This is a story that happened when I was a kid. I regularly used to sleep over at my Cousin Marys’ house. We are only a year apart in age and with the same interests, we always got along really well. Mary had a younger half-sister; Mia.
As much as I liked Mary, I always found Mia a little strange… Ok she was only 5 at the time and most little kids are weird, but Mia… Generally she was a quiet kid who didn’t cause any trouble for her family but on occasion they would catch her talking to someone who wasn’t there.
I know what you’re thinking, like many kids she just had an imaginary friend. But this was more than that, at least according to Mary.
The one and only time, I saw her doing this, is a memory I can never forgot. I was sleeping over at Marys’ house one Friday night. I was going to spend the whole weekend their; my aunt and Uncle were planning to take us to the cinema and out for a meal the next day, which Mary and I were both really excited about.
It was getting late and Mary and I were sat, giggling under a blanket fort we had made in her room. We had made sure to shut the door so we wouldn’t be disturbed as we gossiped about all the things preteen girls liked and cared about.
Anyway, as the night progressed, we got more and more sleepy, and despite our efforts to try and stay awake past midnight, we crawled into our beds at about 10:30pm.
Mary had a bunk bed. She usually slept on the top bunk, and on the bottom was a sofa that pulled out into a bed. We had played rock, paper, scissors to decide who would sleep on the top bunk. I won and with a gleeful smile I climbed up to the top bunk and laid down to go to sleep.
It took me a bit to find that perfect, comfortable sleep position, but within about 10 minutes or so I had drifted off.
I am a pretty light sleeper, so any sudden noise, no matter how quiet is usually enough to wake me. This probably also had something to do with the fact that I always left some kind of light on; due to my fear of the dark.
I awoke probably only a couple of hours later, to the sound of the bedroom door creaking open. I jolted awake, and winced when I saw the room was now in total darkness. Who had turned out the light?
My attention quickly zeroed in on the door and I watched in groggy confusion, as it opened and a small figure tiptoed in to the room.
“Mia?” I asked.
Mia slept in the room immediately next to Mary’s and Mary had told me before, that Mia would often sleep walk at night and in the morning she would find Mia curled up on the sofa bed, clutching one of her teddy bears.
The last time it happened, Mary had asked her why she was there. Mia had looked at Mary in confusion, stating she didn’t know how she got there. But just that she remembered a dream she had been having, where ‘Tony’, the name she gave to her imaginary friend, has been trying to drag her out of the bed by her foot.
This freaked Mary the hell out and so she had started to lock her bedroom door. Only that night, we had forgotten to draw the deadbolt.
I watched as Mia crossed the room and came to a stop at the bunk bed. I peeked over the railing and could just about make out her face, by the light of the moon that was peeking through the gap in the curtains.
Mia’s eyes were closed, and liked Mary had described, she was clutching one of her teddy bear’s tightly to her chest.
I tried again. “Mia?”
Her eyes remained closed and she didn’t seem to react to my calling her name. But I could hear her muttering to herself.
“No Tony…I won’t do it. No…stop it”.
Suddenly her head tilted back, as if she was looking at me with her eyes closed. I shrieked and scrambled closer to wall, until I could no longer see her.
I heard her crawl into the bottom bunk, next to Mary, all the while continuing to whisper in response to whatever this ‘Tony’ person was saying.
“No Tony…Tony leave her alone…No I won’t Tony”.
After a couple of minutes it fell silent. Gathering my courage I dared to get up and quietly climb down the ladder to get a better look.
Mia laid curled up next to her sister, calm and peaceful in a deep sleep. I sighed in relief and was just about to climb back up the bunk, when I caught sight of a shadow, sat behind Mary.
It was small child sized figure. I felt a sense of dread fill my stomach, as I knew that this was ‘Tony’. Tony stared at me with its featureless face and raised a finger to where its mouth would be,
“Shhh,” it whispered.
I bolted out that room faster than I had ever moved in my life and ran in to my Aunt and Uncles’ room sobbing hysterically.
They tried their best to comfort me, but I wouldn’t stop crying and I refused to go back into Mary's room. My sobbing had also set Mary and Mia off crying too so my Uncle had no choice but to call my parents and ask them to come and pick me up.
As my Dad pulled the car out of the driveway to take me home, I risked a glance back at the house. I could see Mary looking out her bedroom window, she gave me small, almost sad wave. I raised my hand to wave back, until I caught sight of Mia behind her.
Mia was smiling, a big creepy smiley as she too waved me off. I averted my eyes and willed away a fresh new wave of tears.
After that night, I refused to stay over at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I felt guilty every time they suggested I sleep over and I would tell them no without a second’s hesitation. I still spent a lot of time with Mary, but it would always be somewhere away from that house. I also saw Mia on occasion and as she grew older, she became a lot livelier and still remained such a sweet girl.
Now as adults we don’t see each other so often. But even now, if you spend any length of time with Mia, you will catch her staring off into the corner and whispering softly to no-one.