A Naptime on Elm Street.
(A Novelization of the Oskosh award winning ABDL Horror Film of the Same Name)
Deep in the bowels of the Daycare, down in the basement where Little Ones dared not come and play for fear of the dark and ghosts; two hands worked slowly and methodically. Mustn’t forget a thing. Not a thing. It would be time soon.
The old carpet bag, green and red stripes faded and dingy looking from years of disuse was popped open. Empty inside; just like the person opening it. Soon though, both would be filled; first, the bag.
Spare clothes came first; onesies mostly. Onesies were an outfit all by themselves, no matching or coordination required. Keep the Little Ones warm and cover what little modesty they had. They went in the bottom precisely because if she did her job well enough, she wouldn’t need a spare change of clothes. Little Ones did love to make a mess though…
Better safe than sorry.
Next came toys and trinkets. Nothing major. Nothing elaborate. Nothing that lit up or required batteries. None of the hulking plastic monstrosities that were called play sets that littered the Daycare’s basement.
Rattles. Plastic Keys. Teething Rings. Pacifiers, too. Those all went in. Cute little shiny things…or things that had once been shiny…to keep a Little One occupied for a precious few minutes.
A bottle was wedged in for good measure. Cap on. No spills allowed.
Next came the wipes. Practically a wonder tool wipes were. There was very little that couldn’t be cleaned up with a few judicious uses of a wipe.
Finally came the diapers. Sweet smelling, perfumed, folded, crisp and crinkling. They got the top spot right next to the wipes. Things that were guaranteed to be used needed to be easily on hand. And it wouldn’t be much of a diaper bag without diapers, would it?
As for the paddle: That would be for the other hand, wouldn’t it?
A small, thin smile, blossomed over shadowed lips. It was the smile of satisfaction.
Soon. Soon the little ones would come and play; they would need so much caring for.
Then it would be time to work.
Tina was alone.
Alone and nowhere. It didn’t occur to her in that moment how impossible that was. By definition, space and time were both facets of existence. If one existed, they had to be somewhere even if they didn’t know where that somewhere was. Only the dead and the fictional could exist in a void.
None of that came to Tina, though. For all she knew or cared, she was in a blank void as she heard the baby crying. Her landscape a literal blank slate. No…not crying. The baby wasn’t crying. She was screaming.
A baby girl’s scream; caught somewhere between terror and tantrum. Despite being just eighteen and an only child Tina found it oddly familiar. Nostalgic without the good feelings. Deja vu.
Pulse picking up she wandered ahead, her long white nightgown fluttering in a non-existent breeze as her legs pumped. In front of her was a broken down hallway. Tight walls filled with chipped and scraped off paint.
Originally- Tina somehow knew even though she’d never asked- the dim yellow paint on the walls had been bright and cheery. It had been the color of sunshine. Time and darkness; especially darkness; had worn away at the facade. Now the yellow paint- what remained-was the color of sickness. Of jaundice. Of death.
Everything was scarier in the dark.
Beneath her silken nightie, Tina’s bare feet plodded on. The carpet was threadbare and worn in more places than not. The very bottom fibers still persisted, like a sandpaper rash. A few spots didn’t even have that much, leaving the cold smooth cement of the foundation exposed. As she half ran, and half jogged, trying to understand how she’d ended up here; Tina’s toes curled every time they touched the rare bit of carpet that had struggled on intact.
Behind her? Behind her was nothing but a bright blank canvas of nothingness. She couldn’t go there; though the exact “why” wouldn’t come to her.
Sometimes things just worked that way….
A little girl lost in the woods, Tina ran down the hallway, hearing the random clacking of plastic on plastic; the sounds of playtime. She turned in a circle, pivoting on frightened feet; as if looking behind her might reveal a door, or stairwell, or some other escape from this strange place that she couldn’t remember coming to.
Perhaps if she ran fast enough, Tina thought, she might escape this realm of concrete and decay. A shuttle escaping the bonds of gravity. It didn’t make sense, but sometimes that’s just how things were.
The voice was muffled, but she’d heard it that time. Unfamiliar. Beckoning from the shadows. Laughing.
Tina turned back around towards the light. Even a blank canvas of nothingness might be better than what lay ahead in the dark.
