's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Sleepovers Suck

Submitted by Centipedal

I hated sleepovers, but I hated Jared’s house more than most. It wasn’t that his big sister scared me, like at Bobby’s, or that he got really mad at me easily like Marty did, or that his dad said weird stuff like Tyson’s did. It was that his mom always made us sleep in the living room, and every time we did I would wake up at like two in the morning and feel wet all over like I peed myself. After the first time, I cleaned myself up during the night.

This time was no different. I woke up, covered in that warm wetness. I went to go to the bathroom, as I normally did, quietly turning on their shower. When I finished, I grabbed my extra pair of pajamas from my backpack and put them on. Then I went back into my nestling of blankets and sat there, staring up at the ceiling.

Was there something wrong with me? I mean, most eleven year-olds I knew didn’t pee their pants. Most also like to do sleepovers, but I always got too scared. If my mom hadn’t promised me candy for hanging out with Jared, I wouldn’t have been here. I always felt bad, too. Like, I never had anyone over at my house, and I kinda felt like it was unfair that they were always taking care of me and not the other way around. But who would want to hang out with a kid who pees his pants?

I kept looking up at the ceiling. My eyes hurt- it was my first week wearing contacts instead of glasses, and I’d forgotten to bring the solution casing. On the bright side, I could see everything clearly without really trying. On the downside, it meant that my eyes felt all dry and painful. I wasn’t going to take them out- my mom had said that they were expensive, so she wanted me wearing them as much as possible. My brain was moving too fast, like usual, so I couldn’t go to sleep. Ugh, I hated sleepovers so much.

I was way too hot under the blanket, but I couldn’t sleep without one. My eyes hurt, so I didn’t close them. Instead, I just stared up at the ceiling for fifteen minutes. Then I felt something warm and sticky near my pants again. No. No. No. I- I hadn’t even had to go to the bathroom! Why- what is wrong with me?

I sat up to go to the bathroom and- there was a dripping from above. Something dark and wet splattered onto my blanket. I looked up. There was something above me. Okay, it was just a chandelier. Nothing scary, just a circular glass fixture, hanging from a chain and gently swaying in the breeze. Well, I mean, there wasn’t a breeze, but it was probably just the house shaking or something, right? And that was- I dunno, oil? I mean, it smelled kind of like oil. Yeah. It was nothing.

The moment before I looked away from the chandelier, one of Jared’s neighbors pulled into their driveway. Their headlights shone through the windows, and the room was briefly flooded with light. In that light, the circular chandelier took on a different shape.

It was like the head of a person wearing a gas mask, kind of. Or maybe an elephant? No- it was some kind of mixture between the two. A skull covered by warty skin that was almost like a burlap sack. It had no eyes in its sockets, but it still stared at me. Where the mouth and nose should have been, there was some kind of protrusion- it was thick, fleshy, and long, like an elephant’s trunk. It hung limply, and at the end there was a plastic covering like on a gasmask. That part was covered with warts, and they leaked a thick, dark fluid. Rising out from between the warts was a long, very human tongue covered in the stinky liquid. The head hung from a chain that was attached right at the top of its skull. A cord came out from below the head, looking simultaneously like a spine and a series of intertwined cables. More dark fluid dripped from that directly onto my crotch area.

The neighbor turned off their car and the light disappeared. The head went back to being a glass sphere hanging from the ceiling. And I passed right out. When I woke up, my backup pajamas were soaked. I went to shower and change into my day clothes. During the shower, I remembered the thing hanging from the ceiling. I walked out and looked up at the ceiling. There was nothing there- not even a chandelier. Weird.

After breakfast, I called my mom to take me home. I always felt a little sick after I hung out with Jared for too long, even when I was at school. That was the last time I slept over at someone’s house for awhile. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there would be something sitting somewhere, watching me while I slept. I finally got over it just after college, when I had to crash in someone’s apartment after we stayed out way too late.

A few years after that, I got a call from Jared. He had cancer, and the doctors didn’t think he was going to last much longer. He just wanted me to know- we hadn’t talked with each other in years, but he felt I should know. At his funeral, I learned that every single person in his family- mom, dad, both older brothers, and even the cats- had passed from terminal cancer as well. People thought it was genetic, even though everyone else in their extended family was as healthy as an ox.

I had my own suspicions.