“Now you listen to Isabella, okay sweetie?”
“Okay mommy, don’t worry, I’ll be a good boy.” Tayler nodded his head enthusiastically looking closer to a 4 year old than his actual 7 years.
“Here is the number for the restaurant call if you need anything. And no snacks for Tayler, he has already had his dinner.”
“It will be fine Ms. March. I’ve been doing this since I was 12. You go and have a good time.”
Shawna March chewed her bottom lip nervously and then nodded her head. She hadn’t been on a date since her husband disappeared two years earlier. She thought a bit more before glancing at her watch.
“Okay, I will be home no later than 10:00.” She grabbed her purse off of the bar and gave Tayler a kiss on the forehead. She left through the kitchen entrance and paused to lock the door. A few seconds later and Isabella heard the double beeps of a car alarm being disabled and shortly after that Ms. March’s BMW starting up and pulling out of the drive way.
“So, Tayler, looks like it is just you and me. What do you want to do?”
“Your mom said no snacks. Let’s go watch TV.”
Isabella put her hands on Tayler’s shoulders and led him into the living room.
They sat down on the couch and flicked through the channels before stopping on some sitcom about 4 guys living with a girl in some city.
“My daddy didn’t run away you know?”
Isabella looked at Tayler. “What do you mean?”
“The monster in our sink got him. Mom says we have to keep feeding him or he will get us next. She usually throws some stuff down there when she is making dinner. She didn’t tonight. I think the monster is probably hungry like I am. We should probably give him a snack. Me too.” He smiled at her when he said this.
Isabella smiled back at him. “Very clever. Well, I guess we could give you a snack if it would help keep this monster at bay.” She ruffled his hair. “Just don’t tell your mom and promise me that you will go to bed when it is time without causing any problems.”
“Okay, I promise. But we need to feed the monster too.”
“You already got your snack, don’t push it.” She went into the kitchen and found a bag of instant popcorn in the pantry. She put it the microwave and hit the popcorn button. She leaned against the kitchen island and waited listened for the popcorn. She never really put her faith in those automatic timers – you had to listen and stop it at just the right time or else there would be burned kernels. The popping began and she watched through the window as the bag expanded.
She heard a strange rattle that drew her attention toward the sink. Her body tensed up and it took her a second to notice. It was just the pipes juddering, she was sure of it. Tayler had probably just gone into the bathroom and when he turned on the hot water to wash his hands the pipes shook. His story of a monster in the sink was ridiculous. She noticed the popping slowing down and stopped the microwave.
She pulled the bag out of the microwave oven and sort of juggled it between her hands before dropping it on the prep island. She opened a couple of cabinets before she found a big enough bowl to catch all of the popcorn and then dumped it in. She shook out some salt over the top and gave it a quick toss before heading back into the living room.
Tayler was sitting on the couch waiting for her. He smiled when he saw the bowl of popcorn.
“You fed the monster, right?”
“I am about to feed the Tayler monster right now!” She dropped down on the couch next to him. They crunched through the popcorn over another mindless sitcom. Isabella licked her finger and swirled it around the nearly empty bowl knocking aside the unpopped kernels and sticking the salt to her finger. She popped it into her mouth and savored that last bit of popcorn-flavored salt.
“Alright buddy you head up and brush your teeth and put on your pjs. I’ll be up in a minute to tuck you in. I’m just going to wash this bowl right quick.”
“Oh no! We forgot to save some for the sink monster!” Tayler’s eyes glistened. “Please please make sure and take something out of the refrigerator for him!”
“Tayler, that’s enough of that. I am not giving you anything else to eat. You just go get ready for bed.”
He looked at her for a second and then ran up the stairs. She heard him slam the door to his room. She sighed and picked up a couple of kernels that had fallen on the couch and tossed them into the bowl. She walked into the kitchen and dumped the bowl out into the trash and walked over to the sink and turned the water to warm it up.
She grabbed the sponge from the edge of the sink and squirted some dish soap on it. As she was scrubbing she heard the pipes judder again. It was so loud standing next to the sink that she dropped the sponge. It landed next to the garbage disposal which had a shiny perforated cover over it. Isabella smiled when she realized that was probably the monster. Ms. March would probably peel vegetables and toss the peels in to the “monster” and when she turned it on it would certainly growl like one. Satisfied she had solved the mystery she reached into the sink to pick up the sponge and finish the bowl.
Just as her fingers touched the sponge a pencil thin slimy black tentacle exploded from the drain, knocking the cover completely out of the sink to clatter across the floor. It wrapped tightly around her wrist and she tried to pull back but was unable to budge it. She opened her mouth to scream and a second and then a third tentacle blasted out one filled her mouth with a rancid taste that made her gag instantly. The other shot into her nose and began working its way down out of her mouth and began to pull her head toward the drain. She put her foot against the cabinet and pulled as hard as she could but she was unable to slow her decent. More tentacles came out and wrapped around her head pulling her faster and faster.
She tried to scream but the tentacle worming its way down her throat prevented her vocal chords from working right. The best she could manage was a small choking gag. As he head drew closer to the drain she saw a viciously sharp beak snapping with anticipation. Her head hit the bottom of the stainless steel sink with such force that it broke bones in both her cheek and the orbital cavity.
Mercifully, she lost consciousness before the beak began to rip and tear at her face.
At 9:55 the kitchen door swung open and Shawna March walked in with a small smile on her face. The first thing she noticed was that the water to the sink was running and though there was an empty bowl in there the room was empty. She walked over and turned off the water. She looked around curiously for Isabella before heading upstairs. Tayler was in his bed with the blanket pulled over his face and the light on.
“Tayler?” She whispered softly. He shifted but didn’t wake up. She turned the light off and closed the door. She was unhappy because she had thought that Isabella was more responsible that that. After a quick search of the house she at least comforted herself with the fact Isabella had locked all the doors before leaving though why she left the sink running was a mystery.