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There Is A Monster In The Ceiling - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time, in a place called Ohio. There lived a 10 years old boy named Victor. He lived with only his Mum in their simple Ohio home.
   One night while he lay on his bed, seconds away from dozing off, he heard a sound in the ceiling. He decided to ignore it and think nothing of it, but he heard it again.
   All though the night he heard strange sounds in the ceiling. Sometimes it sounded like the whistling of a kettle of hot water on a stove, sometimes a mild tapping, sometimes a buzzing sound, sometimes a squeaky sound, and there were times he was sure he heard someone talking in the ceiling.
   Victor couldn’t sleep that night, he stayed awake all day wondering: “Whatever could it be?”
   Early the next morning, after his routine morning prayer session with his Mum,  he told his Mum about the mysterious sounds in the ceiling.
   His Mum brushed it off and told Victor it was nothing. She also him to get some sleep at night that it’s good for growing children, besides not sleeping at night when the school teacher was teaching. Victor’s Mum couldn’t have that. She couldn’t deal with a son who sleeps during classes.
   At school, Victor told his close friends about the sounds in the ceiling.
   One of his friends suggested it was an owl.
   “It can’t be an owl”, another friend countered, “Owls don’t live in people’s ceilings in Ohio.”
   “Don’t owls live in barns?” one of his friends asked.
   “It’s just mice”, another friend interrupted.
   “No!, it can’t be. What about the hissing sound or the tapping sound.”
“A Squirrel?”
   “theBuggie Man?”
   All of Victor’s friends fell silent and they looked at the last guy that spoke.
   Finally, after the shock died down Victor spoke. “Dude, the Buggie Man is not real.”
   “Then how do you account for all the talking you say you hear in the ceiling?”
   “DUDE!, THE BUGGIE MAN IS NOT REAL” Victor repeated but this time much louder so his friend could get it.
   “That’s what you said about Santa Claus but last Christmas I saw Santa inside the mall.”
   “It was some dude paid to look like Santa”, Victor explained.
   “That’s not true.”
   “Sometimes, I don’t know why we let you hang with us. You think like a little baby. Besides, if the Buggie Man was real according to the children stories, doesn’t he live under the bed and not in the ceiling?”, Victor asked rhetorically.
   “Maybe, he got tired of living under the bed and moved into the ceiling.”
   “BBRRGGGRR !!!”, the school bell rang. Recess was over and they had to get back to their classes.
   That night Victor waited to hear the sounds as he waited on his bed. Sure enough the sounds later started. They sounded exactly like they did the previous night.
   Victor got out of bed and ran quickly to his mother’s room. “Mummy! Mummy!!”, he shook his Mum as she lay on her bed. “Mummy, Mummy .... Mummy, wake up!”
   His Mum only moaned and grumbled and rolled over. After a few minutes, Victor discovered that’s the best he could make her do. But as far as making her wake up went that was just impossible.
   Victor decided to go back to his bedroom and try to get some sleep. He had to try to ignore the sounds.
   The next morning, after morning prayers, Victor complained to his Mum again about the sounds.
   His Mum didn’t believe there was anything to worry about. It’s probably just rats she told him. “Maybe next month or so I would call pest control, I think they should fumigate the house too,”Victor’s Mum said, looking around her like she was scanning possible places pests could be hiding inside the house.
   His Mum then explained that she would be travelling to Canada for the weekend. The company she works for would be sendingher and a few other business executives to a two day Business Summit in Canada.
   His Mum explained how it was important and unavoidable. She later introduced him to a baby sitter from an agency a friend of hers owned and ran him through all he needed to know for things to run as smoothly as it always does whenever she’s around.
   That night, Victor still heard those sounds. He picked up the phone and called his Mum, who was for away in Canada. To his surprise his Mum answered and sounded wide awake.
   Victor bugged his Mum over the issue until she agreed to look into it unfailing and as soon as possible when she returns home.
   “But promise me you won’t check it out yourself,” Victor’s Mum said over the phone.
   “I promise” Victor answered.
   “You promise”, Victor’s Mum asked again.
   “I promise”, Victor said assuringly.
   The next day, in the afternoon, Victor was with five of his friends in his bedroom. It wasn’t a school day and they were all chatting and enraptured in the friendly video game challenge they were having with Victor’s X-Box 360. The babysitter was in the house cleaning up a few things, when Victor and his friends heard the strange sound from the ceiling. Somehow they were able to hear it over the sound from the TV speakers. Victor had never heard that sound in the afternoon. He had only heard it at night, but now like the sound had a mind of its own, like it wanted his friends to hear it too.
   “It’s the Buggie Man”,  Victor’s Santa Claus believing and Buggie Man believing friend said.
