The Lump

📅 Published on May 3, 2022

“The Lump”

Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 12 minutes

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On Gallows Hill, that overlooked Witches Valley where the verdant Whispering Forest spanned the horizon, Delbert Denton lived alone in a very modest house in a cul-de-sac called Snake Den Road.  Delbert was a bachelor, never married and seldom, if ever, dated.  No woman had ever visited his home, with the exception of his mother.  Professionally single and good at it, he came and went as he pleased, working from home and answering to no one with the exception of his deleterious boss, who called once a day for a 5-to-10-minute catchup.  Delbert had only met the man once when he was hired on as a data entry specialist.  He believed his boss to be inimical and guessed he had not managed to get the job through such an intimidating interview; however, he was wrong, being hired that day – and that was five years ago.

Delbert had recently bought himself some new bedding with a comforter which he was most proud of, and fresh new pillow cases.  He spent more time in his bedroom than any other part of the house since his workstation fit nicely against the far corner of the room.  He preferred the lighting in this room above the others.  He almost situated his workstation in the second bedroom, but being a smaller room Delbert felt boxed in.  His bed had been perfectly made, and he stood admiring how there was not a single crease to be found.  He was so happy with himself, he took a picture of it and emailed it to his mother, who would be gushing over it, as she often would when Delbert did anything.  To her, he was the perfect son.  She used to really look forward to being a grandmother, but that was years ago.  Delbert, being 40, might well be past the age when talking of having children, and when you had no one to have children with, that might be a little late.

As night approached, Delbert went through his nightly routine of taking a hot and steamy shower, brushing his teeth, putting on his night clothes and crawling into bed.  It normally only took minutes for him to be completely comatose…but on this strange and impressionable night, something would change Delbert’s routine abruptly.

When he emerged from the bathroom, fresh and clean, he was fiercely startled by what he saw.  There was a lump on his bed, the size of a human being.  It was under the covers, and a sheet and the comforter had been folded down at the foot of the bed.  He knew for a fact that he did not leave the bed this way when he went for his shower.  He had a picture to prove it.  His ritualistic peripatetic bedtime movement had been put off course by this lump, right in the center of the bed.  He rationalized it in his mind: “Could it be a person?  How else was this to be explained?”  Observing acutely, he didn’t find this terrifying, merely unexplained.  How could this lump have occurred?  Delbert had no answer, but the big question was, “What am I going to do about it?” This was his most concerning thought.  Undefinable as it was, he took a risk and approached the bed cautiously, not wanting to be scared out of his wits if this lump was a person.  How could a person be in his house?  He could not imagine something so extraordinary as a person crawling into his bed.  Was it someone he knew?  He very much doubted that since no one visited.  He could admit that he was not the best friend anyone could have; he was not very supportive and often found face-to-face communication awkward.

Slowly, he pinched the sheet between his index finger and thumb and eased back the sheet.  To his relief, there was no one under the sheets.  Somehow two pillows were laying lengthwise, and with the covers and the sheets being bunched up together, it gave the appearance of a body beneath the sheets.  He was breathlessly relieved, not wanting to question how these pillows came to be arranged in such a fashion.

Delbert’s sleep this night was infelicitous with uncommon tossing and turning, and his mind reeling about those two pillows.  It should have been the sleep of the year beneath his new bedding; instead, he got very little sleep and worked himself up into worry.

The next morning, he swore to himself that he would not let this unexplainable episode interfere with his day. He rose early, anxious to get his day started.  He made the bed, creaseless again, and proceeded to the kitchen where he fried bacon and eggs with buttered toast.  He knew he ate too much bacon, but the flavor hit his palate with absolute satisfaction, and besides the taste, he loved the smell.  After his hearty breakfast, he decided to do some work.  Though he was caught up with his target, he wanted to stay ahead with the data entries.  This would give him more time away from the computer in the evenings, a time when he enjoyed a good nature walk along the trails south of his home.

