One day they would have to ring the bell. It was inevitable. With the increasing attacks from the cave crawlers, it was only a matter of time before barbed and electric wire was breached and the town would be overcome. So there Peter stood in the hopes of saving at least a few of the townsfolk, ready to ring the bell.
A light voice made him turn. “You know they won’t come in the daytime. You can relax, silly.”
“Hold me, Ellis.” Jeremy’s voice is strange. It is strained, compressed. We are already close in our hiding place, already touching, but he is turned away from me and my arms are folded across my chest, under my chin, in the curve of his back. He moves suddenly, stiffly, turning on his side. I don’t give him room and his motion is difficult.
If I were forced to give up one sense for super-acuity in another, which would I choose for advancement and which—dear God, which—would I sign away as a handicap, dead to me and gone?
“A gift, you say?” I said. “This is not a gift—it is a punishment!”
The devil tapped his foot with some impatience.
“Call it a cost,” said he. “You’ve got here thanks to your books and thinking, into a dimension well out of your space and time; and now you have got to get out. Be happy you leave with your life. But no trip to Hell is made without a lasting impression. Now what will it be? Blindness in exchange for the sensory apparatus of a bat? Taste for the nose of a bloodhound?”
We confess. We are poor students and it’s mostly Wallie’s fault. A few summers ago when I was studying for that hideous demon of all tests, that HORROR of my existence, my little Impish friend had the best ideas for making study fun. To bolster our vocabulary, instead of reading we wrote a series of short scenes using words from our GRE study list. We drew pictures to visualize the–vocabulary.
To be fair, it was not the Verbal we failed.
One of our favorite fictions from this time of sweat and tears, frequently reread, involves two characters from the show and film “Dark Shadows.” How and why is little David forced to hide in Barnabas’s coffin-room? Good question. There are other questions, too. The answers I leave to your imagination.