Episode 019

The Shower Curtain People

September 1980

“Take a bath.” said Mom, “You smell like a polecat!”

Marie hadn’t bathed in two days. “Can you come with me?”

“I gotta make dinner.” said Mom, “You’re six years old. You can take a bath on your own. I’ll start the water for you.” 

Mom ran the bath and led Marie to the tub. “Be sure to wash behind your ears. Daddy will be home in a little bit. When you come down, dinner will be on the table.”

Marie didn’t like being alone in the house, especially in the bathroom. There were always...noises...and...shadows.

One night she woke up screaming because there were lions growling in the hallway outside her room. When mommy finally came she said it was just her brothers snoring in the other room. But Marie knew what she heard. Marie knew what she saw. 

The house had eyes. Faces in all of the walls. Sad faces, angry ones, but mostly faces in pain. She talked about it once with her brother Christopher.

“I don’t like the boy that stares at me when I eat my Cheerios” she told him. “He has scary eyes.”

“That’s just your mind playing tricks on you.” said Christopher. He didn’t know the word “pareidolia”, but he understood the concept. “Anything can look like a face.”

“But it scares me.” she said.

“Everything scares you.”

Marie sat in the tub for a minute before it dawned on her that Mommy had forgotten the bubbles. There had to be bubbles for her to take a bath. It just wasn’t a bath without them.

The bottle of bubble bath mix sat at the other end of the tub, behind the shower curtain. Marie got up on her knees to wade over to it when she caught motion through the corner of her eye. A silhouette on the curtain as if a person were standing behind it.

“Christopher!” she said, “Get out you queerdo! I’m in the tub!”

No response came, but the figure moved to one side as another appeared next to it. 

“Who’s there?” she asked, her voice cracking in fear. The shadowy figures remained silent.

“Chris...Johnny?” she said, hoping to hear one of her brothers own up to goofing around in the bathroom. Still hearing no answer, Marie poked her head around the shower curtain only to find no one standing there.

Trembling slightly, Marie reached for the bottle of bubble bath, her fingers shaking as she poured it into the water. The familiar scent of the pink liquid filled the air, but it offered little comfort against the chill that had settled over her.

Steeling herself, Marie looked once more at the curtain. The two shadowy shapes remained in plain view. One had assumed a crouching position as if it were trying to look her in the eye.

“Who are you?” she cried. “What do you want?”

The figure on the left moved. It held up a hand as if reaching out to her. Marie’s eyes grew wide and she jumped out of the tub, barely stopping to grab her bathrobe and ran downstairs at full clip.

“Mommmmmy!” she screamed all the way to the kitchen.

“What the frig are you doing?” asked mom. “You’re bare ass naked!”

“I have my robe!”

“Honey, I put your pajamas on the hamper in the bathroom. Go get ‘em”

“Un-uh” said Marie. “I ain’t goin’ up there again.”

“Fine. Eat in your robe. We’re having spaghetti and meatballs.”

“Yay! Puh-sgetti!” Marie exclaimed, promptly forgetting about her experience in the bathroom.

Christopher went to use the toilet and noticed the tub almost overflowing. Not wanting to get in trouble for it, he turned off the tap and pulled out the drain plug. As he sat on the bowl, Christopher heard a noise coming from the hallway. It sounded like the  low growl of a jungle cat- a sound he’d only ever heard in movies. It startled him for a moment until he heard the gurgle of the last of the water draining from the bathtub. Obviously that must have been what he’d heard the whole time. Christopher quickly finished his business and slipped off to his room to play with his Micronauts until Mom called him down for dinner.

Dad was only a little drunk when he got home and the family had a peaceful dinner. Afterwards, they watched a Muppet Show rerun featuring Brooke Shields as Alice in Wonderland. Marie dozed off and Dad carried her to bed. 

In the dark of night, the sound of a creaky floorboard stirred her from slumber. She pulled the blanket over her head for protection, but could still hear the sound.

“Who’s there?” She called out.

“Marie?” responded a familiar voice. It sounded like her classmate, Michelle.

“Shelly?” she called out her friend’s nickname, “Why are you in my house?”

“Marie! It’s you. I’m in the woods! The lions are coming! They got all the other kids. I’m hiding!”

“Shelly.” said Marie, pulling the cover off her head, “Don’t be silly, you’re in my house. Not the woods.”

Standing silhouetted in her doorway Marie saw her friend wreathed in the light from the hall. She wore a princess dress, complete with tiara.

“Shelly? What are you doing here?”

“I just wanted to go trick or treat!” said Michelle. “The ice cream man drove us out to the woods.”

“You’re scaring me.” Marie said, tears already welling up in her eyes.

“Be quiet.” whispered Michelle, “Or they’ll hear us.”

“Who’ll hear us?”

“The lions.”

“You see the lions too? I knew it.” said Marie, vindicated in spite of the uncanny feeling creeping over her. 

