Quickly Dream Away the Time
By Jeff Baker
The hospital was dark and quiet except for the occasional muffled voice over the intercom. And Eddie knew the nurse’s station and the area downstairs were lit bright as day. He rolled over in the hospital bed; he wasn’t sleepy.
He heard a noise. The door opening slowly. He knew it wasn’t one of the nurses; they usually opened the door and blew in like a confident wind.
“Pssst!” came the small voice. “Eddie, you up? It’s me, Zach.”
Zach was ten; he was in the room across the hall. Eddie was eleven.
“Yeah,” Eddie said.
“Can I stay in here with you?” Zach asked.
Zach climbed onto the foot of the bed. They were both lucky to have rooms to themselves. Eddie’s roommate had gone home the day Eddie had checked into the hospital.
“What you doing?” Zach asked.
“Trying to sleep,” Eddie said.
“I can’t sleep,” Zach said. “That thing could get me.”
“That thing in that movie. That IT.” Zach said.
“That thing’s not real,” Eddie said.
“Yeah it is!” Zach insisted.
Eddie glanced over at his watch on the table.
“Yeah,” Eddie said. “But that’s not the real IT.” He grabbed the TV remote. “Watch this.”
The TV clicked on. Eddie switched it to an old black-and-white show with tinny music in the background.
“There,” Eddie said, pointing at the screen. “That’s the real ITT. He’s not scary.”
On the screen, a medium sized lump of blond hair in a derby and dark glasses twirled a cane like Charlie Chaplin. Zach laughed.
The two of them sat in the flickering gray light and laughed away the next half-hour.
—for Felix Silla