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October 25, 2016 | Fiction

Did You Hear That?

Benjamin Woodard

Did You Hear That? photo

Okay, so there’s that sound again, and you know it isn’t Tommy or Lindsey trying to scare you, because they’ve been asleep for over an hour and you’re certain the sound is coming from the basement since, of course, all strange sounds have to come from the basement once the sun goes down and the babysitter is left alone on the couch, like you haven’t watched about a million movies where such scenarios occur and the stupid babysitter winds up in a basement lit by just one light bulb that hangs from the cobwebbed ceiling, pretty much spelling out certain doom and creepiness, but who cares about clichés since people have to be dumb in horror movies, plus the music is rising, bah bum bah bum, and the babysitter is getting closer to a pile of boxes where anything can be waiting, and she calls out the names of the children in her care, as if they’d be cruel enough to hide in a pile of gross, dirty boxes at eleven o’clock at night just to make a little bit of pee spurt out of their jumpy babysitter who has never been anything but kind to them, who gives them extra ice cream and lets them stay up an hour later than their bedtime, yet people are strange, so it might be one of the kids hiding in those boxes because, who knows, maybe they get off on making teenage girls panic, and therefore the babysitter reaches out to the boxes while calling out to Judy and Johnny as the music, those violins!, swells to a fever pitch likely to make any viewer’s heart race bah bah bah bah bah bah bahbahbahbahbahbahbahbah even though the viewer is certain the scare is going to be a fake, that it’s just going to be the family cat jumping from those boxes, startling the babysitter but also making her laugh, letting down her guard, and then that exact thing happens, and the viewer laughs along with the babysitter, oh, you silly cat, you rascal, I KNEW it was going to be you, but you still made me jump, forgetting that the REAL scare comes two seconds later, when the babysitter turns around, saying something like, “Jeez, Patches, you nearly scared me to death!” right as she faces the REAL source of the sound, the babysitter killer with a creepy burlap sack over his head and a knife in his hand, and the babysitter screams and the viewer screams and then the burlap sack head killer plunges his knife into the babysitter’s belly and her hand reaches out to grab anything for purchase, but the only thing she does is smack that one hanging light bulb, causing it to swing back and forth overhead, a pendulum shifting long shadows around the dank basement in a very pretentious manner, and that light bulb swings and the screen gets red splatter on it, and a teenage girl gets hacked to death in a basement, all because she decided to do the same stupid thing every teenage babysitter does in a horror movie when she hears a funny sound, and since you know all of this, since you’ve seen a million horror movies, you’re certainly not going to be as stupid as those babysitters, those stupid girls who help promote the worst gender stereotypes, with their airheaded responses and their promiscuity and their drinking and drug taking, but then you hear that noise again in the basement, that scratchy noise, and before you know it, you’re standing at the bottom of the basement steps, squinting through inadequate lighting at a pile of boxes covered in cobwebs, telling yourself it will all be okay.

image: Aaron Burch


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