Walking into the bedroom, his breath was taken by a gasp.  He heaved so hard at the site that he thought he might be sick.  The lump in the center of his bed had returned.  His mind became resultant, seeing but not believing, like a dream sequence that was overloading his acute stress response.  “What is this?” Delbert questioned.

He moved slowly around the foot of the bed.  The shape was exactly the same as before.  He knew he found his pillows laying end to end on the first occasion, so this is what he should expect now.  But what if it wasn’t the pillows?  No, of course it was the pillows; they were nowhere to be seen.  “This is preposterous,” he thought. Inching closer to the bed, he gradually lifted the covers as he had done before, and there they were.  Just as he had predetermined, two pillows.  But how was this happening?  What was causing such an abhorrent occurrence?  Removing the pillows from the bed completely, he stored them away at the top of his closet and tidied the bed again, creaseless, smooth perfection.  He convinced himself that he must remain austere, ascetical, and keep his wits about him.  Now was not the time for superstitious mumbo-jumbo.  He was envisaging a calm, non-frightful day of data entry and would not allow himself to think about something as ridiculous as paranormal gibberish.  His mother was the superstitious one, not him!  This was no more than homunculi, not worth troubling oneself over.  Delbert sat at his desk and typed away for the next 3 hours, never once looking over his shoulder at the bed.  He induced himself into work mode, and he was accomplishing everything he had hoped.  If he could finish this today, he could actually take the entire day off tomorrow.  He would soon be finished and could guide his inertia into a sweet rest upon the bed.

As soon as that thought crossed his mind, he stopped typing.  His mind had readjusted focus.  This was now a peremptory matter, and the desire to look over his shoulder was like an addiction needing to be fed.  He cursed himself for being weak, but then justified the notion, only wanting to prove to himself that there were no pillows on the bed in the shape of a human body.  As delicately as threading a needle, his head moved ever so gently to the right.  Not truly understanding what taking a look would benefit, he did so regardless of how illogical the exercise was.  When he had turned, his face drained of its color; it became the pallid shade of death, for what he saw could not be.  The lump was in full view.  It was again in the center of the bed and in the shape of human form.  Delbert did not have to look to know what was underneath the covers.  With a spasmodically incongruent outburst of unpredictable rage, brought on by the exaggerated complications of the cotton impressions embedded in the fabric of abominable absurdity and with exceptional incoherent thought, Delbert grabbed a crutch that leaned against the wall from a broken ankle he had dealt with the previous year, and fiercely cudgeled the lump with mighty force in three good whacks.  It did not move, nor did it fight back.  The only thing he accomplished by the battering was to indent the shape so it no longer took on human form.  Once he gathered himself and brought his demeanor under control, he ripped the covers off the bed to find two white pillows.

He convinced himself that his outburst was adolescent, but he would no longer remain indolent.  He stripped the entire bed of his new sheets, pillow cases, even the comforter.  He bagged them in giant black garbage bags and took them to the curb for trash collection, which coincidentally was scheduled for the following morning.

Afterward all of the old bedding which he had retired was placed back on the bed, and he ordered a pizza for dinner.  He was more than determined to wind down, erase all neurasthenia from his mind, and although he wasn’t much into sports, he was sure he could probably find a game of some sort to vegetate to.  He did this for the remainder of the evening and into the night, and as morning came closer, Delbert saw that the time was 3 am. Disgusted with himself for gluing himself to the TV for so many wasted hours, he realized that he was tired and it was time for bed.

The game on TV had been interesting to watch, but he didn’t know who had won.  He knew little about the rules of sports, and he assumed the highest score won.  Before leaving his living room, he looked out of the casement window which adorned the front of his house just to see if the black bags stuffed with his brand-new bedding were still on the curb for pickup.  He was relieved to see the bags still there, right where he had left them.  He proceeded to the bedroom to find it as he had left it, his old bedding neatly covering the bed and no lumps to bother with.