With her meandering gait, she’d only gone a dozen or so steps, yet the other end of the hallway seemed so much further away.
Impossible, but true.
The laughter grew louder; more confident. Knowing laughter. Condescending. An adult watching a child struggle, their hand caught in a cookie jar that they just couldn’t get out of. The laughter grew louder as Tina stayed put; erupting into a full blown cackle as Tina’s heart started to pound.
This was wrong.
She wasn’t supposed to be here…
The cry of a baby girl again! Such a familiar cry! The blink of an eye, and Tina saw that it wasn’t a child crying, but a sheep bleating. A sheep. Like what she pretended to count until she drifted off. Like the night light she used to have all the way until middle school when she’d decided it was time to put away childish things and just go to sleep in the dark.
It’s white wool was cast in pitch black by the shadows as it skittered away, running for its life.
Tina ran off to the side, neither towards the sheep nor the bright light at the end of the hallway. It didn’t matter that there hadn’t been a hallway or door for her to exit. It didn’t matter that she shouldn’t have been able to run; that there was no room in that wretched hallway. All that mattered was that she ran. She ran, and it was away from the knowing, witch like cackling.
That’s just how things were…
The world changed again. No longer a hallway, but a playground. Blackness above her, there was no sky. Blackness beneath her, there was no ground. But directly beneath her feet was the blue steel meshed floor of an elevated walkway so common at playgrounds and parks.
Steel was not nearly so stainless, as the soles of her feet grazed by bits of rust. Hands trembling, she instinctively grabbed onto the safety bars at the edges, rather like the bars of a crib.
The air, such as it was, stank of stale urine; an accident that had long dried and never been properly cleaned up. Someone had peed in the ballpit. Surrounding her were plastic tubes and slides jutting out at impossible angles; a veritable jungle of plastic trunks and styrofoam noddle vines growing thicker with every step she dared to take. And all with the hollow thunks and muted skids, and slapping patters of tiny hands and knees crawling and rolling and sliding through them.
No laughter though. No mirth. Just the unsteady non-rhythm of a playground’s blood being pumped through hollow plastic arteries.
She wasn’t supposed to be here…
A movement in the dark!
Past a built in rung ladder she sprinted. No going up! She wanted to get out, not up! Up would only lead back down. Ladders only went to chutes! She looked over her shoulder at the sailor’s wheel! She could spin that wheel as much as she loved and would get nothing but the howling and screeching of badly oiled joints. She would go nowhere. She would win no prizes.
Out! Had to get out! She was lost! Lost on the playground!
Just like long ago when…
No! Don’t think about it, Tina. Just get out! Keep moving!
Rounding the corner, Tina looked over the edge. Monkey bars, and a gymnasts rings dangled on the next section over, the ground still invisible in obsidian. She was high! So high off the ground that she couldn’t see it! Keep moving. Must keep moving. Come, the monkey bars seemed to beckon her. Come down to our level. Swing from us and dangle your feet out over the abyss. Get tangled up in the ropes and nets and chains and rings.
Deep, knowing, feminine laughter accompanied the shadow that flitted below Tina. It knew what she thought. It knew what she imagined. It knew what she heard with only her heart; her heart that was beating faster and faster by the second.
Another corner. Another turn in a maze that made no sense. Ladders and struts that went nowhere. Fireman’s poles that plummeted downwards into emptiness. Whirligigs and pinwheels that spun on their own. And just Tina in her nightgown…
Tina shut out what little light there was in her life and stepped through the shadowy tunnel. Her breath caught in her throat as she felt the plastic give a bit beneath her weight. Where was the light coming from anyways?
To say that Tina was brave implied like she was afraid and faced the danger anyway. This was simply not true. Even in this maze of unending steel twisting and turning, Tina felt she had only one choice but to go forward. Even with all the topsy turvey and movement and sound and winding and crisscrossing of the paths; Tina had never, in effect, left that hallway. Not really.
Rrrrrrrring! A chime! A bell! The start of something! School? A race? Tina spun around towards the metal dinging. The sound of nails on a chalkboard! Behind her!
Another blink, and Tina stood in front of a curtain; worn and moth eaten like everything else in this place! A withered, wizened hand peeked from behind the curtain and began to peel it back.
