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Just Because You Cannot See Him Doesn’t Mean He Isn’t Real

I tried going back to sleep, revisiting the short woman in the bar, but sleep evaded my grasp. Sound grew in the darkness.

It came from the floor near the sliding glass door. CREAK. The damn mattress springs plagued my back. CREAK. I shut my eyes and rolled over. CREAK. The desert heat started to eclipse my skin with sweat.

I slid out of bed to investigate. The clock glowed 5:47 and outside the glass door I could see traces of the Desert Willows Villas’ golf course. I walked over the carpet, expecting the sound to surface under my weight. Silence. I stretched onto my tiptoes and brought my heels down hard. Nothing. Crouching, I crawled the carpet, rubbing my open palm against the spot. I started to bang my fist against it, producing nothing more than a dampened thump. The figure in bed stirred, moaned, slept on. My fingers cleared the crust from my eyes as I lay down beside her.

There wasn’t much time to enjoy the silence before the sound kept my eyes from opening. At first it was quiet, barely noticeable in absolute silence. Minutes passed and I told myself I imagined it. At first I dismissed my self-comfort with continual thoughts of the loud noise. But after time the squeak seemed more and more a figment of the mind. I was dreaming, after all, and didn’t I walk over the spot on the carpet just before the glass door? Didn’t I bang my fists against it? Didn’t—CREAK. My body lurched upright. That one was unmistakable.

I waited, sitting up in bed, hearing nothing. Yet I heard it; I swear I did. But she’s motionless, dreaming with the peace I possessed before this goddamned noise. How could she not hear it? CREAK. She must hear that! But there she is, wonderfully still. I shake her, rousing her from sleep. Her face exudes venom. I study it. Her eyes start to close, slowly, like a wilting willow.

I stir her again. “What?” she groans. I say nothing and continue to look into her eyes. She shoots me with a stare worth a thousand raised voices.

“Did you hear it?”

“Hear what?”



“I’m going back to bed.”



“Did you hear it?”

She’s already in her own world, visiting the place where nonsense is synonymous with sense. And of course she didn’t hear it. Even if she were awake, she still wouldn’t hear anything because there is nothing to hear. CREAK. Goddamned nonsense. It’s nothing. CREAKCREAKCREAK. It is nothing, I mean, what else could it be? CREAK. Again, I’m out of bed roaming the carpet. But this time, the noise isn’t hiding. CREAKCREAKCREAK. It’s continuous now, like an unreachable itch on the roof of your mouth. CREAK. It’s blaring and I look over at the bed and am amazed by her stillness. I rouse her once more and ask if she hears it. Before she answers I know she does, her eyes alight with fear.

“What—CREAK—is it?”

“I don’t know.”

“How long has it been happening?”

“About ninety—CREAK—minutes.”

“Oh my god.”



Frantically, she flings a finger in the direction of the sound. I turn around and my face immediately mirrors the disgusted shock on hers. The carpet moves in waves. It rises near us and collapses at the foot of the door. We sit stunned on the sheets, listening to the incessant noise from beneath the floor. CREAKCREAK. CREEEEAAAAAK.

I go to put my arms around the woman and discover they are trembling. I get up and go to the carpet. On one foot, I lean away from it as I stretch the tips of my toes towards the waves. CREAK. As it rises, I feel it brush below my big toe and immediately collapse. The carpet is still. Silence replaces the noise. I rejoin her in bed and say nothing. She throws her arms around me and we fall back in bed together. CREAKCREAKCREAKCREEEEAAAAAKKKKKK.

The carpet instantly resumes its roll. Even the glass door imitates rubber, like shaking a pencil held between your pointer and middle fingers. CREAK. The woman shudders. The noise has become so loud I expect the vacationers from neighboring villas to enter our room and start complaining any moment. CREAK. We sit alone, paralyzed by the sounds, by the movements. The shutters start opening and closing, squeaking. CREEEAAAAAKKKKCREAKCREEEAAAAKKKKK.

I leap out of bed damning everything. My feet tackle the carpet and my fist shatters the glass. CREAK. I dig through the drawers, disheveling everything inside until my prayers are answered. CREAKCREAK. I slam the drawer closed and rejoin the woman at the bed. Standing on the edge between her and madness, I extend my arm and pull her towards me. CREAKCREAKCREAK. I tweak my head in the direction of the door and she understands. CREAK. In my other hand, I douse the carpet in lighter fluid. As I drop the lighted match, she escapes the villa, and I am right behind her.


Andrew J. Stone was raised in Los Angeles & is currently attending Seattle Pacific University. He maintains a blog at the graveyard:


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