Up a Level
Getting Some Room

Sheryl's fingers jammed the power button on the remote before tossing it on the couch. With a disgusted sigh, she looked over at her older sister cowering in the corner of the padded pillows, a makeshift fort built from cushions, a blanket, and one very annoyed-looking cat.

She spoke with a voice that brimmed with annoyance.

“It's over.”

Mary peeked up around the tabby, “R-Really? What happened?”

For the third time that night, she wondered how Mary could be five years older than her and still terrified of horror movies. One would think having a scholarship in science would make you immune to believing in monsters.

“What do you think?” she said as she stood up and smoothed out her robe, “Kramer popped out of the blond's chest, tore out the boyfriend's throat, and then stared to chew on that black-haired-”

Mary screamed, diving back under the pillowed, “You don't have to tell me that!”

The cat took the opportunity to run as fast as it can, disappearing under the coffee table in a flash. Mary clutched for him, but the cat just glared back. Whimpering, she looked up to her disapproving sister.

“What?”

Sheryl rolled her eyes, “I suppose you'd like to sleep in my room again?”

Mary grinned, “Please? I won't be a bother.”

“Whatever. Otherwise, I'm going to just hear you whimpering all night.”

For the briefest moment, Mary's eyes darkened, but she gingerly set aside the cushions and sat up. Sheryl waited impatiently, tapping her foot.

“Come on, I don't have time for a crybaby and I want to go to bed. Its three in the morning.”

“Hold on!”

Mary peeked over the couch at the floor before setting down one foot. Sheryl stared for a moment before her sister looked up sheepishly.

“Making sure no monsters.”

Sheryl sighed dramatically.

“Oh, give me a break.”

Without waiting for her older sister, she stormed up the stairs. Mary called out for her.

“Wait!”

“Hurry up, wimp!”

By the time Mary slipped into the cool sheets of Sheryl's bed, Sheryl was pointedly ignoring her.

Staring at the dark wall, she felt her sister settle into place. Between the blankets and pillowed, she balanced on the edge of her bed, barely comfortable.

Mary spoke softly, “Thank you.”

“Just be quiet. I want to go treating tomorrow and I don't want you complaining about it. This the last year I get to do this and I want to enjoy all six hours.”

When Mary didn't respond, Sheryl settled down to sleep. She managed to start that wonderful slide into unconscious when her sister spoke up.

“Sher?”

“What?” snapped the younger girl, coming to full wakefulness in a heartbeat.

“Are you sure there aren't any monsters in here?”

“It's just a damn movie.”

“Ten actually. We've been watching-”

“Fine, it was just ten bloody movies. I mean, you act like a scared little girl all the damn time! Get a backbone and go to sleep.”

Grumbling, she settled back into place, breathing in the smells of the carpet freshener that filled her room. Blinking, she stared at the wall of her room and tried not to think about the frightened girl next to her.

“That wasn't very nice,” whimpered her sister.

“You aren't very brave and you are crowding me.”

“Sorry.”

“Whatever, you sleep in your own bed tomorrow.”

“What if I get scared?”

“Then maybe the monsters will eat you.”

She felt her sister tensing up, but didn't care anymore.

“You wouldn't say that if someone killed me tonight.”

Sheryl jammed her elbow back into Mary's side.

“No, I'd thank them for giving me enough room to roll over.”

She felt her sister turning her back on her and briefly felt bad about it. But, after a few moments of even thinking about apologizing, she let herself drift into the darkness.

October 31st came with a beautiful, crisp morning. Sheryl looked up at the sunlight streaming in her room and focused on the white suit she picked out for her costume. It was perfect, absolutely perfect, a great way to end her child-like years. Slipping from the blankets carefully not to wake up her sister, she stood in front of it.

White jacket, skirt, and top-hat. It balanced right on the edge of creepy, but it would contrast nicely with the bloody knife and gloves she planned on wearing. She chuckled to herself and picked up the rubber knife. Hefting it, she grinned.

“It's going to be perfect.”

A strange sensation teased her fingers and she looked down at a red smear on her fingers. For a moment, she rubbed it in her fingertips, then looked at the knife. Instead of the painted blood, something oozed down the length of the blade. A droplet, as crimson as any horror movie effect, formed at the tip of the blade and splashed down on the carpet.

Sheryl stared at it, then her eyes widened as she saw a stain of red spreading across the floor. Her heart beat against her chest as she turned slowly, following the red as it dripped from the other side of the bed.

“M-Mary?”

Padding forward, she felt sweat dripping from her brow. The knife tumbled to the ground as she came around her bed. She saw crimson dripping from under the blankets, staining the carpet. With a shaking hand, she reached out and grabbed the blanket. Her mind furiously spun with what lied beneath the blankets. Taking a deep breath, she yanked the blanket off.

And then she screamed.

Instead of her sister, she only saw a deep puddle of blood where her sister slept. And two stained bunny slippers right at the bottom. Sheryl couldn't tear her eyes away from it, shaking with the thoughts of some murderer in the house. And the realization that she wasn't there when Mary needed her. Sobs tore from her throat as she staggered back.

“Mary!”

Her voice echoed shrilly in her room and she felt the world spinning around her. Gasping, she stumbled back and collapsed on the ground, sobbing without realizing it.

“Mary!”

“What?” came her sister's curious voice from the doorway. Sheryl's heart pounding painfully against her chest to look up at her sister, who stood in the door brushing her teeth.

With a smirk on her lips.

Sheryl's gasped, then looked at the bed, then back at her sister. Everything felt horribly wrong, a tearing of her thoughts as she looked at her sister.

“W-What?”

Mary grinned, “I guess you didn't appreciate the room.”

“Huh?”

“Having all the room in the bed. I didn't hear you thanking anyone.”

A whimper ripped from her, “I-I don't understand.”

Her older sister popped the toothbrush from her mouth.

“I might be terrified of horror movies, but I'm still a chemistry major, idiot. Come on, I have to clean the sheets before we go out tonight.”

Sheryl could only stare at her smirking sister until Mary went back to the bathroom. Then, a flush of rage rose up as she stood up.

“You, bitch!”

And her sister only laughed.