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Screaming Without a Sound

This story is the one that gave me nightmares most of my young life. As time has passed by the memories of that night doesn't doesn't fade. But that petrifying feeling of that day has. Thank God.

We lived on Van Siclen Ave but my father had a store at the corner of Cleveland Street and Sutter Ave in Brownsville NY, just a few blocks from our main apartment. In the back of the store, my dad built two rooms so that if he stood late at the store we could all stay over.

One night we did and it was the scariest time in my life. My two sisters slept with my grandmother in a room that had a door separating us from where my parents and I slept. I had a cot against the wall, just behind the store and my parents slept in a big bed across from me.

On this particular night, I was woken by a sound I had heard before in real life. My dad used to kill chickens so we could eat fresh poultry but in an inhumane way. My father didn't know that it was against the law and God's law to choke or strangle animals. I guess he grew up thinking that the only way to kill these chickens was by grabbing them by the neck and twisting the chickens around like a helicopter blade. He would spin it till the chicken's neck broke and he would fling them to the ground where the chicken would jump around in agony till it died. This act terrified me and I would cover my eyes and look away whenever he did this. The sound of it jumping around was too much for me to bear.

Anyway on this particular night, I was awakened when I heard the same noise above my head, coming from the floor right above me. It was coming from the vacant apartment above the store. The noise went across the upstairs room from my feet toward my head. I heard it move to another room upstairs just above where my grandmother and sister's room was. I was petrified! I heard it moving toward the radiator and then turning downward through the hole that the long steam pipe connected the bottom radiator to. I couldn't help but listen as it crashed against the metal steam pipe creating a banging metallic sound. I heard it coming down the pipe and then onto the floor making that struggling-to-breath chicken sound. It was going across my grandmother's room rapidly. I heard it clear as day as it got closer to the shut door that separated our room from theirs.

Once the noise got there, it went threw the door, and jumping like crazy it went close to my cot. I opened my mouth to scream but nothing came out. Just like in Bud Abbott and Lou Castillo when they meet Frankenstein. A movie where Lou was trying to speak when he saw the monster but nothing came out.

The dying chicken as I called the noise I heard that night went by my cot and turned into the dark store, you could hear glass breaking, and whatever it was kept bumping hard into shelves knocking down bottles, cans, and boxes. I finally let out a small yelp and my mother heard me. I heard her call my name in a panicky voice, "Noel!!! You hear that?"

That made things worse, now I knew I wasn't asleep and it wasn't a nightmare, it was real. I sprung like Spider-Man across the 10 feet or so floor that separated my cot from my parent's bed and I landed between my parents. It startled my father awake and my mom told him that there was somebody in the store breaking stuff. My dad got up as I clung to my mom petrified.

My dad put on the lights and everything was fine, he came back and told my mom so and she said that we both had heard it. He assured her everything was fine. He could see how frightened I was and told me to sleep with my mom and that he would sleep in the cot.

In the morning my dad said we were never going to sleep there again. My mother asked him if he believed what we had heard that night and he said yes, my mother asked him why he changed of heart and he told her that later that night something got on top of him and he could not budge. He said whatever it was had a stronghold of his arms and legs. Now my father's a very strong man but he said he was parallelized. I figure he could not move because of the creature's strength and also the fear of whatever it was made him incapable of moving. A fear that only hours earlier I had gone through.

Now we never returned to those rooms in the back of the store and my dad sold the store right after that encounter.

So we again returned to our Van Sicklen Street apartment. And like I said that apartment was no bargain either, but for some reason, it wasn't the store.

My father confessed and told us that it wasn't the first time he had gone through what he went through in the store that night. It also happened when he was a teen in P.R. on a night he had seen dancing lights coming from a close distance on his family's farm. And it wasn't neighbor since the closest was miles away. And it wasn't street lights since there weren't any streets and in those days in the 1930's Pastilles P.R. had no lights.

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