Tina didn’t wait to see who was behind it. Tina ran. Tina sprinted. She didn’t see the old straw sunhat with desiccated flowers poking out from the brim. And yet…
And yet Tina didn’t get far. She’d walked only a dozen or so steps before and somehow traveled over a hundred yards. Now as she ran for her life, those same legs were carrying her less than a dozen strides. The air, still thick with the scent of old ammonia, seemed to constrict her; the ground conspired against her like a treadmill on reverse!
Tina was running as fast as she could, but her world crawled by at a leisurely pace. Panting just to keep her breath and her legs pumping, Tina didn’t scream. She couldn’t. Too out of breath. The most she could do was tremble and mewl as the person…the thing with the red and green bag creeped along up to her. She didn’t question why.
Sometimes things were just like that…
Tina looked back over her shoulder. She shouldn’t have done so. A dirty brown sunhat filled with dead flowers and a matching ankle skirt. A dingy off-white victorian ruffle blouse, that contrasted with gray-black oxford block heels. And a green and red bowtie that coordinated perfectly with it’s partner bag.
A bag in one hand, and a rough, splintered paddle in the other; dragging and scraping the floor as she walked…
A weak, muted squeak managed to leak out from Tina’s throat, just as she rounded the corner. Must escape! Must escape! Too late, Tina realized she was trapped. A dead end. A criss crossing lattice blocked her way; a giant baby gate!
More impossibilities! This was the way she had come, wasn’t it? Frustration and adrenaline bubbled over to unsilence her terror in one high pitched scream.
It was the bleating of sheep. The cry of a baby girl. And it was indistinguishable from Tina’s own wail.
And then silence.
Tina breathed. And listened. Nothing. No footsteps. No shadows cast of sun hats or paddles.
Behind her! A hand on her shoulder! Another reaching between her legs! “LET’S CHECK YOUR DIA-!”
Tina shot bolt upright in her bed; her face and dirty blonde hair drenched in tears and sweat.
A knock on the door, and her mother entered. “You okay, Tina?” It was late. No trace of sunshine, no buzz of late night television. Mom was wearing her robe which she only put on when craving (or fetching) a two A.M. snack.
“Just a dream, Mom.” Muscles tight. Breath short. But at least her voice was calm. Just a dream. Just a dream. She was home. In bed. Like she should have been.
Her mom stepped into the room and turned on the lights. “Some dream, judging from that.”
Tina followed her mother’s gaze down to her legs. It wasn’t just her face that was soaked, and it wasn’t sweat that her legs were soaking in. Sweat didn’t smell like that, nor did it make the sheets quite so cold and clammy on an otherwise crisp fall night.
She sat there, paralyzed by embarrassment and leftover shock from the bizarre dream she’d awoken from; stupidly peeling the sheets from her legs and off her, as if it might somehow undo the accident she’d just had.
Mom’s boyfriend, clad in a wife beater and boxers (a wardrobe not that much different than what he wore during the day) leaned in. “Are you coming back to the sack or what?” he grumbled impatiently. Mom gently shoved him away. He looked at Tina, regarded her for a moment, and went back out into the hall. At least he had the decency not to comment further about her soaked mattress and wet sheets. Either that or he was too drunk to notice.
Tina’s mom looked back to her. “Tina, hun, you either gotta stop drinking so much before bed or stop that kind of dreamin’.” She glanced to the hallway. “One or the other.” And with that, she closed the door, allowing Tina some much needed privacy.
Tina got out of bed and stripped the sheets from her bed. Her nightgown was just as ruined. They all went together in a giant pile. She’d stuff these into the washing machine, grab the stain remover and febreeze from the laundry room, and try to get back to sleep with some fresh sheets after a quick shower.
But first she went over to her sock drawer and dug out the old sheep night light she’d never quite had the heart to get rid of.
Just in case….
Ten, nine, better watch your behind.
Eight, seven, gonna learn your lesson.
Six, five, never gonna thrive.
Four, three, in your pants you pee.
Two, one, Nanny says you’re done….
-A traditional jump rope song passed down from kid generation to kid generation since time immemorial.
Tina couldn’t stop talking about it the next morning all the way to school. “And even after I woke up it was like she was still there, watching me.” She shook her head.
