The Silent Scream

The attic door banged back down just as soon as it had moved. And with the suddenness of the sound, the screaming stopped.  But I needed to pee.

I climbed out of bed and felt the terrible pain of the cold and wanted so desperately to get back under the blanket.  But I had to pee and I kept moving, slowly in the darkness, and found the bedroom door handle. The door creaked ever so slightly as I pulled it open.  And it was a shock, seeing a light shining across the landing.  We never slept with the light on because Mum didn’t have money to waste on those things.

I looked to see where the light was coming from and my bladder hurt with the sudden pain that shot through it, seeing that light. So I stopped for a moment and didn’t breathe and waited to hear something or someone.

And there was nothing.  Not a sound.

I could go back, never look. But I knew I couldn’t hold it in all night, not now that the pain in my bladder was made worse from the light that shouldn’t be there.

The toilet door was closed.  No, not completely.  Just enough to let out that light.

It moved easily when I touched it.  Just the slightest movement as I pushed the door.  The bare light bulb was there, brightly shining in the black night.  And nothing.  Nothing but the toilet bowl and the cistern with water droplets all around it.  And the handle on the end of the rusty chain that was swinging.

Swinging on its own.  Backwards and forwards.  Swinging from nothing.

I pushed the pee out and it rattled in the water of the toilet bowl and it felt like it would never end, until finally it was done and I turned to the door.  It was almost closed.  I couldn’t move, of course.  No one could.  That door was open before.  I could feel the cold damp floor boards around the toilet, black at the edges with the creeping mold.  And I stared at the door.  I reached for the door handle and thought I pulled it but the door seemed to move inwards on its own.

There it was.  In the doorway of the toilet, standing on the landing in the half-light in its grey-white gown, staring at me.

And then it opened its mouth and screamed.  But nothing came out.  I knew it was screaming because its face was screwed up and its mouth was wide open as far as it would go.  But still nothing came out.  Wider and wider it opened its mouth until it seemed that its whole face was just a giant, gaping, screaming hole.  And it screamed in silence.

Screaming silently in its grey-white gown.

And then it was gone. And though I tried, I could not take a single breath.

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