“When Sheets Attack! Part 4: Ridiculously Righteous Rage” {incomplete}

in honor of International Women’s Day, I present the incomplete Part 4 of “When Sheets Attack!” Read Parts 1-3 here.

I smiled as I climbed into bed. With all my troubles sleeping and dreaming whilst I slept, I’d instituted a new bedtime routine. As much as I chafe to wander freely and live life free of encumbrances, a routine serves as balm for my soul. If I travel too long without access to a kitchen, I get twitchy in the manner of runners kept from a treadmill.

Only a couple of days in, and if the routine wasn’t exactly helping yet, I thought it was, which is all that mattered. I washed my face, I made my chamomile tea, and I climbed into bed with it, planner and pen ready to jot some notes on the day at the ready.

“oh, god, that’s hot.”

Predictable, really. Hot tea, cold night, comfortable bed, and me. And spilled tea.

I leapt up, shouting. To add insult to my burns, I kicked the corner of the bed with my tender, exposed big toe. I cursed, while Pepper picked one eyeball out of the nest of blankets in his bed. He blinked, put head back under the covers, and returned to his rest.

I took a deep breath and set about stripping the bed. I barely bothered to leave on the one light as I grabbed a dry set of sheets. Luckily, I caught all the tea with myself and my pajamas. The bed remained dry. I changed and dumped the cold tea down the drain.

I bounced into bed after turning the light off. No reading for me tonight I thought as I landed. Before I could be launched back into the air, something grabbed and held on tight. I struggled, failing a bit.

“Hold still, you horrible creature,” the nefarious sheets growled all around me.

“Damn!” I could blame no one but myself: in my haste I returned the sentient sheets to my bed. “You better have a rational explanation for grabbing me.”

I thought of the dream. The voices were so similar, could the sheets be the stranger in the stone bedroom of my dream? What worked once might again.

“I do not consent,” I said firmly. Success! I scrambled free, taking the duvet with me. The sheets gently held on to my ankle.

“There is no need to chill yourself, demon sprite of my dreams.” His tone had not improved.

“No grabbing, then,” I responded. Not only is it simply unacceptable to grab a person when she doesn’t want to be grabbed, but I have a particular aversion to it.

As a child, Mum wasn’t big on the idea of spanking me. She was still strict. I knew from a young age that inappropriate behavior would be tolerated neither at home nor in public, but especially not in public. At home, some yelling and time spent on a chair in my parents’ bedroom kept me from the delightful distractions of my own space and left me thinking of my bad behavior.

Making a scene in public was never something Mother tolerated for herself, let alone me. Possibly, it led to my own reticence today. She was never the type of mother that yelled or screamed or repeated admonitions to her child. That didn’t mean that she refrained from discipline. It only meant covert activities.

I was a ticklish child, anywhere and everywhere. From my head to my neck, along my spine and legs, especially on my feet, and even in my upper arms, the wrong {or right} touch could send me into convulsions of wiggles and giggles. Unfortunately, I never grew out of it. It isn’t exactly acceptable or fun to collapse into a heap of wheezing giggles at thirty, but such is life.

Mother can still send me into convulsions, but mostly of the get away, get off me, no I’m not in trouble variety. She had the glare down, and if that did not work, would firmly grab hold of my upper arm and take me to a private place for my dressing down. Somehow, her fingers unerringly found the precise spots to dig in without hurting every single time. It may not have hurt, but those bony pianist fingers of hers pushed through the tickling to disciplinary action.

The sheets had no fingers, but damn if they didn’t have my ankle in precisely the wrong hold. I lacked the patience to talk things through, cold, tired, damp, and still angry. I growled in return.

“No grabbing, then,” I repeated. “No touching, no stroking, and stay off me.”

“Agreed, poppet.” He seemed to have calmed. The sheets oozed away, giving me space as I gathered the duvet into a nest against the footboard of the bed. I felt safe again.

In their slithering, the sheets languidly propped up against my pillows, slowly sliding into the shape of a man. I stared: crumples and folds formed into a forehead and eyebrows, sloped over shoulders, and twisted into the cords of muscular arms.

to be continued…


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