The Bedbug

Photo by Rhema Kallianpur on Unsplash

I shouldn’t have bought this.

I shouldn’t have bought this queen-sized four-poster bed.

I was just a single person. I had no use of this vast space for sleeping. But I simply couldn’t control myself when I saw that they were selling it at such a low price.

It definitely seemed strange. I’m not a child to not realize something was definitely fishy. It was a huge box bed. There were cupboards on both sides to keep your things inside. The wood panels were thick and strong. It seemed like many trees have been sacrificed in the process of making this bed. However, what intrigued me the most, were the intricately carved wood panels. The subtle yet stunning art was too stark to be ignored. I was a man of art, and I knew the quality just by a glance. This piece of furniture could entirely change the appearance of my monotonous apartment.

Still, the cheap price bothered me. For such an artistic piece, having such a low price meant basically giving it away for free. But then a closer look revealed the secret to me. The polish upon its body was still new. Its stench hit my nose hard. They had almost plastered it with polish. A closer inspection let me find out the flaws which had been attempted best to hide.

There were scratches, minor blemishes, and dents. It was definitely not a newly made work of art. I should have suspected so when I first noticed this bed at this gloomy shop of a dingy downtown neighborhood. But surely it was an antique piece. And the memoirs upon its body clearly indicated that it had gone through the hands of numerous masters previously.

Still, the price was too low. I wondered if the shopkeeper knew about the antique value of it. Perhaps he was trying to get rid of it because he thought that it was a used item. Without much ado, I bought it. The work of art was really my prime reason behind buying it. But it also seemed like a good investment. I was positive that I would get a hefty sum of money if I would take it to some antique shop.

The piece of furniture was delivered to my small apartment the next day. I realized it kind of over-decorated my small lifeless apartment. Sleeping on such a big bed felt a little awkward at first. I wasn’t used to it, but having so much space just to myself felt good. I could roll over freely in sleep without having to worry about crashing on the floor. For the first few days, I didn’t have any problem sleeping on it. Rather I slept like a log. It felt like the bed was inducing sleep into me.

But the problem started on the fifth day.

It was around 2 AM when I woke up. That was very unusual for me. I never wake up in the night.

But there was this mild noise coming from inside the bed like a bug was digging through it. It annoyed and worried me. Was it one of those wood-boring insects? I should have realized that something was wrong when they sold it to me at such a low price. I shouldn’t have bought an insect-infested bed. The thought of an insect boring through my new furniture bothered me. But then I rolled over and fell asleep.

The next morning I had entirely forgotten about this event. And for the next few days, there were no more disturbances. So this incident entirely slipped out of my mind. But then again, after quite a few nights, it happened again. The next morning, the first thing I did was to open the bed’s cupboards and look inside with a flashlight. The inside of the bed was empty. I hadn’t put anything inside. A strong odor of paint hit me, which made me realize that the interior was painted recently, most likely by the shopkeeper. Strangely, I couldn’t find any powdery substance usually left behind by bore beetles. Instead, I noticed something strange.

There were few straight carvings on the roof of the cupboard, not fine lines, but rather like rough markings. They were done after it has been painted. The ugly scratches gleamed naked, standing apart from the paint. I wondered what kind of bugs could have had that type of digging marks. Or perhaps, it was mischievously done by someone at the shop. I thought of enquiring about it later from the shopkeeper. But then again I got busy with my work and forgot everything as usual.

I think it was a month later. I was sleeping comfortably on my bed when the sound woke me up. As I checked my watch, I found that it was almost 3 AM. From inside, the box was coming the usual sound about which I had forgotten about in the past month. It was the sound of very toiled and slow scratching. Like the bug was having a great deal to bore through the quality wood. But as I listened closely, I found an alien sound was there too. Holding my breath, I pressed my ears to the bed, so I could hear what that was.

It was a very soft whispering sound, almost inaudible by human ears if you don’t listen closely.

“Please let me out…” someone was weeping from inside of my bed.

  • Deep lives in the suburbs of Kolkata, India. He has done Post Graduation from the University of Kolkata. He pens novellas, short stories and poetry. His creative interest lies in crafting horror, paranormal and fantasy. He has published a few books and co-authored in various anthologies. His poetic endeavor is an attempt to bridge surreal with symbolism.

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