The Piano Tuner: a Halloween Tale.

- 'Shall we watch a horror movie? I ask. It's Halloween. It's what grown ups are supposed to do.'

- 'No.' He says.

He's wet, I think. Afraid he'll have nightmares.

- 'Fine.' I say, resigned. 'Let's go to bed, then.' 

He looks up from his laptop:

- 'Coming. Leave a note for the piano tuner, will you?'

He doesn't mean anything by that. He said it as he sometimes says: 'Don't forget to put the tiger out'. I ignore him: our tiger is very small and it is not allowed out.

In bed, he says it again.

- 'Did you leave a note for the piano tuner?'

So I decide to tease. Is the piano tuner, I ask, a zombie freshly dug out of the grave to eat our brains while we sleep? Is he a vampire, who will knock on our door once and wait politely to be invited, before he bleeds us to death? Is he perhaps an escaped lunatic, carrying with him the dripping head of his previous victim in one hand and a long shiny knife to kill us in the other? Or is Freddy Krueger, with knives for fingers, a rotten face and an old stinky hat, waiting till we drop off to get us in our dreams? Is the piano tuner a small creature with a bent back and a hooked nose and piercing red eyes, who'll paralyse us with his spit and peel off our skin while we watch? Is he a small child with empty eyes, who will send us crashing to the ceiling with his supernatural strength? An old woman with an axe and a mad determined look on her face? Or a doll, even, a clown, anything at all, that I can summon from the films you don't want to watch with me?'

- 'Go to sleep.' he says. 

But now I can't. The piano tuner is coming. I don't know what he is, but I know I should not close my eyes, or he will come for sure. I mustn't get up to check I've locked the door. Walking alone in a dark corridor is not recommended in this scenario. I might as well invite him in. Or go investigate a noise in dark attic by myself. Or find help where I might normally expect it. I look down at the shape of my husband's neck and head, half under the cover. Can I be sure it's him? I wake him just in case. I need to check. I look deep into his sleepy eyes. I have a vague memory that sometimes in films husbands get possessed by evil aliens. Better not to look too hard, then. If I'm lucky he'll wait till I'm fast asleep to murder me. Ignorance is bliss. I would rather die in my sleep. Painlessly, even, maybe.

But in the end, it is painful. I hear footsteps. My arms and legs are pinned to the bed by needles, knives and stakes. I try to hide under the cover, but again it comes for me. I manage to free a leg and I kick. The thing screams an unholy scream. It's a devil, now I know. Can I find enough strength to wake my husband and tell him to find a priest, an Italian, just like in the Exorcist? I fear he may be possessed already, as he's still fast asleep. I steal myself for more pain. I feel it moving towards my head. Will it enter through the mouth, the eyes, the ears? I close my eyes, shut my mouth, cover my ears and wait. And then it purrs. It was the tiger after all.

I put it out. I close the door.

1 comment:

'Im Indoors said...

And of course, I come home and find the piano tuner has tuned the wrong blooming piano, because neither of us remembered to leave him a note. What a nightmare.

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