What Goes Bump In The Night - a Short Story by Nightsong

Ciao lovelies! Today's post is a story written by the incredibly talented Nightsong, my bestie and college roomie. So, I hope you all enjoy her amazing writing skills! 

What Goes Bump in the Night

The cozy little suburb glowed with a warm yellow light, the last few colors draining from the sky as stars began to peep out, twinkling nervously as if they knew the summer sun would soon chase them away again. Soft green leaves rustled as a tiny creature crept along the length of an oak branch, its gaze intently focused on the open upper story window of the house between the cusp of the suburb and the forest surrounding it. It was a tiny cat-like form with pale green markings and a round bobbed tail that twitched animatedly. Delicate, bottle-green moth wings folded along its back as it wiggled forward on large, disproportion paws.

Cryptid’s whiskers and antennae trembled with fear and excitement as he moved further along the branch, paws clumsily wrapping around the rough bark, round yellow eyes watching the girl in the room before him. His breath came in heaving excited gasps, tonight was the night! He knew it!

Peering into the girl’s room, he saw her sitting on her bed. She was absorbed in a book, iPod playing beside her, facing slightly away from the window. Frizzy copper hair obstructed her view just enough that she wouldn’t notice Cryptid sneak in. Narrowing his eyes, he pulled his claws from the tree bark one by one. He unfolded his wings, careful they didn’t catch the light of the moon and cast a shadow that might announce his presence. He drew in a deep breath. The wind picked up slightly, rustling the leaves, sounding like the hushed whispers of an excited crowd, poised, waiting for the flag to drop. With a tiny squeak of delight he dropped from the branches and fluttered down towards the windowsill, soft paws silently scrabbling at it as he attempted to land without stumbling. He was not successful.

Holding his breath, Cryptid peeked around the edge of the window frame at the girl, making sure she hadn’t heard him. She was still reading- good! Ever so slowly creeping one paw after another Cryptid slipped in through the open window and dropped slightly to the floor, behind a stack of books so that he was still hidden. Taking a steadying breath, Cryptid remembered what his mother had taught him and flexed his stubby claws, forced himself to keep his bobbed tail from wagging in anticipation, and poised to leap. This was his chance, finally to be seen and as adult, not a dopey little kit! He could hardly keep his whole body from wriggling excitedly. He would show his mother and brother, he could do this!   

Muscles tensing, Cryptid leapt upwards towards the top of the book stack- but he didn’t jump quite high enough. Pulling with this front paws, back ones clawing trying to get purchase, ears pinned back in fear, he finally heaved himself up until he was standing upright on the stack. Well, that hadn’t gone how he’d planned… but, he still had a chance to do this. Fluffing up all his fur and spreading his tiny wings, he leapt forward onto the floor, staring up at the bed and the girl sitting there, with wide eyes as he bounced on stiff legs and let out a sputtery hiss. The girl didn’t look up, bubblegum pop music drowning out Cryptid’s attempt at a fearsome snarl. Ears beginning to droop, he gave another try, sounding more like the squeaking of a desk drawer than anything else. Again, no response from the girl. Letting out a tiny huff, Cryptid scrunched up his face, bounding about in a circle and swatting his paws at the air, claws unsheathed as he let out a tiny yowl.

Suddenly, the girl lifted her head, setting her book aside she stood. Cryptids breath caught in his throat, triumph surging through his pelt. But before he could fully bask in its warm sensation, he watched with wide eyes as the girl walked along the length of the room and out the door without so much as a glance in his direction. Cryptid stared at the door as it closed behind her, disappointment crashing into him like a gust of storm wind. A sharp thud as the book the girl had been reading slipped off the edge of the bed and crashed to the floor shook Cryptid from his dismay. With a breathless yelp he whirled, claws scrabbling on the wooden floor as he flung himself, ears flattened in terror at the loud noise, upwards and out the open window. 

When Cryptid made the flight back home to his nest, and slipped into the hollow tree he and his family called home. His mother was waiting. She stood almost three times his hight, dark red eyes searching his face as she hurried to him.

“Well? Did you pass?” Her whiskers twitched, as she stared down at him. Cryptid’s head hung, his ears, whiskers and antennae all reaching down towards the floor, as if desperately pleading for it to swallow him up so he didn’t have to face his shame. “I see…” His mother gently touched her nose to his head. “What was it this time?”

“I was too small… the girl didn’t notice me.” Cryptid’s whisper was barely audible, his dejected misery making every word catch in his throat as if it was trying to claw its way back down, desperate not to be spoken.