“Sounds like a real boogeyman,” her best friend, Nancy said. “Like that old jump rope song: Ten, nine, better watch your behind.” They piled out of Glenn’s car. Glenn was Nancy’s boyfriend, and Tina being Nancy’s bestie got to ride in the back on the way to school. Seniors were allowed to drive to school and park their cars in the parking lot. That meant that they didn’t have to worry about catching a bothersome school bus like the kiddies. It also meant they could sleep in a little later. There were perks to being a senior. Not that it mattered.
“I’ve been having bad dreams too,” Nancy added; a note of commiseration in her voice
“Even after I got changed into fresh sheets, I couldn’t go back to sleep,” Tina confessed.
Tina cocked an eyebrow as they walked. “Fresh sheets? Do you mean…?”
“Awwww,” Rod creeped up from behind, “did you wet the bed, baby?” He laughed. No one else did. Rod was a jerk that didn’t realize how sleazy his slicked back hair looked or how Axe Body Spray was no substitute for a good shower. “Don’t feel bad, I have wet dreams, too.” As if to drive the point home, he pumped his fist up and down.
Tina and Rod were…complicated. If he wasn’t such a good lay, they might not be dating off. She could have ignored him, just then, she supposed, let him walk with them, but she just did not have time for his shit today.
Not after last night.
“Jizzing in your pants would require you to have balls,” Tina quipped, barely looking back at him.
Something sparked in Rod’s eyes. “Yeah…yeah…well…fuck you too!” Rod was that special kind of masculine that was neither quick witted nor thick skinned. He broke off from the trio and walked away, and would likely invent a comeback after.
Nancy and Glenn laughed quietly, but otherwise didn’t engage. They’d seen this scene play out too many times.
Tina looked back over her shoulder to make sure her kinda sorta beau was well and gone. “Rod says the sweetest things,” she said.
“Yeah. Real keeper, there.” Nancy replied sarcastically.
They came to a stop just outside of school. “So anyway,” she asked, “what did you dream about?” Misery loved company. At least she wasn’t the only one tossing and turning at night.
Nancy just said, “It was just a bad dream, okay, that’s it. That’s all they are.”
Glenn, his arm draped over Nancy like a coat, spoke up. “Yeah, and next time you’re having a bad dream just remind yourself that it’s just a dream and you’ll wake right up. That’s how it works for me, anyways.”
The bell chimed it’s dull electronic tone, signalling the beginning of yet another day of educational drudgery. Glenn and Nancy kissed goodbye, and Glenn jogged ahead of glass. Nancy and Tina had English first period; near the front entrance. Glenn had math near the back of the building.
Something just then occurred to Tina. “Hey!” she called after Glenn. “Did you have a nightmare too?”
Tina filed that idea away and turned back to Nancy. “Maybe we’re gonna have a big earthquake or something. They say that weird things happen just before.”
Nancy didn’t laugh, but she did smile a bit. Arm and arm the two went to face the perils of dead poets and playwrights. Little did they know it would be the last time they’d walk into school together…
“Thanks for staying with me here, tonight,” Tina told her friends. “When my Mom told me she was taking off to Vegas with her boyfriend, I kinda freaked.” She and Nancy sat on the couch, easing into each other, while Glenn sat on the floor, texting away on his phone.
“Glenn and Nancy to the rescue,” Nancy assured her. “We got your back.” All day, the dream about the playground and the shadowy figure stalking her had been with her. In some ways she’d never really woken up.
“It’s so cool that your mom let you stay the night, Glenn.”
“Yeah,” Glenn said. “About that…” Nancy laughed a little bit. Tina threw him a questioning look. “So, I’ve got this cousin who lives by the airport,” he explained. “Mom’s cool if I hang out with him. As far as she knows, I’m with him.”
“But what if she tries to track your phone?” Tina asked.
“That’s what I’m working on. I think I just downloaded an app that disables that one. Hold up…” Tina leaned forward and watched as Glenn texted. Nancy just hid her face in her hand and quietly shook her head. “Here…at…Barry’s…” Glenn read his text as he typed it. “Noisy…as…hell…but…fun…”
Glenn looked up from his phone to the girls, a cocky little smirk on his lips. “I think she believes it.” He looked down and grinned. “And the app is working!” He pumped his elbow in a bit of celebration. His glee didn’t last long. “She wants me to send a picture of me and Barry right now! FUCK!” He turned off his phone. “I’m…gonna have to do some explaining…hope Barry can cover for me.”
