Told by James Heath
(as dictated to April Heath Pastis)
I spent a lot of nights sleeping at my grandparents house. One night, I was getting ready for bed after making myself a sandwich. Back then, we didn’t have our bread sliced and so I used a butcher knife and sliced the bread before making myself a thick peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a full glass of chocolate milk.
I wiped down the counter and put the knife in the sink before heading downstairs to the basement which is where my grandparents had a small bed for me to sleep on when I was staying there. My grandparents weren’t home, but I made myself comfortable, reading a couple comic books as I ate my meal.
After I finished, I got into bed and it wasn’t long before I heard the back door, which was just beyond the basement door. I figured my grandpa and grandma Sullivan had gotten home, so the sound of the door didn’t bother me.
Suddenly, the basement door opened and I heard a gigling at the top of the stairs. It was an insane, wicked giggle too. So, I jumped out of bed. I realized that it wasn’t grandma or grandpa who had come home, but someone had come into our house. Back then, we didn’t lock our doors, so it would be easy to do.
I kranked my head down to see up the staircase, to hide from the
intruder but also to see who it was.
“He he heheh…I see you. He he hhehhe.” the intruder giggled.
I gulped and stepped out to see who it was. It was old Bug eye. Bug eye was a kid, well really a man, who was retarded. He didn’t have much smarts and he was really to hideous to look at as his eyes bulged, litterally, buldged right out of the sockets of his eyes. And, he was really black. I mean not just black like most African Americans, I mean his skin was as black as they come, and accented against those white eyes, he was quite a disturbing site. All the kids in the neighborhood called him bug-eye.
But, bug eye, had lost it a couple years back and attacked his parents with a knife. So that they locked him away in the Sanitarium.
I looked at him and he raised his hand and the reflection of that butcher knife I had made my sandwich from glinted off my eyes.
“He he he” he kept giggling insanely.
I was scared to death. I was in the basement and there was no way out of there. I was trapped. I knew he was going to kill me.
Well, Ol’ bug eye took a couple of steps down the stairs when suddenly, the whole room lit up. It wasn’t coming from the light. It was, I felt it, my grandma.
Bug eye felt it at the same time. He turned completely white, I mean WHITE. He dropped the butcher knife, and sprang back up the steps, past the basement door and through, I mean through, the back door– taking it right off the hinges.
I felt my grandma give me a hug and I knew she would be with me always. I took a couple steps to the bottom of the stairs and stopped to see an ivory broach that was lying at the foot of the stairs. My grandmother had been buried wearing that broach. It had been my grandmother.
About that time, my grandparents were getting home. They usually came in the back door and I heard my grandfather swearing as he discovered the broken door. I knew I wasn’t get a chance to tell him what happened and was going to get a beating.
Instead, he was stopped by some policeman. As it turned out, the police man said they were looking for a man who’d escaped from the Sanitarium and that he was capable of murder. They thought they’d seen him running out of our house.
I know my grandmother saved my life. Mentioned in this story:
grandparents: Norman G. Raymond Sullivan and Anna Ruth Buchanan Sullivan. Grandmother who appeared: Ida Mae Dollins Buchanan