Delbert slept most peacefully, not waking once and dreaming very little, but of pleasant things.  He believed that his worries with the bedding were over.  He was awakened, unmolested, by the garbage truck making its rounds in his neighborhood.  That relaxed him even more.

He glanced at the clock, and it was 8 am.  That was the usual pickup time.  Today was Saturday, no work to do unless he just wanted to get further ahead on the data entry.  He wrestled with the notion of sleeping a couple more hours because he had not slept that long, seeing as he went to bed late.  He argued that he felt rested, and his tastebuds could already taste the bacon that he loved so much.

The bacon lust won out, and Delbert had made up his mind to get his day started.  He fancied a walk, possibly through the Whispering Forest.

He loved that trail.  It was seldom trekked by many at once, and that was the way he liked it.  His isolation and avoidance of people were self-imposed.  You could not say that he was a lonely man; one might suggest that he alone had extracted himself from other people.  His comfort level would instantly drop around strangers, although people that he knew, a couple of friends and his mother he could cope with without the discomfort of feeling out of place.  He was so thankful that the lump in the bed nightmare was over.  He already had to force himself outdoors, and did so once in a while as a reward of sorts for a good day’s work.  He certainly wasn’t going to stand by while some mysterious happenings caused him to flee the sanctuary of his own safe haven.  No way, no how.

As he thought these sorts of thoughts, he detected a peculiarity.  He did not move.  He became acutely despondent, imperceptibly motionless.  He surmised with great confidence that his head was lying on the pillowcase of the new bedding, which he had stripped off his bed the night before, placed in black bags and carted off to the curb for the garbage collection.

He reinforced the previous night’s sequence in his mind, not moving a muscle.  He was sure of it once he played it all back.  He remembered distinctly removing both pillow cases!  Delbert had a strong metered internal resistance to believe that his head was caressed against the very cotton fabric that he had gathered up and disposed of.  What sort of witchery was this?  Was this some phantasmagorical otherworldly event?  This evocative scare was a torment to his mind.  No need to become fanatically unhinged.  There had to be a logical, conclusive explanation as to how this pillow case had found its way back to his bed?  He remained obstinate that it was possibly due to being tired…yes, that was it!  He was so tired and disheveled after the game, he had missed the pillowcase.  He reasoned more, and in doing so, thinking it was the former casing, simply made the mistake of covering the pillow with the new one, thinking all along it had been placed in the black bags and dragged to the curb.  This all was becoming too lugubrious for him to rationalize.  All of this probing of his mind concerning the events of the night was tiring, and he suddenly found that his rest (which he had gladly accepted) was now a dark infelicitous cocoon, absorbing the bravery that he was dependent upon.  The radical contusion of the truth was that something was anomalous and causing him antidromic distress.

He shuddered at the thought, but now he was consciously aware that something was leaning against his back.  It was heavy, soft and warm.  He could feel this thing down the length of his body.  It was at this moment that he realized the sheets, the covers and the comforter were not his old ones which he had returned to the bed last night, but rather, he was sleeping on the new bedding which he had tossed out.

‘Ghosts, hauntings, paranormal activity!  That has to be it,’ Delbert concluded.  ‘The bedding is possessed, inhabited, phantom energized!’

Delbert began the hard struggle with much effort to slide out of the bed.  He dared not reach over to touch what he assumed was resting beside him.  He resisted the temptation to take a glimpse of whatever had crawled into his bed while he slept.  Ever so gently, he removed himself from the bed.  Once his feet touched the floor, he shuffled over near his desk – where the crutch from his ankle break last year rested.  Taking the crutch in his hands, he turned to face the bed.

‘No, it can’t be!’ His reserved, taciturn disposition was falling apart by the moment, for there was no lump in the bed.  The bedding was his old ones.  There were no new pillow casings, sheets or comforter.  He shouted, “Stop playing games with me!  Show yourself!”  He became irresolute, as if his feet were hardened in heavy concrete. He received no reply, not a single hint that anything out of the normal was occurring.  “I am the captain of my own soul!  Leave me alone!”  His voice cracked in tearful oppression.  He reasoned waste deep in paronyms, paranoia, paranormal, without absolution.  Every conclusion he rendered announced itself embarrassingly, and he felt used, slighted and mistreated by an entity he could not identify or communicate with.