“Busted!” Nancy laughed.
Glenn just shrugged. “Worth it. I’ll probably get chewed out. I’ve been chewed out before.”
More laughter, this time from all three. “See?” Nancy said. “I told you you’d feel better with some friends around.”
“Yeah,” Tina said. But the moment passed. “It’s just that all day, I keep thinking about this lady and her weird face, and thinking of that big paddle.”
Something akin to confusion and suspicion flashed in Nancy’s eyes. “Paddle?” Silently, Tina nodded. “That’s so weird that you say that,” Nancy said. “That makes me remember the dream I had last night!” Unlike Tina, Nancy sounded lighter for saying it. As if the two girls having the same nightmare was mildly amusing instead of foreboding.
Tina sat up a little straighter. “What did you dream?”
“I dreamt about a lady with a grody green and red bag. She looked like one of the nannies on T.V., but creepier.”
Neither one saw the look on Glenn’s face. It was as if he was hearing about his own troubled sleep. “What about the paddle?” Tina pressed.
Nancy bit her lip in thought. “Oh yeah, she had a paddle. It was like one of those things you see in hazing or like BDSM stuff, I guess, but it was really rough. Homemade, and splintered at parts. She’d drag it along the ground or thump it on things. It looked like something she made herself.” Nancy kept her tone upbeat. It was just a stupid dream after all. “She kept dragging along the floor and it made this sound like kghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” She made the back of her tongue go up against the roof of her mouth and exhaled.
Done fast it would have sounded like a poor impression of walkie talkie static. Done slowly, it was eerily similar to the quiet groaning of heavy wood dragging across the floor.
“Nancy,” Tina whispered. “You dreamed about the same freak I did.”
Glenn came to join them. “That’s impossible.”
The trio looked out the window into the darkness.
“What was that?” Tina asked.
Glenn stood up. “Nothing…”
“I heard it too,” Nancy said. The three young adults stood up and cautiously opened the side door into Tina’s backyard.
Glenn was the first out into the darkness. “Anybody there?” The girls came out, still staying just a few steps from the door. “Hello?” Glenn repeated. Still there was no answer. “I’m gonna kick your ass…!” If anyone was listening, they didn’t believe Glenn’s threat. Even Glenn, wholesome All-American type that he looked didn’t sound like he believed it. “Here kitty kitty kitty!”
Nancy’s boyfriend turned around and started walking back towards the house. “Probably a racoon or someth…” The shadow that enveloped Glenn and brought him to the ground was fast, and strong. Bigger than Glenn and meaner. And reeking of Axe.
“Boom!” Rod said as he climbed off of Glenn. “What a tackle! What a sack!” Ignoring Glenn he sauntered up to Tina, holding the old broken table leg left nearly forgotten in Tina’s garage. “Kinda creepy huh? The way it scrapes across the patio.” He let it drop clunk into the grass. “You should have seen his face,” Rod laughed thumbing over to the other boy.
“YoU sHoUlDa SeEn HiS fAcE,” Glenn parroted back, mockingly. Immediately the two were in each other’s face, chests puffed out and chins held high.
Tina grabbed her boyfriend by the elbow. Time to diffuse the situation. “We’re having a sleepover. Girls only. Glenn was just leaving.”
Rod backed away but clearly wasn’t buying it. “Your Mom home?”
“Of course.” Tina lied. “What are you doing here.”
Rod pivoted to her. “I came to make up. Came to say I’m sorry.” His grin was nothing short of wolfish. He saw right through her. He always did. And the look on his face told her that the blood was quickly going down south. “You guys having an orgy?”
“Just keeping me company,” Tina said. Already she was letting herself be led back into her house. Already, she was starting to relax and tense up in all the right places. Rod had that effect on her.
It might be nice to have a creep of her own to protect her from the lady in her nightmares…
“Hey,” Glenn called out.
He froze when Rod turned around. “Relax you two. We’ll get her mother’s bed. You two can have the rest,” then ducked out of sight.
“Seriously,” Tina said, her petite blonde frame still in the doorway. “Stay. You make me feel safe. Don’t leave me here with this luuuunaaatic!” Tina’s last word was cut off by a fit of giggles as Rod returned and started to cart her off to her mother’s California King.
