Last Tuesday The Bean came home late, like he does every Tuesday night. I used to try and stay awake and say hi to him, but lately I’ve been too exhausted. I crawled into bed around nine and was asleep moments later.
Exhaustion or not, I’m a light sleeper. The Bean’s night class lasts until ten. Although he tried to be quiet, when he dragged himself through the door at 10:30 and stumbled wearily into our bedroom, I woke up.
The problem is that I have been having some horrifically bad dreams lately.
And, unfortunately, this time when I “woke up”, those evil, bad dreams melded with real life.
This is how I remember the next few moments:
I woke up and the Bean was standing by the edge of our bed, staring down with vacant, soulless eyes.
I tugged the blankets a little higher, waiting for him to say something.
He continued to stare at me, silently menacing, silhouetted by the dim light of the hallway. The Bean’s not really one to just stand there and stare, so I began to get concerned. Who was this person? What if it was some creepy psycho-rapist who just happened to look like The Bean?
I decided to be brave, so I sat up in bed, squared my shoulders, and in what I hoped was a strong, courageous voice I demanded to know, “WHO ARE YOU?”
The Bean continued staring eerily for a moment longer, then replied in normal, soothing tones. “It’s me.”
I felt my tension ease as I recognized his voice.
The Bean continued to stare at me, unblinking.
Sloooowly he raised his “arms”, reaching out to me with distorted, abnormally long appendages.
They looked kind of like this, but much, much worse:
They were misshapen and unnatural, the flesh peeled back in leathery, bark-like strips, the bones of the forearms brittle. Grey. Exposed.
My husband had evil branch hands, and he was trying to touch me with them.
So, naturally, I asked him, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
And he said, “Your cell phone. You forgot it in the kitchen.”
And then he leaned forward, slowly closing the gap between us, the barklike flesh flaking off onto the sheets as he continued to try to touch me with eerily long, skeletal, branch-like fingers.
So I scooted away and said, “QUIT IT. WHO ARE YOU? STOP THAT!”
After all, my mama didn’t raise no fool. Husband or not, “cell phone” (like I was going to fall for that old trick) or not, I was not going to touch those evil branch hands.
On the other hand, none of this made much sense. I was awake enough to realize that this was kind of stupid.
I mean, my husband doesn’t have evil, flaky, decaying, pointy, scary branch arms OR hands. I may not have the best memory, but this is one of those things that I was sure I remembered correctly. That’s something you might see in a stupid, B-rated horror flick. That kind of stuff didn’t really occur in real life.
On the other hand, I could see them.
But I knew he didn’t have them. It didn’t make any sense. People don’t have evil, scary branch arms, and if they did, they wouldn’t be standing there calmly at the end of my bed, talking about the cell phone I left on the kitchen counter.
It didn’t make sense at all.
But I could SEE them.
“Turn on the light,” I said.
The Bean paused, his six-foot long arms jutting jutting out motionless in front of him. He continued to stare, unblinking, eyelids peeled back from eyes that were no longer human. The warm brown of his normal gaze had darkened into something flat, black, and utterly alien, the vacant cesspools of color swallowing up the white of his eyes.
“Why?” He sounded sweet, reasonable, and calm.
But he had holes for eyeballs and branch hands.
This was so confusing.
“Look, Bean, just turn on the light, okay? I need to see something.”
“Sure, no problem,” he said amiably. He angled one of the arms awkwardly to the side, and I watched as the branch/bones of his forearm extended itself until he could reach the light from where he was standing.
The bedroom light filled the room, and there he was, looking down at me quizzically with his normal, blinking eyes and his nice, pink little arms and hands.
He handed me my cell phone.
“Here you go, Becky. I thought you might need this. Do you need me to set the alarm?”
“Uh, no. Thanks.” I took it from his wonderfully normal-looking hands and lay back down to sleep.
The Next Morning:
Me: “Ummm, Bean? Do you remember coming in last night? Did you hand me my cell phone?”
(Did you suddenly grow creepy, evil long arms and holes for eyeballs that morphed away into normalcy when touched by the light?)
The Bean: “Yeah. When I came in the bedroom you sat upright, mumbled something incomprehensible, reached out and took your cell phone that I brought in for you, and then flopped back down and went back to sleep.”
All I can say is that it’s a good thing I don’t do drugs.