“Calm down, Eric. You’re safe.”
After a while he stopped shaking and started sobbing. Jenna looked at me, concern clouding her features.
“It was just a movie, Wanda. What happened?”
“It was Night at the Museum, Jen. I should have warned you not to take him there.”
“Why? Doesn’t he like Ben Stiller?”
“No, not that. Eric freaks out at museums; so do I. Do you remember when I told you about Uncle Roger and Aunt Steffie?”
“Yeah, that was pretty horrible.”
“Well this is how that story ended…”
It was Eric’s and my seventh birthday; we’d been with Roger and Steffie for almost a year. They decided to take us to the museum, mostly because we’d been bugging about it for a couple of weeks.
It took a while but we found a spot with a big crowd and promptly got lost in it. That’s where we ditched them. Not long after they had the staff turning the place upside-down to find us, but nobody thought to look in the employee bathroom. In the cabinet under the sink.
We stayed hidden until the big lights went out and only the emergency lighting was on. Then we snuck out to try and find a guard.
A museum is a pretty spooky place at night, and Eric was especially nervous. He kept saying the animals were going to come to life and eat us.
I had to drag him away from the room of statues of naked people; he just stood there whimpering and I can understand why. He said Roger was in there and coming to get him.
It was worse when we got to the Pleistocene exhibit. We’d learned on the tour that that was caveman times, not Play-Doh times. The little tiny horse was cute, but the big animals were scary, especially the saber-tooth tiger.
We were doing okay until I heard a snorting sound from behind us. I looked back and there was a pair of big shiny eyes just staring at us. And then they blinked.
Eric started turning but I stopped him. I told him to hide while I picked up a rock. He did as he was told for once and soon I was bravely facing down the monster.
I threw the big rock; it got about halfway to him and hit the floor with a crumply sound like cloth. The monster jumped back, then came forward and sniffed at it. Then he looked up at me.
I wet myself.
He took advantage of my fear and jumped me. Before I knew it I was lying on my back crying while his sloppy tongue licked my face. Then a light shone onto us and I could see he was just a big shaggy dog.
After that came a woman’s voice, saying “Who’s there?” It was followed shortly by “Down Shep!” and the dog got off me.
The woman was the guard, and she was nice. She helped me up, then got Eric and me some ice cream from one of the vending machines. When I told her about Roger and Steffie she made some phone calls and the police police showed up and we got taken to the hospital, and that’s when we knew we’d really escaped.