, I want to smell you. I love you, I want to hold you, but it is impossible to hold something that is not beside you. Please, open the window so I may wipe the tears from your face. She could not know why, but she hated crying, so she opened the window, and stood before Ib, Mi, and Bo. It lifted its hand in to touch her, and it was so long, so it took a step back, then wiped the tears away with its frail, soft fingertips. She could hear it sniff at her hair, but it had no nose, which confused her, but she did not care. She loved its touch, and it loved the way she felt. For the first time in her life she felt loved, and worth something. “I love you,” she said, and it loved her. Will you let me hold you? She shook her head yes, so it picked her up out through the window, and cradled her in its lengthy arms. It stood with her in the night, and she shivered from the cold. She nuzzled her head into its chest, feeling a heart beating beside her own. Its presence comforted her, and she felt she could finally sleep this way. You’re such a soft girl, yes? Such a treasure to be held forever. “Thank you,” she whimpered, and it held her closer. Will you go with me, my dearest? And she asked it “Go where?” Anywhere. She asked it again, “Where’s that?” and it said, wherever you want, and whenever you desire to be there, I promise you, we will go. She only wanted to be with it, so she said “Yes. Thank you.” and then they left into the night, to wherever she wanted, though she did not know where.

 

Connor Siladi is a 16 year old student at Monte Vista High School in San Diego CA. He is currently working on a collection of short stories, tentatively named Bedtime Stories for The Damned.