|Subject Zero: The Rocking Chair. This is not its original location, but was moved to this location 12 years ago. Evidence of haunting DOES remain for any skilled Energy Worker to detect, but actual haunting entity appears to be long gone.|
The boy is 9 years old. The boy continues to put together his defenses. He hides under his covers, as they are his shields. They will protect from outside threats so long as he hides under them. The Rocking Chair has no skill at gaining elevation, so he should be safe at the highest reaches of the top bunk. The Stuffed Animal Armed Volunteers are stationed at all entry points and exits, their eyes pointing outward to face incoming threats.Sgt. Leaky Horn (the blue rhino whose slightly cut horn leaked stuffing) reports no changes from his position.
The Nightmares are getting more elaborate. The boy refuses to turn out the lights of his room from any point that places The Rocking Chair between himself and the bed now. One recent nightmare has his father placing him on the top bunk, leaving him in a position where he can see the outside window being opened by a two-fingered claw. The Boy spins around, trying to leap onto his Father's back and escape, or at least turn on the lights, only to find himself being pulled away rapidly into the maw of whatever beast was entering through the window. He comes up with elaborate strategies using K-nex and Lego pieces to turn out the lights at long distances, but they are flawed. The boy does not understand the concepts of basic engineering, and cannot create a piece long enough and strong enough to do the job. He uses his dresser to maintain elevation and position at the level of the top bunk while turning out the lights, but it is a complex and terrifying game of chance. One of these days, he might fall.
The boy has other problems now. It feels like parts of his house are not behaving as they should. Space is not constant, and it feels like something hunts him. He no longer plays with his toys in his room, as it feels like The Rocking Chair is affecting his perceptions in daylight now. Strange visions are touching him, and there are moments of lost time. It will lead to an obsession with memory when he is older. The Boy will decide that forgetting anything is the enemy, as anything could have meaning in this strange world. The Third Floor is safe. It is where the TV is, where the Videogames are, where most of the Boy's larger toys are along with his Sister's. His Sister is lucky, she does not notice any of these things, or have any of these problems. When he arrives home every day, his first action is to run up two floors of steps as fast as humanly possible to avoid the hunt he feels is after him. The only constant here is the fear in his heart and gut. Yet he never questions it.. He never says "why do others never feel the fear that I do?" He never says, "Why is it that no one else I know is afraid of their home?" There is a blind acceptance from his youth that he will not understand when he is older. He will choose to blame it on Saturday Morning Cartoons, which show people of his young age encountering secret worlds, gaining friends, and fighting evil. The boy always looked at the world differently, and could be horrendous at dealing with people on a personal level. Perhaps subconsciously, he thought he would find friends and figure out how to fight the evil in time. Perhaps he spent too much time remembering the dream where he helped rescue the dark-haired girl. The man the boy will become is disgusted with his young self, feeling better referring to his old self as "The Boy" in third person, as he knows he is no longer this young and stupid fool.
The Night of the Sundering is here. The Stuffed Animal Armed Volunteers stare outward, looking for any potential threats. The boy stays beneath the covers, hoping for the best. He hears his mother and father arguing on the first floor in the kitchen as they wash dishes. He will not remember what they are arguing about, but it is loud and angry. He thinks he hears a creak on the wooden steps leading up the stairs by his room. He ignores it. He hears more steps across the wood, and more arguing downstairs. He is humming the theme to Sonic the Hedgehog, knowing damn well that no creature could withstand the power of Sonic. The steps touch down on the carpet in his room, and that is when he knows something is wrong.
A hand rips aside the sheets, and he is faced by the beast. A massive creature is staring into him, a spiked and thorny creation whose gnarled, armored appearance is like the visage of hell itself. The color of hell is not black, the thing is a dark gray, and its roar drowns out the arguing parents below as it stares into the boy. The boy cannot think, cannot move, all he knows is terror. The Stuffed Animal Armed Volunteers are gone, and lightning fills the air around the boy and the beast. A wave of blackness overcomes the Boy, and he feels nothing for a time.
And then he is at home, and his family is pulling him over to a couch to watch some kind of TV special. On the TV, by a peaceful pond, a swan comes out of an odd contraption. The contraption is a combination of an old television, a trash can, a refrigerator, and a drum set, which seems to transform when it opens, and transform into something that could not hold the swan when it closes.
The swan explains to the family that that device is its home now. It wasn't always its home though, something had it before. Something dark indeed.
The camera pans in on the device, and suddenly the Boy finds himself alone and faced by this terrible contraption as it opens within a dark alleyway. It is raining. He can see the brickwork around him fade as the beast arises, and his mind can't handle it. To say he loses himself is an understatement. The sheer force behind the sheer weight of the beast's existence renders him numb with terror. To this day, he cannot say what he saw as there are no words to describe it. He remembers the hunger of the beast. He remembers running. He remembers The Rocking Chair. He remembers the sheer weight of the powers arrayed against his mind. He keeps running.
And he is awake. The beast is gone, but The Rocking Chair is still here. In fact, its silhouette is staring at him above the bunk bed through the comforter somhow. The silhouette is different however. For future reference, and to make what you are reading easier to visualize, a photograph has been provided at the top of the entry of The Rocking Chair in its current location. The key difference is that when The Boy saw it then above the bed, the top of it's left and right side had horns sprouting out, giving it a more demonic visage and presence. The Boy did not need to see it like that to be terrified. Its gaze had him frozen in place.
The Boy decides that he has to turn away from it. He has to break eye contact with whatever this is. Slowly, he rolls over to his left toward the wall, away from where the Rocking Chair's physical location is. He cannot turn quickly, as he does not wish to anger or startle The Rocking Chair, or worse, accidentally cast aside the blankets and the defense they provide. The boy is sweating out of sheer terror, and it makes every moment of this slow turn uncomfortable. He cannot wipe the sweat away, as he needs both arms to keep the blankets in place as he turns. He wants his parents to come running, an escape route, something, anything. The Stuffed Animal Armed Volunteers are scattered around the bed, unable to provide reinforcements. The Santa Dog is present underneath the blankets, but has no alternatives to the current plan. It is around then that the Boy realizes something: of course they wouldn't be able to help. They were a bunch of stuffed animals. What the hell was he thinking?
Eventually, he manages to turn away from The Rocking Chair, getting into a position on his belly. He wants to call for his parents across the hall. He is too afraid. He stays in this position for what feels like hours before drifting off to sleep at some point. There is no indication of when.
His eyes open, and he is on the floor in front of the Rocking Chair. He has his blankets still, and he immediately hides himself in them. He sees his father come into the room, and he is overjoyed.
He says, "Dad! I made it! I survived the night!"
But his father is furious. His father starts to pick him up slowly, and he immediately retreats into the covers.
His father screams, "You're not supposed to talk to anyone about that! Do you think this is over??"
The boy is terrified, but he is under the covers. He is safe for now.
Later, he wakes up in the real world. He knows this as there is sunlight out, and he is on the top bunk of his bunk bed, and he sees The Rocking Chair in its usual place on the ground. He glares at it, pulling his blankets around him. He is still terrified. It was just a dream. It was all just a dream. So why had the Rocking Chair's position facing the door changed overnight to a position facing The Boy directly?
For the next 12 years, even after everything changes, the Boy will refuse to sleep in any position other than face-down on the mattress, with his head tilted toward the wall away from where The Rocking Chair might be.