Marie patted her bed, “C’mere, Shel. Come sit and be safe with me.”

“Marie? I didn’t see you on the truck? Why are you here?”

“I live here, silly.” said Marie, “This is MY house you’re in.”

“It’s not a house. It’s a cold cold forest. We’re lost Marie. They got them all. I’m the only one left.”

“Don’t be so sad, come sit with me.” Marie implored. “We can have a sleepover! My mommy makes pancakes sometimes!”

“Marie!” gasped Michelle, “Marie, where are you? I can’t see you no more!”

“I’m right here in front of you!”

“MARIE?!” the other girl shouted. “MARIEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!” her call turning into a scream.

Marie climbed out of the bed and approached Michelle, grabbing her hand. Pulling her friend closer, Marie saw Michelle’s face.

Her eyes were black and hollow sockets, her face soaked red with blood. 

Marie tried to scream for her mother but her voice came out only as a squeak. 

She stumbled backwards, tripping over a toy and landed on her back.

Tears streamed down Marie’s face as she lay there with her eyes clamped shut, but the image of her friend’s dead face remained burned into her eyelids.

Marie felt a hot breath on her cheek. Opening her eyes she saw a dark shape above her.

The lion! She thought, but she couldn’t move, paralyzed with fear. 

The beast towered over her and sniffed Marie’s hair. It didn’t look like lions in picture books or movies. It had no mane on its head and gazed down at her with wide eyes, its maw stained with a dark red liquid. 

Don’t eat me. Don’t eat me. Don’t eat me don’t eat me donteatmedonteatmedonteatme! She said over and over in her mind.

The lion nudged her with its bloody snout, then opened its jaws to chomp down on her.

Marie closed her eyes and winced in fear, waiting for the beast to strike.

Her fear was suddenly interrupted by the rushing roar of the toilet flushing.

Opening her eyes once more, Marie saw that the lion had disappeared and gazing into the hall could see her big brother, Johnny, stepping out of the bathroom.

“Johnny!” she yelped.

The young teenager spun around to see Marie splayed out on the floor.

“Did you fall out of bed?” he asked her.

“No. Shelly was here, but her face was all red and there was a lion and and and...Shelly didn’t have eyes and I’m scared.”

“You’re having a bad dream. Go back to sleep.” her brother said.

“No! It’s real.” she demanded, “There’s lions in this house!”

“There’s no such thing as lions. Go to bed.”

The next day at school Marie saw Michelle. She ran up to her friend and squeezed her until Michelle’s eyes bugged out.

“What is up with you?” asked Michelle.

“I thought the lions got you!” Marie exclaimed.


“You were at my house last night. You wanted to go trick or treat, but a lion got you and ate your eyes out!”

“Oh my god, Marie. You have the most crazy dreams!”

“It wasn’t a dream!” Marie insisted. “You were dressed like a princess!”

“I ALWAYS am a princess for Halloween.” declared Michelle.

“Well,” said Marie, “be careful. There are LIONS in the world.”

“They don’t have lions in Amon Heights. That’s only a jungle thing. Like in Africa. Or the ZOO!”

“Girls!” interrupted Mrs. Dempsey, “Stop chit-chatting in the hallway and go to your classroom!”

The rest of the day, Marie didn’t let Michelle out of her sight. Just to make sure her friend was safe, after school she invited Michelle over to play. They made mud pies for their dolls and rolled around in the grass. 

 That night at bathtime Marie refused to go.

“Honey,” said Mom, “You have to take a bath. You’ve been running around all day and rolling in dirt. You're filthy.”

“No.  I can’t take a bath because of the shower curtain people!”

Christopher overheard this and snickered. “The shower curtain people? Oh god. Just take your bath already.”

“THEY’RE REAL! They watch me when I’m in the tub!”

“You’re just making excuses because you like to smell like pee!” her brother retorted.

“Christopher!” said Mom, “Go to your room. I’ll deal with little miss Marie.”

Mom stayed with her through the bath and the shadowy figures did not show up. There came another dinner followed by a night of tv before Marie once more woke up alone in her bed. 

She opened her eyes to see a baby snoozing on the pillow beside her. 

“How did you get here?” she said to it. “No answer, huh? But you sure are the cutes-”

Her voice cut short as the thing wriggled around beside her, its face turned toward hers. The thing in the bed with her was not an infant at all. It looked like a gigantic squirming white worm, with no eyes. But it had teeth. So many teeth in its wide mouth that opened and snapped at Marie as it drew close to her throat.

“Aaah!” the girl cried, scooting to the edge of her bed, away from that...thing.

It moved blindly toward her, writhing on the mattress like a fat snake. Marie screamed and squealed, but no one seemed to hear her. She stood up on the bed as the toothy worm thing nudged at her feet.