   Everybody kept quiet.
   “We gotta check it out,” one friend said, breaking the silence.
   “No! way”, Victor answered.
   “What! You scared?”
   “NO!” Victor shouted like he found the possibility of him being scared repulsive. “It’s just, why borther?” He pointed to the paused video game. “Lets keep playing.”
   “Victor is scared – Victor is scared !!!”, a friend started singing.
   “Stop that”, Victor said as he tossed a pillow at him. “It just that ... just that I promised my Mum Ok!”
   “You promised your Mum?”, a different friend asked puzzled.
   “I promised my Mum I won’t check it out. I promised  to wait until she gets back.”
   “Dude, isn’t your Mum in a different country?”
   “If you are trying to tell me to break a promise I made to my Mum because she would never find out. Then you must be dreaming. You’re not being a good friend right now”, Victor said.
   “Hey,  it’s not like I’m being a bad friend beside doesn’t your Mum like me and isn’t she friends with my parents. If your Mum taught I was a bad friend she would have stopped you from hanging with me a long time ago and you know it. I’m only asking that you seize this opportunity to find out what it is. What if when you and your Mum are ready to look into it, it isn’t there at that moment?”
   “It’s always there in the night”, Victor answered.
   “Are you saying you are 100% certain it would be there every night?”, Victor’s friend asked.
   “No”, Victor answered.
   “Point made.”
   “Nonsense”, Victor barked. “I’m not breaking a promise I made to my Mum.”
   Victor was a good Christian boy he has always listened to and believed the awesome sermons his nice Sunday school teacher had preached every Sunday at children’s church. As a matter of fact, all the friends that were in his room right now fussing over noises in ceilings and video games were in the same Sunday school class that he was in. Didn’t they get that as Christians they were not supposed to break these promises. In Christianity words are very important. According to the bible, God spoke creation into existence.  He said let there be this; and it appeared. He said let there be that; and it appeared. Everything that we can see with our physical eyes we created by words – words from the mouth of God.
   The only thing that God made that wasn’t spoken into existence is human beings. God did not speak Adam or Eve into existence. He formed Adam’s body from the sand with his hands. Then breathed man’s spirit into man’s body from his nostrils – from God’s breath. It was when that spirit entered into man that life entered into man’s moulded from sand body. The spirit of a man is the life of a man, that is why death is about the spirit leaving the human body. If doctors and nurses could catch the human spirit and put it in a test tube then nobody would every die because they would love succeeded in putting human life into a test tube. Doctors can improve the condition of the human body to make it more conducive for the human spirit but they cannot touch the human spirit – the thing that makes a human being still be alive.
   There have been millions of people who doctors found nothing wrong with get they still died. There was nothing wrong with their body yet the still died. Doctors can’t explain it so the called it “DYING A NATURAL DEATH.”
   The truth is the person’s spirit left the person’s body, and it’s as simple as that.
   Victor’s friends should have known this, Victor thought. They had been in the same Sunday school class with him, the day this was taught.
   They should have known that words are very sacred to Christians. We don’t play with words and we don’t break promises.
      Victor sat back down in front of the television, and the video game playing continued. Unfortunately the noise in the ceiling continued too and it was quite distracting.
   They all tried to sit quietly, ignoring the sounds from the ceiling. The tension of Victor’s friends trying hard to concentrate on the video game and not make any comment that has any word or pharse that relates to “noise” and “ceiling”, make the atmosphere in the room more awkward.
   This carried on for 35 minutes, the noise just wouldn’t stop.
   “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE”, one of Victor’s friends screamed as he stood up, breaking the awkwardness. “What if  it’s a monster?” What if it’s something dangerous? We are risking our lives by staying here.” Then he pointed to Victor “... And you. How can you sleep every night under a ceiling with a mysterious sound coming from it? It could be tons of things up there in that ceiling. What if it’s a family of giant rats which now lives in your ceiling and one day while you are asleep, they crawl down to your bed and bite off your toes, huh? What would you do then?
Victor sat quietly for a while then stood up. He had to find out what was in that ceiling.
   First he needed to get the baby sitter out of the house. She was a nice baby sitter with a good heart. He begged her to buy him some chocolate from the store. When she left, he now had the opportunity the wanted.
   With the help of his friends and a ladder from the basement, he got into the ceiling. As he put on the touch light, he was staring into the face of cobra. The good news is that he finally figured out what was making all that noise. The bad news is that he was about to get bitten.
   Victor spent the rest of the day in a hospital being treated for the snake bite.
   Victor learnt one very important lesson the scar that would be left on his body would never let him forget : NEVER BREAK A PROMISE.


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