You blink awake groggily to the sound of bells. It’s still dark. Your eyes take a minute to adjust in the pitch blackness of your room.
“Sammie…” You call into the emptiness of your room, the tiredness heavy in your voice.
Groaning you throw the covers off, and slowly get out of bed. Your door is ajar because you like to keep the air flowing through your room. Walking forward, you reluctantly poke your head outside your room to listen for the jingling sounds.
Your little brother has sleeping problems, and tends to roam throughout the house while deeply slumbering. He was bumping into stuff, and getting lost. One time he managed to make his way outside without anyone noticing. In the morning when his bed was found empty a search party was formed, and he was located in the nearby woods. So your parents decided to tie bells to his feet so they could always find him if he gets up in the night.
Following the sounds of the bells, you make your way to your brother’s room. You squint your eyes, trying to locate him. You spot his dark silhouette standing, swaying slightly. You can tell he’s asleep. He walks forward, and bumps into the wall, jingling the bells.
You sigh as you walk towards him, rubbing your eyes.
“Hey Sammie, get back into bed.”
He turns to you, head lolling to one shoulder, and arms swaying at his sides. He seems to walk in a semi-circle, not quite sure where to go.
“Dude you’re asleep just lay back down.”
Seemingly he nods at you, and flops back into bed luckily. You scoot his feet fully onto the bed, and fling his covers onto his body. Feeling that your brother was sufficiently calmed down, you eagerly make your way back to your room. You sigh in relief as you finally get to lay your head back down onto your pillow, and nestle into your sheets.
You’re not sure how much time has passed. You think you slept some, but can’t be sure. It’s still too dark to see clearly so it’s probably dead of night. Something feels wrong, and that feeling is what stirred you awake. Your entire body just goes from 0 to 100 as every muscle within you tenses.
Standing above you is your little brother. With eyes unblinking, and pale face deadpan, he is a statue looming over your bed. The sight is eerie, and just about had you falling out of bed. You still have the feeling of wrongness within you, but you begin to relax the slightest bit since your waking mind recognizes it’s just your little brother caught in a dream of some kind.
“Sammie. What the hell are you doing? Go to bed.”
You’re more than a little irritated, but you know it’s not his fault he has these problems. Unsurprisingly he doesn’t respond. What is more unsettling than anything is how the normally expressive features of your brother are transformed into a lifeless mask, similar to that of a mannequin.
“Come on Sammie. I’ll take you back to bed again.”
You notice something in his hand, and freeze. Your 7 year old brother is holding a very…sharp…knife in his hand.
“Sammie, why do you have a knife?”
You try to speak as calmly, but with as much force in your voice, as possible.
You stare at him, pleading silently, for what seems like an eternity. His eyes, resembling dusty marbles, do not move.
Eventually, he starts to turn slowly, and exits your room as if he was under water. Thankfully he drops the knife as he exits, but in a way that suggests he just forgot what he was doing rather than listening to any instruction from you.
As the knife clatters to the floor, you heave a great sigh of relief. Your brother has been known to become violent when he took his nightly walks. Holes in walls, and items slashed to bits for the family to find in the morning. One time they found blood on the ceiling, and to this day they have no idea how he managed to get up there or where the blood originated from.
You carefully grab the knife, and stash it under your mattress so he can’t get to it again. At this point, you close your door and lock it. You have been woken up twice tonight, and your parents can deal with any future disturbances caused by your wandering brother. You’re too tired to try to put him to bed again.
You startle awake for a third time. Your body is alert, with your heart beating furiously through your chest. But your mind is more sluggish to respond with the lack of sleep not helping it function properly. You stare at the black void of the door to your room for a long moment, expecting your brother to ominously float in any moment.
But then you remember…you closed and locked that door before you went to bed. How is it open? The shadows of the open entrance seem to stretch endlessly before you as your mind comes to terms with this fact.
Springing up from the bed you stride quickly to your half-open door and peer out of your room. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary you listen for the jingling of your brother. You can hear him moving around towards the kitchen. Begrudgingly, you feel like you must go to settle him back down again because he could be trying to get another knife. And if he can apparently pick locks while sleepwalking, you would prefer to avoid that altogether.
Walking through the house, you try to move carefully so you don’t startle him. You never startle a sleepwalker, because that can cause unpredictable behavior. Passing by your parents’ room you see their door shut. You try to jiggle the handle to wake them up. The door is locked unfortunately, and there’s no use trying to knock. As heavy sleepers, they won’t wake up for anything less than an atomic bomb going off. Lucky them.
You see your brother’s door is open, and just briefly look inside to see if he stored any other sharp objects for later. Your breath catches in your throat, and you stop in your tracks so fast you feel your heart slam into your chest.
There, in your brother’s bed…you see a black figure. Their chest was rising and falling slowly. Whoever is in there, is asleep. You try to make out the features, and recognize the form as…Sammie. You can tell by the pajamas he was wearing that it was indeed your brother just sleeping normally for once.
You look at his feet, and see the bells are still attached.
Jingle….Jingle….Jingle echoes just down the hall….creeping…closer.