MAY I COME IN?
By Melissa L. Webb
Tom followed his grandfather into the garage and watched as he placed the box of tools back on the shelf. Something was puzzling Tom. “Grandpa, why do you always knock three times on a closed door before you open it?”
His grandfather glanced over his shoulder at Tom. “I do it to announce myself, Tommy.”
Tom frowned as he watched his grandfather finish up in the garage. “But, Grandpa, we’re the only ones home. Why would you need to let an empty room know you’re coming in?” he asked as he followed his granddad back into the house.
His grandfather turned and looked at Tom. “You wouldn’t want to run into something that may be lurking in an empty room, now would you?”
Tom stared at his granddad, dumbfounded.
His grandfather shrugged. “This way it gives it a chance to clear out before you go in.” He shivered slightly. “Who knows what would happen if you were to see it.”
Tom folded his arms over his chest. “Are we talking about the Bogeyman, Grandpa?”
His grandfather shrugged. “I don’t know what it is. I never asked.”
Tom sighed. “Grandpa, I’m eleven years old. I don’t believe in bogeymen and monsters anymore.”
His grandfather nodded. “Good. Then you don’t have to worry about it,” he said as he started walking again.
“Wait,” Tom called as he hurried after him. “What do you mean?”
“As long as you believe there’s nothing behind a closed door, there won’t be.”
“Do you believe, Grandpa?”
His grandfather stepped into the kitchen and grabbed a mug from the cabinet. “Yes. I have every since I was little. My mother taught me to knock on the door first.”
Tom smiled slightly. “Great-grandmother taught you? You know she was just humoring you, right?”
His grandfather shook his head as he poured coffee into the mug. “No, she was very serious. Mother said it would keep me safe.”
Tom snickered slightly. “Come on, Grandpa. You know you’re just trying to tease me.”
His grandfather looked sadly over at Tom as he took a sip from the mug. “I wish I was, Tommy. I wish I was,” he sighed as he walked over to the kitchen table and sat down. “Now, why don’t you go find something else to do and let me drink my coffee in peace?”
Tom looked at his grandfather for a second and then shrugged. “Okay, Grandpa,” he said and turned around. “But I still don’t believe a word of what you just said.”
“Then you have nothing to worry about,” his grandfather called as Tom headed out of the kitchen.
Tom shook his head as he made his way for the room he used when he stayed with his grandparents. Yeah, like he would fall for that. What was he, six?
He stopped before the closed bedroom door and grabbed the doorknob. As he started to turn it, Tom thought he heard a slight movement coming from inside the empty room. He pulled his hand back and froze, staring at the door.
Tom realized there was no real point to risk it. He gently rapped on the door three times before going in.
©2010 Melissa L. Webb