Zachary Kilgore knew, he was absolutely and positively certain, that there was something hiding in his room.  He had harbored this suspicion for some time, since that morning last summer when he woke up and found his model B52 smashed to smithereens in the middle of his room. He had no brothers or sisters, the usual suspects when something of one of his friends came up missing or damaged. The model had been carefully suspended from the ceiling by his father with wire and hooks; they were still intact the morning of the B12’s demise, gripping slivered remnants of the demolished model as if wrenched violently from its dangling perch and dashed to the floor below.  The thing that disturbed Zack most was that the incident had not aroused him from his sleep.  Judging by the brutal and complete annihilation of the plane, scattered in thousands of tiny shards throughout his room, there had to have been a great deal of noise.  He was notoriously a light sleeper, also.  He liked to tell his friends an ant fart could wake him up. 
Yet, the certain cacophony of his beloved model’s demolition had not caused him to stir, unless . . . his imagination could dredge up at least a dozen possibilities, but they all demanded Zack abandon rationality and walk down dark roads he had no intention of traveling.  There had to be a reasonable explanation for the disturbing event, and he wasn’t about to start entertaining wild fantasies.  His father, always the practical man, had postulated that perhaps a mouse had found its way onto the model airplane, and its weight had caused it to fall, and the reason why he had not heard it land on the hard wood floor was that he was in stage four sleep, whatever that was.  Satisfied with his father’s hypothesis, Zack dismissed the episode altogether.

     Until the following month, the morning after the night of his first day back at school, to be precise. He had awakened to find himself lying on top of all four of his Lord of the Rings posters.  They lay between his body and the fitted sheet on his mattress, spread out perfectly as if they had been placed with the utmost care to prevent any wrinkles or tearing.  This frightened Zack to the wick, not only because of the unusual placement of the posters, but because they had somehow been taken out of their frames hanging on the walls of his room.  In order for the posters to have made the journey, the frames would have had to been removed from the wall (no easy task as they were each securely anchored to the wall with three hooks), taken out of the framse (another substantial feat involving disassembly of the frames’borders, removing the actual posters by carefully untaping them from their backing, and then reassembly of the frames), and then somehow, someway sliding them under his sleeping body without so much as a tear or wrinkle.  This time his father did not offer a rationale for this phenomena, but did call his mother into private counsel in the laundry room, and then proceeded to question him thoroughly while his mother sat quietly with a worried look on her face.  It didn’t occur to him until later that same day that his parents actually believed he had something to do with it, and this revelation made Zack cry, something he hadn’t done for two whole years when he was eight.  He began leaving the door partially open at night so the hallway light could chase many of his bedroom’s shadows away, and took to the practice of keeping his covers tucked in at the sides and bottom when he climbed into bed at night.  Sleep became difficult to achieve as his imagination ran wild at night, and for the next couple of weeks he spent his nights tossing and turning – no easy feat when the sheet and blanket are tucked in on three sides.  Zack’s mind did eventually begin to weary of speculating on the fantastic, and soon he began sleeping through the night with little more than a few worried looks under his bed.

     But then, as if out of some bizarre calendar of the unexplained, exactly one month and a morning later, Zack awoke to find his entire Magic the Gathering card collection turned into an exact replica of the Taj Mahal – on the floor of his closet!  He did not consult his parents as before. They obviously would not believe him if he told them he knew nothing of it.  He had seen enough movies to guess that they would probably send him to a therapist.  The fact that something or someone was doing all these things on a monthly basis sent chills up his spine.  However, after carefully examining the obvious effort that had gone into erecting such an elaborate structure using game cards, which involved no doubt genius abilities in design and construction (not to mention a college degree’s worth of knowledge in the science of physics and other such math skills), Zack began to feel a sense of awe and wonder which diluted his fear considerably.  After consulting Nicholas Hornsby, the smartest kid in his class and a self-taught expert in horror movies, he guessed that there was nothing more serious than a playful poltergeist messing around with his things.  
 
     Nicholas Hornsby had suggested Zack leave a peanut butter sandwich and glass of milk on his nightstand when it was time for the creature’s next overnight project, and he did, but when he awoke to his next surprise four mornings later the milk and sandwich were still untouched and growing stale.  What he awoke to that morning was to find the entire contents of his three drawer dresser, as well as every piece of clothing in his closet, squeezed together somehow into the perfect size and shape of a basketball and suspended from his ceiling by a single shoestring.  Instead of fear Zack felt almost a giddy sensation of excitement.  Surely the mischievous spirit was having fun with his things.  He assumed that the imp’s first attempt to manipulate objects resulted in the demise of his model airplane but since then had obviously mastered the art of influencing matter.  Evidently it did not care for peanut butter sandwiches and milk, either.  It took Zack almost an hour to peel his clothes apart, and all the while he snickered at the ingeniousness of the feat.

     A month later, almost to the day, he woke to discover that the thick wooden headboard, footboard and frame to his bed had been somehow reduced to sawdust and laid in a perfect semicircle around the remaining mattress and box spring.  The raw exhilaration Zack felt regarding the spirit’s latest achievement was short lived when his mother inquired about the whereabouts of his bed, to which he offered no excuse, and he knew in an instant that the truth would only result in a paddling and a bar of soap in the mouth.  Still, he suffered his parents’ punishment of grounding happily, and looked forward with glee to whatever miracle the poltergeist had in store for him next.

     As the month’s wait drew to a close Zack found himself so excited to see what else the spirit would do that he had great difficulty falling asleep, even to the point of watching the night sky began to lighten with dawn before his overworked mind and fatigued body pushed him into slumber.  He knew the good-humored being was hiding somewhere in his room just waiting for him to go to sleep, but with an air of expectation he had not known even during his younger years anticipating Santa, he twisted and jostled around under his covers for hours.

     For years his parents held out hope of finding their son Zack.  The police detectives and subsequent private investigator hired by the family were unable to find a single clue as to the boy’s whereabouts. It never occurred to anyone that the ceiling of the missing son’s room was not only a darker shade of red than the rest of the house, but that it alone had a stucco design.  Had Nicholas Hornsby been able to put his considerable knowledge of horror films to use in the bedroom, he might have discovered that Zachary Kilgore had been looking down up them the entire time.

 


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