“Thump. Bang. Zip.” I startled awake at the ruckus. For a moment, my heart jumped as an image of my son playing in the kitchen surfaced, but as soon as I noticed the thought, I stuffed it away.
He died and wasn’t coming back.
I was convinced I had driven myself mad, but when I saw the gnomes that took over the kitchen, I knew it was more than that.
Water sprayed over the floor. The refrigerator was open… and empty. The cabinet doors were on the floor and there were burn marks in the counter tops. Oh, and the smell! Rotten food, body odor, moss, and dirt. I wrinkled my nose and that’s when I realized it was missing.
The gnomes ignored me as I searched the kitchen for my son’s photo. It had been right on the refrigerator. I had promised him I’d never take it down.
I found it under the mixing bowls, torn, tattered, and spotted with ketchup.
“Get out!” I yelled, pushing away the tears. The gnomes shuffled their feet as the left the room, one-by-one. I picked up the photo, wiped it clean, and tried to smooth it out. I couldn’t fix it and my son’s eyes stared at me, haunting me of my promise.
A clashing and clanging from upstairs pulled me from my emotions. I took the stairs two-by-two and flew into my son’s bedroom. His undisturbed room was now disturbed. His model planes all over the floor, Lego structures torn apart, books scattered and ripped. How could they do this much damage in only a few moments? They were a tornado of small, silly-looking creatures.
“Get out of the house!” I bellowed.
They laughed and I cried.
The control I held ran from me when they dressed in his clothes. I rushed the one wearing my son’s favorite t-shirt. I picked the little man up the arm and shook him with a fury I didn’t know I possessed. “Get. Out. Now!” I looked into his eyes, could it be? His beard had not yet come in. No wrinkles lay on his skin. His wide eyes showed fear. A child. I looked at the rowdy bunch and noticed their young faces. They were all children playing.
Like my son had done so many times in this house.
I relooked at the room, one gnome was building a castle from the broken Legos, another flying the model airplanes, and a few more were looking at the books, tearing out their favorite pictures.
They were laughing from joy, not at my anger.
I breathed deeply and sat on the floor, picking up my son’s favorite book. “Would you like to hear a story?”
The house became silent and I looked at eight sets of eyes staring at me. With acceptance, I opened the book and read.
Written by: Joy Schultz
Photo from: www.morguefile.com