Left alone, Glenn realized just how pretty Nancy looked in the moonlight, and how much better she smelled than Tina’s creeper of a fuck buddy.
“Glenn, no.” Nancy pushed him away when he leaned in for a little fun. “Not tonight. We’re here for Tina.” She ran her hand through her curly brown hair.
Glenn felt his attitude deflate with his dick. “Why? Who cares? It’s just a bad dream.”
“Because we’re her friends,” Nancy said. “She needs us. We gotta be mature and not fuck around.”
Glenn laid there in the dark of Tina’s living room. The couch made a poor bed and the living room a poor bedroom. He could hear Tina and Rod going at it through the walls. Neither were quiet about it.
Blue balled beyond belief, Glenn could only sulk at the soundtrack to the two horny highschoolers getting it on. Meanwhile, he knew Nancy, pure and mature as ever, slept in Tina’s room.
Nancy slept in Tina’s bed, blissfully unaware of the sounds coming from the other bedroom. But she was not blissful otherwise. Nor was she unaware. Not totally.
Eyes closed, and breath steady, Nancy did not dream. But she did have the peculiar feeling that something, or someone was watching her. She didn’t hear the wall above the headboard creek and moan as it warped. She didn’t see it become thin like puddy and mold itself into a humanoid shape. She didn’t feel the warmth of another not-quite-body looking down at her, bending over, reaching out like a woman readying to scoop her baby out of a crib….
When she rolled over and opened her eyes, the wall was completely normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. Over the side of the bed, Nancy noticed a little lamb nightlight, lying there on the floor. She hadn’t seen this in years. She would have thought Tina tossed this away with her training bras, but her old friend never had outgrown her fear of the dark.
Maybe that’s why she still had a waterproof sheet on the mattress. Or maybe that’s why her bathroom smelled faintly of baby powder. Maybe this bedwetting thing was more persistent than Tina was hinting at; the bad dreams just a justification.
Nancy took a moment and plugged the old night light in. Just in case. She took a moment to touch and push against the wall, too; confirming that it was solid. Just in case. She gave it a few quiet knocks. Just in case.
Tina awoke in her mother’s bed, the sound of pebbles hitting glass making her jump. She looked over to Rod; still sound asleep and snoring. Rod was practically a machine in the sack, and orgasming was his off button. It’s one of the things she liked about him, actually.
Sometimes a good lay really is what a body and a troubled mind needed.
It has also been nice, hearing Rod confess he’d been having nightmares. “What? Guys can have bad dreams too. You don’t have the market cornered.” He gave her a final kiss, before “No more bad dreams for either of us now.” That was about as emotional and open as Rod could get. In a way, Tina had been proud of him; the emotionally stunted mal-adjusted idiot.
Another pebble, this one harder, stopped Tina from rolling over and rejoining her boyfriend in unconsciousness. Definitely a pebble, too. There were nor branches from nearby trees long enough to scrape at the glass.
“Rod?” she tried shaking her boyfriend awake. All she got was snoring for her trouble.
She rolled back towards the window and started to sit up.
It was a whisper, a nagging bit of paranoia scratching at her brain. A sound carried by fear more than air. Picking Rod’s shirt up off the floor, she slipped in on over herself; it’s bagginess preserving her modesty as she padded over to the window.
A flash of purple. Not a pebble. But a…ball? A plastic ball, like in a children’s ball pit rocketed up to the window.
The next one,red, left a crack in the glass. Tina held her breath and leaned closer; feeling the break in the glass for herself. What could do THAT with a plastic ball? It was full dark outside. No stars. Whoever…or whatever…still lay in the shadows. And somehow, Tina knew it was waiting for her.
Tina stepped back. It knew her name. It had come for her. Eyes staring straight into the abyss just outside her window, Tina dared to say “Who do you think you are?” She paused. No answer “Whoever you are…”
The poor girl didn’t feel very brave, just then. Only fools weren’t scared, however. She took some comfort in that.
Tina couldn’t say why she left her mother’s bedroom and turned on the back porchlight. It’s just what happened sometimes. She didn’t know why she didn’t call the police, either. The flashing lights of a cruiser and an officer at her door might scare away whatever was out there. Or they’d just think it was a prank and ignore her…
Sometimes things were just like that….
