UNDERNEATH

Timothy Schneider


[Editor’s note: Ordinarily we here at OMNIBUS would pass on a submission such as “Underneath”, because we could be accused of exploiting a family’s deeply-painful tragedy. Mr. and Mrs. Schneider, however, parents of the young author, have given permission to various publications to publish excerpts from their son’s writings. In fact, they requested it, so that Timothy Schneider’s stories, crude and unpolished as they are, would stand as a monument to the boy and prevent him from becoming a forgotten statistic.

[Timmy Schneider was a precocious little boy born and raised in a small Massachusetts town. He scribbled out “novels” in crayon before entering kindergarten. His works, half-comic book, half-prose tales, were concerned with dinosaurs, super-heroes, tanks and robots – the usual things male Americans occupy themselves with at an early age.

[Starting around his seventh birthday, the boy’s tales veered away from army men and dinosaurs into a strange territory of ghosts and monsters. By the time he entered first grade he wrote on eerie subjects to the exclusion of all else, his huge wavering hand covering many sheets of Indian Chief notebooks and colored construction paper. He used pencils, crayons and his father’s Sharpies when he could get them.

[OMNIBUS has been favored with a particularly creepy selection:]

UNDERNEATH

Underneath my bed

Underneath the house

Underneath the Street Drane

Underneath the World

Underneath there are Scary Monsters and recked-up Citys and Robots and Peaple who don’t talk but are loud anyway.

Sometimes they fite and sometimes stuff explodes and sometimes stuff falls down, and the monsters don’t like it and climb up from Underneath. They clime up out of the ground and keep climing up to trees and roofs and mountains.

Near our house in the trees there are Holes. Evryone says theyre Sink Holes but I no that’s where the Monsters come out. Once I went up in the barn and I dint like it. There were webs and dust and I dint like the Hanging Things. The Hanging Things look like spider eggs or cocoons but there as big as cats and sometimes they move. I think something crawled up to the rafters from Underneath and the Hanging Things are its eggs. Sometimes in bed at night I hear something running across the roof or scraping down the window screens. Daddy says its squirrels and Mommy says its mice, but I think one of the Hanging Things hatched and what was inside is climbing around outside now, climbing over the house looking for a way in.

* * * *

Wensday I playd in the back yard with Brendan when we saw something in the trees, in the dark, in the leaves. I was afraid but Brendan went closer. He ran back and went home and now wont tell me about it. When I went to bed that nite I heard something chewing on my shoe under the bed My rocking chair moved by itself Cars drove by and their lites ran across the room like ghosts. But when the cars were gone lites still ran across the room. I went to Mommy and Daddy’s bed tho theyre tired of me running there at nite. I asked them if I could please stay but they wouldn’t wake up even when I shook them and yelled. But then the Whistling Man came. The Whistling Man chased away the ghosts and the thing under the bed. He told me all about Underneath. Some day the monsters wont stay Underneath any more, and they will come up and eat Peaple and Dogs and Towns The Whistling Man says he’ll take me to his castle far away so Ill be safe. He’ll take all the kids he can to his castle so the Monsters wont eat them. He said there were kitties and bunnies and unicorns there. I said that was girl stuff. He said there were Draggons there too and I could have one. I want to go with the Whistling Man to his castle I Hope his Castle isn’t Underneath

* * * *

[Editorial note: Just before Halloween 2018, Timmy told his parents that the “Whistling Man” was going to take him to his castle in the “Magic Woods.” The Schneiders merely looked upon this as yet another amusing addition to the boy’s personal storyland. The fact remains, however, that Timmy went Trick-or-Treating with the neighborhood children and never returned. His father and several other parents watched Timmy join the mob of a dozen or more costumed revelers; the adults escorted the youngsters around the block; and on their return to Narragansett Street, the group broke apart with no sign of Timmy Schneider. He has not been seen since.

[The Schneiders now live in Maine. Though they wanted to keep the old house, with Timmy’s toys and clothes just as he left them, rats and mice kept getting in and gnawing on their belongings.]


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