Uncle (Let’s Say) Bob
This story is a work of fiction based on my childhood. It show courage and bravery within a child who, with no fear, tries to conquer a beast, even if it isn’t real.
I fought off my first monster at age five. The night was cold, seemingly subzero, and the room was pitch black with curtains that danced over the windows. The door, completely normal by day, now took on the form of a witch. My father and I had just watched a zombie movie together (I know, right…What parent allows their five-year-old to watch a horror movie before bed?). It was fine, though, because I liked them and still grew up to to be a semi-okay person.
As I snuggled up next to my father, who was already out like a bear during hibernation mode, I heard strange noises coming the first floor. (Do keep in mind I had just watched Zombie Town). I slowly removed my blankets and got up. Before opening the door, I gave myself a little encouragement then headed for the stairway.
Looking into my living room, I searched for the source of the noise. The air was ominous, or was it my five-year-old imagination? All that was visible was TV static. That was when I heard it again. A loud beastlike grunt and groan.
The gulping noises emerged. Guurrrrlllp. There it was, a dark figure, seemingly ten feet tall or more, (as a five-year-old I was probably the height of a dinner table). It was rummaging through the fridge until it groaned at me. Guuuurrrrrlllllpppp. I ran back to my father’s room, as fast as my little legs could take me.
My mind had only one explanation. Zombie. Here for our brains. I panicked, but as a five-year-old, my first thought was not about what it was doing there, or how it got there, or even concern for my father’s safety. Rather, I thought what to name it (Gary? Tom? If female, Tomette?). And in my tiny head, I knew I would conquer this beast and make it my pet.
I thought of all the advantages. With a zombie by my side, no one would fight me over Smarties anymore, and I’d be source of admiration (again, for the nth time, I was five.) Just imagine me standing on a lunch table, Smarties in one hand and my zombie on the other, surrounded by my drooling peers.
I tried to wake my father, thinking I would need his assistance to beat this beast. No matter what I tried —pushing, pulling, taking off his blanket, and even smacking him—he wouldn’t get up from hibernation. Meh. He probably would have tried to take all the credit for my discovery or gotten himself hurt anyway. So I prepared for my battle that was to come. Like the movie, I pretended to put war paint on my face and geared up with pillows. I was ready to go (and watched way too many films).
When I got downstairs, the figure was still near my fridge making gulping sounds. Yeesh. How much was he going to drink? What was he drinking? I snapped myself back into focus, there was no time for such silly thoughts (yet I was about to fight a zombie…).
“You can do this,” I pep-talked myself, fluffed my pillow, and roared in my best Al Pacino accent, “Zombie! Say hello to my little friend!”
I jumped from the stairs, attacking the zombie with my pillow over and over until it grabbed and lifted me high above my head. The zombie began to yell my name, “What are you doing awake?”
That’s a funny zombie accent, I thought for a moment. Then I realized that the voiced sounded familiar. The figure turned on the kitchen light, blinding me for a quick second, only to reveal none other than my uncle (let’s say) Bob (sorry, privacy purposes). He stood in front of me with an angry stare and once again asked why I was up.
I hesitated for a moment. “Wait, so you weren’t a zombie trying to eat our brains?”
He held back a chuckle before reprimanding my father for letting me watch a scary movie before bed again. Trying to make sense of everything, I asked him about the gulping. He said he was just tired.
After all that, I was a bit disappointed in the fact that I couldn’t have a pet zombie. My uncle returned to his room and sent me up the stairs. My veins were still running with adrenaline, so sleep was the last thing on my mind. That’s when I heard it. A loud screech coming from the bathroom. It could only mean one thing…a vampire. And I would make it my underling.
Kayla Santos Sabino is a Class of 2019 mentee alum from Queens, NY.