Clad only in a pair of panties and Rod’s shirt, she switched on the lights, and ventured outside the safety of her home. No going back now. “Somebody there?”
“tina!” The reply was short and crisp. An adult losing her patience with a particularly stubborn child.
And like the stubborn child whose will was finally waning, Tina wandered outside in short uneven steps. Out into the dark backyard. Out into the darkness.
“Tina…” louder this time. A growl or a groan. A muttering maybe. A beckoning, definitely.
On toddling, uncertain steps, Tina kept going towards it. Past the junk in her backyard, and by the old rusted playground her dad…her real dad…had set up for her when she was little. Couldn’t have been older than three. There was something oddly familiar about those gymnast rings, come to think of it.
Out into the alleyway, she went, some dark force compelling her to find the source of her torment. The hollow rattling sound of beads inside thin plastic almost gave her whiplash as a pink hula hoop rolled along the ground and pittered to a stop.
The clicking of heels on pavement made Tina spin again, and the silhouette of a sunhat took Tina’s breath away.
“Now….!” the figure came into the light. Her face terribly scarred, her clothes musty, as if dug up from a grave or a tomb. The dirty green and red bag slung over one shoulder; the splintered wooden paddle hanging from a strap from the other.
Tina started to back away, to look“Shit…”
The thing’s arms stretched out, impossibly long. Inhumanly long! Long enough that the woman stood in the middle of the road, but her fingers brushed fences on either side of the road. “Come…to…Nanny!” Her voice was gnarled and scratchy. Her smile crooked and eyes encased in shadow. Arms outstretched, she was a grotesque parody of a caregiver beckoning for a hug. “COME! COME!”
Even as she walked, the paddle, impossibly large, dragged on the ground, scrapping the concrete road.
“Please God…” Tina heard herself say.
In a blur, the woman’s arms were the right size and the paddle in her hand. “This,” she padded the wooden club in the palm of her other wretched hand, “is God, now.”
Tina ran. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her and it still wasn’t enough. The cackling witch behind her waved the paddle in the air, chasing after her; both moving at snail’s pace…the pace of a nightmare. She looked behind her. The hag was gaining on her!
“Peek-a-boo!” The hag was in front of her! Burned hands covered a burned face, opening to reveal the giggling hag.
“NO! NO! NO!” The poor girl naked save for her panties and shirt, ran back towards her house. If she could get inside she would be safe! If she could get inside she’d be safe! She ran, but now was even slower than before.
Breathless, she managed to waddle out of the street and into her backyard, slamming the gate behind her. Waddle? Something was getting thicker, and it wasn’t the air. Her panties! Something was wrong with panties! Just outside her backyard, the girl stopped and lifted up her shirt. That’s why she was having trouble running: Her panties had thickened into a diaper! A diaper?! Not an adult one, but a larger version of something a toddler might wear. All the extra padding had thrown off her gait!
She didn’t know why she was wearing a diaper, just then. Sometimes things just worked that way….
“Tina!” From out behind an impossibly skinny the wicked woman jumped. “Watch this!” Her voice was saccharine sweet; mockingly so. Tina stood there, paralyzed as the woman removed her thumb. An old trick. An easy trick. The most basic of slight of hand. Something that grandparents have been doing forever… until spurts of green ichor started streaming from the stump.
It was good that Tina had been wearing a diaper just then. Otherwise, she might be standing in a puddle. The warm heat pooling and squishing between her legs was cold comfort, just then.
The last few feet to her backdoor were an eternity. The gleeful cackling of the hag threw off her balance; not to mention the swelling Luvs between her legs. Scarred hands yanked at her shoulders; pulling her away from safety and salvation.
The knob wriggled and stuck in Tina’s hands. Locked. “NANCY!” she screamed. “NANCY OPEN THE DOOR!”
No one came to the door…
The only one that heard her was the dead Nanny.
“Naughy, naughty girl!”
The last thing Tina would remember seeing was the grass and junk in her own backyard as she was pulled over the monster’s knee. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
The cry sounded so much like a scared baby girl. A scared baby girl about to get a spanking.
Rod woke when he was kicked in the ribs. “AAAAAH! AAAAAAAH! NO! STOP!” Tina screamed under the covers.
“Tina?” he tried to ask, “Tina what’s wrong!”
