They're Hungry
Michele Bowman-Sussman

The scraping persists at the bottom of my bedroom door: shwash-shwash, rrouw, sccrrape, rrouw, rrouw...
I pull the covers around my face. The eerie scraping continues, accompanied by an unnerving, non-human screech. Maybe it's a new style of car alarm, made to sound just like someone's... that's who's making the noise! Oh no, not them!
The claws creep under my bedroom door, pulling, shredding and spewing carpet. The syncopated, arhythmic scrapes reverberate like an experimental mariachi band. The percussive, tap-tapping haunts my bedroom door -- ghostly maracas played by Day of the Dead skeletons. They're coming to get me!
A fleshy thump startles me. The doorknob jangles slightly. Then a thud pounds the carpet. A tickle crawls up my shoulder blades. I shiver. Shwash, rrouw, shwash, rrouw,... bang! There it is again! Will they push their way in?
The scratching claws slowly dig a tunnel under my bedroom door. A terrible thought torments me. I pull the puffy comforter tighter over my head. I want to deny the scraping, kneading, and the yowling, alien utterances. I have waited too long to feed them. They are digging under the door, hungry for my flesh!
I envision them the size of mountain lions, five tongues salivating and slipping over sharp, glistening teeth. No longer intimidated by my stature, the wonder, "Does she taste like beef, lamb, or venison?"
This is their revenge. Why should they eat animals bigger than themselves, I had rationalized. But now, mutated into gargantuan predators behind the twisting doorknob, they're determined to get their share of protein. They've waited for my optimal plumpness in ribs, thighs and drumsticks. Now is their opportunity to strike.
There it is again! A sudden slam, the doorknob twists, a dull, muffled thump.
Did they grow fingers and opposable thumbs overnight? Oh. no! My beautiful home! Are the power tools and the kitchen appliances locked up, hidden away? The velociraptors in Jurassic Park had doorknob twisting capabilities. Didn't those Jack-the-Ripper reptiles make cute, squeaky noises before they killed their prey? I must escape these ravenous creatures! If I chose not to hear the ferocious clawing and violent jerking of the doorknob, the terrifying creatures will disappear, right? I grasp desperately for my husband's glow-in-the-dark ear plugs, just out of reach on the night stand ledge. If I lay perfectly rigid with stale, carrion, morning breath they'll desist. They want their breakfast wiggling, squirming, and fresh... eeew!
I hear my husband yelling in agony down the hall, "Hon, will you please feed the kittens now?"
I guess it's time to wake up.

First published: July 1996