Pressing up against the wall, Marie felt something cold grab a hold of her hand. Looking down she saw black fingers intertwined with hers. She could barely make it out through the moonlight that streamed in her window, but it seemed as if the black hand extended from the wall itself.

Her eyes widened as she lifted her hand up to her eyes. The black hand came up with hers. It weighed nothing. Marie turned toward the wall to see who or what was attached to the obsidian fingers and suddenly felt herself pulled toward it.

In a flash she found herself pressed flat against the wall. Literally flat, as if she’d become a shadow on the wall of her bedroom.

She could see the light pouring in from the hallway, her toys scattered across the floor, and her bed with that fat little maggot twisting around aimlessly upon it. However, Marie found it impossible to glance to her left or her right. Nevertheless, she felt a force PULL her to the right. 

Everything turned black, but she heard a voice in her mind saying, “This way! Come! You will be safe!”

The thing that grasped her hand whisked Marie sidewards into the chilly darkness. 

When she could see again, she was in the hallway. She saw the attic door and stairway down to the living room across from her, but still Marie was flat against the wall, like a painting. 

Marie tried to gasp when that chubby wriggling worm came into her peripheral vision, exiting her room, into the hall. It crawled slowly across the floor. No sound could escape her as the disgusting little creature came into full view, its eyeless face turning this way and that. As if trying to sense something.

A roar came from the bathroom. Once again the loud flush of the toilet interrupted Marie’s nightly terror. Johnny stumbled into the hall, half asleep, and nearly tripped over the maggot.

“What!” he exclaimed as he looked down at the thing. “No! No. I got them. I got them all!”

Johnny ran away into the bedroom he shared with Christopher. There came a loud clattering of metal on wood followed by his stomping footsteps before Johnny tore back into the hallway wielding an aluminum bat.


Marie couldn’t close her eyes as she witnessed her brother splattering the hideous little monster against the floor until it was nothing more than a sickening pile of red and gray puss. 

Johnny collapsed to the floor and caught his breath before Dad called out from his room.

“What the fuck is going on out there? Go to bed!”

“Sorry!” said Johnny, “I had to pee...um...and I tripped.”

“Well, be quiet. I got work in the morning!”

Johnny sat there for a long while before gathering a dirty towel from the hamper and scooping up the remains of the creature. Marie saw him disappear down the stairs and heard him slip out the front door. Eventually he came back and crept into his bed.

The voice in her head spoke to her once more. It is over. You will be safe now. The p̶̧̛͚̥̤̫̲ͅa̸̠̰̼̜̦͈̓͂̓́͌͋͂r̶̳̬̙̭͇̹̆̊̒̎a̴̘̖̫̫̐s̶̬̠̲͖̼̞͙̿͋ḭ̵͈̲͉͕̜͔͗t̶̡̹̼̥͂̐́e̸̥͕̤͚̞͇͋͘͘̕ will no longer trouble you.

What? She thought.

The p̶̧̛͚̥̤̫̲ͅa̸̠̰̼̜̦͈̓͂̓́͌͋͂r̶̳̬̙̭͇̹̆̊̒̎a̴̘̖̫̫̐s̶̬̠̲͖̼̞͙̿͋ḭ̵͈̲͉͕̜͔͗t̶̡̹̼̥͂̐́e̸̥͕̤͚̞͇͋͘͘̕ . For want of a better term. It brought things that it should not have.

It brought the lions.

It brought many things. Things from a past that has not yet happened. But your sibling has destroyed it. It cannot cause further harm.

What are you?  She asked without saying a word.

We do not have a name. Said the voice in her mind. We are...beings who have come to observe you. We do not know our origin.

Are you the shower curtain people?

We do not reside in your bathing shield. But yes, that was us. We meant no harm. 

Why am I stuck in a wall?

We brought you to this space for protection. We return you now.

No! Wait!  Marie thought urgently.

The next thing Marie knew, she awoke in her bed. It had been a dream. Maybe all of it had. Shower curtain people, lions, worm babies. Just a long nightmare.

She went downstairs to the smell of pancakes. Christopher sat on the floor watching a cartoon about a teenage Dracula. 

In the kitchen she found Johnny standing in front of the stove.

“What are you doing?” she asked him.

“Making pancakes. Dad’s working today and Mom’s at the store.”


“I can make pancakes.” he said.

“Hey little puss puss.” he called out to Christopher, “Come and get it!”

Marie sat at the table with her brothers and ate pancakes. They were burned on the outside and gooey in the middle, but the syrup tasted sweet.


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Intro and outro theme 

Music Provided By Mediacharger



Artist: Darren Curtis

Track: Demented Nightmare

Credit https://bit.ly/3lvCtVS

Background Music Provided By Mediacharger



Music Created By : Myuu

Song Title: Growing Shadows

Download: https://goo.gl/dSGD4F

Nothing Is Wrong is written and recorded in New Jersey on Lenapehoking territory.

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