Midnight Laughter

I live in Northern Wisconsin, where most of my family calls home. Except for my Father’s side of the family. They live in the middle of Minnesota, almost a 3 hour drive away from us. First and foremost, my family, especially my Father’s side, is very religious. Which is a large reason of why they never believe my odd experiences. I have never been the favored child either, always the clumsy and outcasted one. The one with the wild imagination. Two of the only family members around my age are my cousins, R and S. (For their privacy I will refer to them as their first initials). R is 9 months older than me, but always tries to act like I am the baby cousin. S is around 2 years older than me. We have always been close, when we were little we would take our Grandma’s hat pins, go around in a circle to each pick one, and then spill a secret to eachother, but recently we have been growing apart. It doesn’t help that I live so far away, or that I am having troubles with anxiety and depression. But back then, we were all attached by the hip.

The story begins at my Grandparent’s, with R and I begging to have a sleepover, they refused because she had church the next day. But our constant nagging and the thought of me not being able to spend time with her guilted our parents into letting me spend the night. Soon S arrived also, I was excited because I haven’t seen them in a very long time, and I had missed them. R’s house was a big one. There were 4 floors, including the basement. The main floor, with the kitchen and living room, upstairs with her parent’s room and two of her younger sister’s room along with the bathroom, downstairs with R’s and her other sister’s room, and finally the basement with its dark atmosphere, cold cement floors, and lots of closets. When we got settled in, i took a look around her room. Raggedy Ann dolls covered her shelves, normal for her but unsettling for me.

We were up for a while, talking and giggling. Then we soon fell asleep. I had a night terror about bugs crawling over me, ladybugs and ants. I woke up seeing them covering the bed with their squirming 6 legged bodies. I panicked but didnt want to wake my cousins up. Soon my eyes adjusted, and they disappeared. I was too tired to question what had just happened, so I went back to sleep. Suddenly, after what felt like seconds, I woke back up. I looked around, it was pitch black. Then, by movements my cousins made, I realized we were all awake. S and I were wide awake, feeling unsettled, but R was groggy and ready to go back to sleep, so she turned to face the closet. I looked out her open door and I swear i saw a faint glowing blue light coming from the top of the stairs. I told myself it probably wasn’t that late, so R’s parents were still up watching T.V.

After what felt like hours, we just sat in bed, unable to sleep. Then I heard this low maniacal laughter coming from upstairs. S’s eyes met mine. We sat there in silence for a few moments. “Di- Did you hear that too?” I whispered. She nodded slowly, with her eyes wide open. “It could just be R’s parents watching a movie.” I proposed. The possibility of that increased as I thought about it. “Should we go check?” S replied. I nodded. It took us a couple tries to get R out of bed. But I still wasn’t ready for the walk through the dark to the upstairs, but I had to. I had to prove it was her parents, because there must be a reasonable answer to what S and I heard. We made our way upstairs, and I felt a pang of horror when I saw the dark livingroom with the empty couches. We ran upstairs waking up R’s parents, asking them if they were up and what we learned scared me even more than I could possibly think of. R’s parents were dead asleep. S and I begged for R’s father to look around the house, and thats what he did. No unlocked windows or doors, no sign of any intruders. But that was impossible, I had heard it! S had heard it too! S and I looked at each other in horror. Then we were told to go back to sleep. We obliged, and even though R spept like a rock, S and I got no sleep that night.

I still dont know why I had that night terror, or what laughed in the middle of the night. I have never had a night terror before or since then. We have never brought it up since.

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