Of English Accents, Lightning Storms, and Monsters
Shadows were everywhere. Ominously large shadows mingled with mysteriously short ones. As I tripped and groped my way through them, the dank, dust-laden air irritated my nose and throat. Lightning flickered occasionally, revealing the shadows for what they were–briefly–then gone in an instant, leaving a faint mental snapshot behind.
“Did you find it yet?” squawked the petulant voice in the darkness.
Startled, I dropped the two-way radio and banged my head on the sloping attic roof. Rubbing my head, I tapped my foot along the dark floor, hoping to find Zombos’ blasted new toy. I found it and pressed the talk button. “No, I’m still looking,” I whispered.
“What? Why are you whispering?” he asked.
I cleared my throat. “The dust. I’m still looking. The lights are out and I can’t see a damn thing. Are you sure you left it up here?”
Yes. Of course I’m sure. I definitely remember I put it–what? Oh? But I thought I–oh, never mind, Zimba found it.” He clicked off his radio.
Lightning flashed through the dormer window as I stood in the darkness of the west attic, ruing the day I became valet to Zombos, the once renowned horror actor, now only known by his few remaining and decaying fans.
Thunder rumbled in the distance. I sighed and turned to begin the arduous journey back through the clutter of shadows that towered and tilted across the attic floor. Suddenly, there came a tapping, then a frantic rapping on the dormer window. At first I thought it was a tree branch blowing in the wind, but immediately realized no trees were high enough or close enough to reach the mansion’s attic. I went to the window to see what was causing the racket. A lightning sprite lit up a large, dark, flittering shape outside. Thunder rumbled, shaking the bent latch open. A spray of water blew in, along with a fluttering wet ball that rolled onto the floor. Startled, I tripped over something and fell
backwards. The ball unfurled into the largest bat I had ever seen.
“Damn, it’s a night only Frankenstein could love,” said the bat, shaking his wet wings. “Hey, can ya hand me that?”
I stood there. My lower lip hung an inch lower than my upper one. I reached into my pocket to see if I had left the two-way radio on. Nope. I then felt my head to see if I was bleeding, or had a bump the size suitable for hallucination. Nope.
“I say, if ya could, I’d appreciate it.” The bat pointed the tip of his wing at my feet. I looked down and saw a small cigar. I used the tip of my shoe to roll it to him.
“Ah, thanks,” he said. “You don’t happen to have a match, do ya?” The bat picked up the cigar and stuck it in his mouth. I checked the two-way radio and felt my head again. Still nope.
“I’m Wally,” he said.
“Wally…the bat,” I mouthed without a sound. I stood looking at him. He looked up at me. “We don’t allow smoking in the mansion,” I finally said.
“Yeah, it’s wet anyway, and you stepped on it.” He folded his wings, then flicked them open, sending droplets of water everywhere. “Sorry. Say, this is the most cluttered attic I’ve ever been in.”
We stood looking at each other for a little while.
“Is that an English accent?” I asked. I never had bat hallucinations speaking with English accents before.
“Must have come from my hanging out at Oxford.” He flicked his wings again, then folded them and puckered his lips as if he were whistling.