There was a sudden thump, rustle of fur, and the sound of claws scratching against bark as a large shape filled the entrance to the nest. Dread filled Cryptid all the way to his paws as his brother, Storm, came in, smug smile on his face as he stared down at Cryptid’s defeated form.

“Really? You failed again?” He sneered. “You know, I achieved my first scare almost two seasons ago. At this rate, you’ll never be a full member of the flock.” His brother stood, a massive black creature with orange wings and markings that resembled the last remaining embers of a campfire on the coldest night of fall. A sneer tugged at the corner of his mouth as he stared down at Cryptid. “Come on, we both knew you couldn’t do it. Even a toddler wouldn’t be afraid of you. You’re so small, and so clumsy. It’s honestly quite impressive.” He flexed his wings in the small space, eyes blazing with contempt. “ You can’t even glow!” As if to prove his point, Storm purred in amusement as the markings along his body began to emanate a ghostly light, like foxfire.

Cryptid was shaking with rage as he looked between the disappointed eyes of his mother, to the scornful, sneering gaze of his brother. Taking a step forward, he stretched his neck up as tall as he could, looked into Storms eyes and whispered, voice trembling,

“Go eat snails!” He turned and darted out into the forest, tears blurring his vision.

Frustration clawed at every hair on his pelt as Cryptid paced back and forth on the rooftop of the girl’s home. He would never be an adult, never be taken seriously, never haunt someone’s nightmares when he was to busy having nightmares himself! To busy flinching at every loud noise, hiding his face from every strange shadow, cowering in his nest whenever there was a storm! How could he incite fear when he was so scared himself? Fighting the urge to throw back his head and let out a wail, Cryptid flopped down on the edge of the roof, letting his head hang over the edge.

After a few minutes, he felt a tiny bit of hope flare up in his heart again as his mind began to form an idea. Determined, he dropped down onto the girls window sill again, fur fluffed, wings spread, eyes scrunched up in concentration. Letting out a yowl, he poured every ounce of concentration he had into the pale green markings on his fur and wings. Digging his little claws into the wooden ledge he gritted his teeth and strained to focus harder, every muscle tense with the effort. He had to suppress a bounce of delight when a soft green light faintly flickered from his body. However, just as quickly as before, the joy was quenched when he finally took in the sight of the room and realized that it was still empty. No one had seen his small glowing form or heard his high pitched yowl.

A new wave of hopelessness swept over Cryptid and the faint light from his markings vanished as his head began to lower once more. With a sigh he flopped down, lying on the smooth wood of the windowsill, large paws hanging off the edge. After a few moments, he suddenly saw something out of the corner of his eyes that made his ears perk upright in interest. There on the girls desk was some thick paper, thin wooden rods and tape. Eyes lighting up he leapt to his paws and flew forward into the room clamping some of the rods in his tiny jaws he swooped back out again and set them gently on the roof of the home. Turning he once again flew back down and into the room, this time picking up some of the stiff paper, his little fangs punching small holes in it as he tried to maneuver it back out the window and up onto the roof. The tape was even heavier but he managed to place it on the grit-covered roof tiles with the rest of his supplies. Panting, Cryptid examined the paper and set to work, using his claws to cut through it and shape it into the form he wanted. Fuzzy sides heaving with the effort he hoisted the form up and attached it to the rods, tape getting stuck in his fur in the process.

When his little project was done, Cryptid’s bobbed tail began wiggling in excitement as he slipped into the structure and stood to his full height feeling the paper puppets weight on his back. Taking one of its wooden rods in his mouth, he peeped down over the edge of the roof. The girl was laying in bed, eyes still open, but the lights were off. However a security light attached to the side of the house would be all the light Cryptid needed. Taking a deep breath he leapt, landing perfectly on the windowsill, his form immediately backlit by the security light. On the girls wall was now projected the shadow of a massive beast with wide jaws and bared teeth. As Cryptid tugged on the wooden rods in his mouth he heard the girls horrified gasp, as she watched the shadow on the wall rear its mighty head and open its mouth even further. Her shrill scream pierced the night air and just as quickly as he’d appeared, Cryptid vanished into the trees letting his paper creation flutter to the ground as he hid behind a thick branch and watched as the girls parents came bursting into her room, attempting to console their still shrieking child.

He did it! He’d successfully scared someone! Squeaking in delight he swooped up into the air and flew towards home, ready to arrive back as a full adult of the flock!