The small rental house sits on a hill, far from the neighbors. Its solitary perch is what attracted Tim to the place. Shy by nature, he considered it a find when he came across the cozy cabin lookalike even though it was reputedly haunted. In all his 50 years, he’s never encountered any paranormal or extraterrestrial activities and finds no reason to believe in them now.
As he’s wont to do every evening, Tim finishes eating dinner on his kitchen table, sips his rye, and starts talking to the empty chair across from him. Although timid, he likes to hear the timbre of his own voice when no one is around. He continues to spout about his day when the wooden chair transforms into a wooden head with its facial features and hair looking painted on. Its expression appears focused, fully engaged at what he was saying.
It must be the whiskey, Tim thinks to himself. Can’t be delirium. Although he’s been called a drunk, he doesn’t believe it because he can still stand and walk after many rounds of shots.
He rubs his eyes and stares at the chair, slapping his hands on the table just to make sure he’s awake.
“Ho now,” the outline of the mouth blurts out.
“Who are you? I didn’t invite you here.” Tim tries to assert himself.
“Day in, day out . . . especially day out, you jabber on and on. So here I am to wackle, wackle back at ‘cha.”
“What does that even mean?” Bewildered, Tim can feel goosebumps forming on his arms and the hair behind his neck rising, as he’s starting to register the deadness of the wide-eyed expression on the face. Tim inches away from the table as he notices the head shaking a little, as if trying to move from its place.
“I’ve always wanted a body to call my own.” The head nods.
The sudden change of subject and the subject itself are enough to cause Tim to bolt out of his chair. As if powered by an invisible slingshot, the head catapults toward Tim, who loses his balance from the hit. Before recovering from his fall, Tim feels a little top-heavy, almost as if he is wearing a football helmet.
“I also wanted a buddy of my own,” Tim hears in his head, knowing the thought is not his own. Heart thudding, he runs to the bathroom mirror and looks at his reflection. The wooden head stares back at him with a wide grin.