Uncle Pat, 6

James and Patricia didn’t talk the rest of the day, and James was fine with it. His sister had to learn to be wrong sometimes and to stop insulting him. James and Patricia have kept silent spells before. They fought one fine morning, and when Dad returned home, Patricia twisted the story in her favour. Dad was cross with James. “You don’t hit a girl, never!” he said. James couldn’t believe Patricia would lie in broad daylight, so he kept his distance. And though they went to school together, they didn’t talk to each other for months. He hoped this time it won’t take as long, but still he had to keep his distance. And so they went to bed on no-talking terms.

“James, wake up,” a feint voice spoke into his ears.

James could barely hear, for he was somewhere between life and peaceful death, a place called sleep.

“Wake up, James,” the sweet voice spoke again.

This time, James was beginning to grow some consciousness. He managed to open his eyes.

“Ahh!!” he screamed, but a hand held his mouth before for his voice travelled any distance.

“It’s me,” the now crooked voice said.

“P-P-P-Patricia?” James stuttered.

“Yesss,” it cackled.

The face before him was the face of nightmares. A ramshackle face James was sure had NEVER seen younger days. The hair an ominous white, so uniform, even the oldest of the old didn’t possess. The hideous creature hauled its face together with the wig away and lo and behold it was Patricia. She grinned from ear to ear.

“Not funny, Patricia. Not funny,” James uttered in vexation.

“Keep your voice low,” Patricia cautioned. “At least it worked with you. You should have seen your face, so terrified. That, my friend, is how our shameless Uncle must feel tonight.”

“Where did you even get– you know what, never mind.”

“Good. Now that we got all that sorted out, can we move to the next stage?”

James carried Patricia on his neck. She wore the latex mask and put on the white wig. They were ready for action. Patricia put her arms into the sleeves of the cloak and buttoned the top while James buttoned the bottom. Patricia put James through some movement training because he could barely see from inside the cloak. She nudged her legs to the side to signal side movements and clenched her legs to signal no motion. Soon after, they were good to go.

“Are you sure about this, Patricia? We could still turn back, you know,” James whispered, on getting to the door of the guest room where Uncle Pat slept.

“Quiet,” Patricia whispered back.

She held the handle, and with some torque they were in. The room was dark and it appeared Uncle Pat was sleeping just fine.

“What if he shouts?” James whispered from inside the cloak with as a tune as possible.

“Quiet,” Patricia said as she kicked him.

They went closer to the bed.

“Ouch!” James almost uttered audibly. He hit let against the bed and it hurt.

Patricia kicked him from inside, signalling him to behave.

James bent enough to give Patricia room to bend too and inspect Uncle Pat who was snoring in his sleep.

“Patrick,” she whispered in an unrecognisable way.

“Patrick,” she whispered again.

James almost peed his pants. He imagined all the horrible things that could happen to them if Uncle Pat wakes up and maybe turns on the light and catches them both in the childish act.

Uncle Pat turned on the second call of his name.

Patricia whispered his name a third time, and he made a discomforting sound.

“Wake up,” she whispered.

Uncle Pat made a sobbing sound, like he was in fear in his sleep.

Then Patricia nudged James to different corners of the room as she whispered his name.

“What do you want from me?” Uncle Pat responded sobbingly from his pillow.

James couldn’t believe it. It was like there was something he was missing. What he expected was that Uncle Pat put on the lights or something and figure them out. But for some reason, Patricia was speaking into his mind, so it seemed.

“I promised you, I won’t hit her again,” he continued, so much fright in his voice.

Patricia herself was confused. ‘Hit who?’ she thought. All she was aiming at was to scare the crap out of him. But now he confused her and she didn’t quite know her next words.

“And what will happen if you do?” Patricia played along.

Instantly Uncle Pat’s sobbing increased. Even with his eyes closed the fear he demonstrated was almost palpable. He pressed his face to the pillow and began reciting the Our Father amid other things Patricia or James couldn’t make out.

Patricia figured now was the right time to leave the room, and so they crept out.

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