Frustrated in this psychologically ripe fracas, which for the moment seemed one-sided for Delbert was the only one without emotional control in the room, he managed to lift his feet of lead, and putting one foot in front of the other he made his way to the door.  “I am losing my mind.  That’s all there is to it; I have gone mad.”

He opened the bedroom door and looked back at the bed.  There it lay, hidden beneath his new bedding.  The lump, bold enough to appear but never to reveal.  This made Delbert even more angry.

He marched to the one car garage where he stored a can of gasoline for his push mower.  He took the can to the backyard along with a box of matches.  Determined to rid his home of this malevolent, bedeviling entity, he returned inside the house, to his bedroom where the lump had not moved.  He was ringing wet with sweat from the exertion, andbhis heart raced madly.  ‘This is so extraneous, but it must be done,’ he convinced himself. Yanking the covers from the lump only revealed what he had already assumed he would find; two pillows, end to end.

He struggled with the bulk of the load, but succeeded in getting everything, including the pillows, to the backyard.  Away from the house he laid it all out, and dowsed it heavily with gasoline.  Delbert made sure it was soaked.  He lit the match and tossed it onto the petroleum-drenched cotton.  The saturated material exploded in a ball of fire and very little smoke.  The heat drove Delbert back toward his house.

“There!  Gotcha!” he shouted into the red-hot blaze.  Unexpectantly, a gust of southern wind, almost as heated as the inferno before him, blew in and across his lawn, lifting the flaming comforter off the ground, carrying it over Delbert’s head and onto the roof of his house.

The shingles immediately caught fire.  Now Delbert had a house fire to fight!  He ran for the water hose, which thankfully was close by, and twisted the handle wide open.  He sprayed the roof for about 20 minutes until the fire department arrived.  A neighbor who had first spotted the fire in Delbert’s backyard had immediately called the fire department, even before his roof became an incendiary device.

It took the fire team 30 minutes to get control of the blaze and extinguish the fire.  Delbert’s house was badly destroyed.  The kitchen, living room and guest bedroom were a total waste.  His bathroom survived except for the smoke damage, but his bedroom, where his office was, was hardly touched even by ash.  It was intact.

Devastated and defeated, he called his mother and explained that he had accidentally burned down his house. Although she was elderly, she still drove a car and came to him right away.  He packed what he could of the most important things to do with work and clothes and went to stay at his mother’s house while he sorted everything out with the insurance company.  He had really made a mess of things and only wanted to take a shower and crawl into bed.

After his shower, he had some watermelon with his mother, and he explained he would deal with everything the next day, that he just needed to get some rest.  She told him she understood and wished him a good night’s sleep.

His bedroom at his mother’s house was upstairs; it was the one he grew up in before going out on his own, so it felt a bit nostalgic, considering everything, to be back living with his mom.  He hoped it wouldn’t be long before he could get things sorted.  He was thankful that he had rid himself of that tormenting bedding.

He reached the top of the stairs and was walking toward his bedroom when his mother called his name. “Delbert, honey, I wanted to tell you that you’ll be sleeping on fresh linen tonight.  I just bought a new comforter and bedding for your room.  What a coincidence that the day I put it on the bed, you needed your old room back!”

Delbert stiffened.  Should he keep walking toward the bedroom, or should he return downstairs?  Though he had just showered earlier, he was pouring sweat as if someone had turned up the heat.

He struggled to keep walking.  Practically dragging his feet in a shuffled motion, he faced the closed door. Delbert turned the doorknob slowly and pushed the door open to find a lump in the middle of the bed in the shape of a human body, wrapped in the exact bedding he  had just burnt down his house with.

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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Dale Thompson


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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