All he got in reply was Tina’s agonizing screaming…that and the sound of laughter, coming from under the covers. “I’M SORRY!” Tina yelled. “I’M SORRY! I’LL BE A GOOD GIRL I PROMISE! ROD! ROD! HELP ME ROD!”
Panicked, Rod ripped the covers off his girlfriend. She thrashed there on her mother’s bed, her eyes closed and her ass up in the air. Rod stood there in his tighty whiteys, mouth agape as Tina struggled against nothing, wearing only his shirt and a…
DIAPER?! The cartoon monkey on the back (and the yellow discoloration between her legs) made it kind of obvious. “PLEASE! DON’T! ROD! HELP! I’M SORRRRRRY!”
“TINA” he called out. “TINA.” But Tina couldn’t hear him.
In a flash, the borrowed shirt was hiked up, leaving nothing covering Tina’s backside but the wet Luvs inexplicably taped around her hips.
The sound thick wood hitting pulpy padding filled the air like a cannon shot. Tina screamed like she was being murdered…and in a way she was. “MOMMY!”
Tina kicked and screamed and thrashed as her body started to levitate off the mattress. Unable to believe his eyes, Rod went to turn on a lamp to make sure that the dark wasn’t playing tricks on him. Tina’s whirling thrashing form swinging into him more than confirmed what his eyes suspected.
“HAAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAA!” He’d heard that laugh too. He’d heard it before even.
Up the walls, Tina’s screeching form was dragged. Eyes still slammed shut, she clawed at the wallpaper, trying to tear herself free as another heavy WHAP sounded.
Now she was crawling on the ceiling.
Finally, words couldn’t even describe the incomprehensible wailing pouring out of Tina’s mouth. All throat, no lips. She sounded more an infant than a young woman about to graduate into college. She looked it, too.
All Rod could do was scream her name as she was dragged along by the unseeable force until she was set gently down, wafting back onto her mother’s bed.
Nancy woke to screaming. Tina’s screaming. On feet that would not carry her quickly enough she ran to the master bedroom and began banging on the door. “Tina?! Tina?! TINA?!”
Her knocking went unanswered. “Who did this?!” she heard Rod say through the door. “I’ll kill you! Who did this?!” Only Tina’s wails of terror and pain let Nancy know that she was alive. But who was Rod yelling at?”
Glenn ran in, fully clothed, from the living room. Together they broke down the door. The brief silence lasted just as long as the crash still echoed. The room was empty. Trashed, but empty. Tina lay in bed feebly kicking at the air and crying nonsensically. An open window, the only clue to Rod’s whereabouts.
Tina lay on the bed, sobbing and inconsolable, crying around her own fingers jammed into her mouth. “Tina,” Nancy said “What’s wrong?” Nancy’s best friend since childhood didn’t answer. She just mumbled and cried through tear streaked cheeks. “What happened?” More crying. “Are you okay? Where’s Rod?” Nancy was feeling less and less certain with each question left unanswered.
The smell of urine filled Nancy’s nostrils, and her eyes went below Tina’s waist. Nancy had babysat enough times to recognize a Luvs, though she’d never seen one that big. She’d also babysat enough to know when a diaper was on the verge of leaking. She felt the sheets just beneath her friend. Correction…leaked.
“Glenn,” she called to her boyfriend. “I think Tina OD’d or something. Something’s going on in her eyes…she’s not all there. There’s something wrong with her.”
“I’ll say.” Glenn wasn’t joking.
Nancy wasn’t in the mood. “Go search her room or something. Look through her drawers! Maybe we can figure out what she took!” Glenn didn’t need further direction.
Nancy waited in tense silence, positioning herself so that Tina’s head was in her lap. She gently shushed her friend, and just like a baby, Tina started to calm down with just a little gentle cooing and pets to her forehead. “You’re gonna be alright, Tina. Everything’s just fine.” Even then, Nancy could hear the lie on her lips.
“Nancy,” Glenn said. “We’ve got a problem.”
“No shit we’ve got a problem!’ Nancy screamed. “My best friend is bawling like a baby in a fucking diaper!”
“More diapers,” Glenn said. “And a crib. Changing table too…”
Nancy stood up. “Where?”
“Tina’s room. It’s a giant nursery.”