The Crib

By: Cristian Ocaña
Date: 16/April/2023
Translation support: Tomás Ocaña

(Based on a true story)

What I’m about to tell you happened to me in the late 90s, when my son Tomás, who was just a newborn, disappeared from his crib one night. It was the biggest scare of my life! The anguish in those moments is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I felt terror gripping my body within seconds as I couldn’t find him in his spacious and secure crib, a loving gift from my parents.

Tomy was a beautiful baby. In the family line, from great-grandparents to grandparents, black hair and brown eyes in various shades predominated, but brown eyes nonetheless. Only my paternal grandmother stood out with her beautiful and unforgettable blue eyes. My son, with his light blonde hair, green eyes, and radiant skin, was a true cherub. He still maintains that angelic look when he smiles at you and gazes at you with depth and affection.

Well, we enjoyed the precious gift of his company every day. I incorporated various activities into my daily routine that allowed me to spend several hours a week with my little one: bathing him, changing him, taking him away from his mother’s breast at night, rocking him until he burped, putting him to sleep, and finally laying him down in his crib. After he fell asleep, I would continue to check on him every few hours and bring him to his father in the early morning. The rest of the day, we operated with the help of our beloved and fondly remembered “nanny Silvia,” who continued until Tomy turned 18, when she retired. In addition, his sister, who was 7 years older, contributed to his care with the best willingness and affection. Both parents were working, so taking care of Tomy was a shared responsibility among all of us with love and devotion, as part of our family’s well-being.

One day, at the end of September, when Tomy was already two months old (I’m sure it was a workday), I left my little one, as usual, around 10:00 pm in his sturdy crib with high bars. Tomy’s exclusive room wasn’t very big (2×2 meters) and only fit his crib and a changing table – both in the same tone and style – separated by just about 20 centimeters. The crib was right up against the doorframe. I remember I wrapped him up well and left him lying face down. I placed his blond head on a mini pillow. It was springtime, and the cold was receding, although there were still some freezing nights, so his winter bedding hadn’t been completely put away yet.

I had been performing this ritual daily for 2 months and practically knew it by heart.

After finishing my task for the day, I resumed watching a TV series on cable that I had been following, while his mother was peacefully asleep after a hard day of work.

During my routine inspection before going to bed (around 11:30 pm), I visited Tomy’s room. And to my horror, my son was not in his crib. How was that possible? In milliseconds, I questioned everything. The little bed was just as I had left it: his blanket neatly tucked in, and the pillow away from the headboard. In the next few milliseconds, a terrifying freezing sensation took over me. I checked the window to rule out the possibility of someone having entered: it was closed! I went to my daughter’s room, in the other part of the house, and she was fast asleep. I took the opportunity to check her window, and I didn’t notice anything strange. Her mother was also sleeping. There was zero possibility that someone had entered! Moreover, we were on the third floor, and it was close to midnight. The building had 24-hour security, and physical access was not easy, making a kidnapping unlikely, though not impossible.

Several more seconds passed, and with my body frozen in panic at the helplessness of not knowing where my Tomy was, I didn’t want to scream yet. I held back. I wouldn’t do it yet, not without first ruling out any other unconsidered possibility. In moments of helplessness and desperation, the mind starts playing tricks. That’s why I managed to stay calm for a few more seconds before waking up his mother with the terrifying news. Two seconds later, I was rewarded. I never wanted to turn on the lights; I still don’t know why I didn’t. It was instinctive to navigate in the darkness.

In a moment of sanity, I quickly dismissed all the places I had checked and stayed with the only spot I hadn’t inspected yet: the gap between the crib and the changing table. I looked down through the dim light… and there was Tomy… all in white, sleeping exactly in the same position as when I had put him to bed. Relief flooded over me. It was illogical what had happened. There was no explanation. In my state of lucidity, I couldn’t have been so mistaken as to leave the child under his bed. In fact, my hands holding his body wouldn’t fit in that narrow space. It was impossible. I crouched down and gently pulled him out. Tomy never knew a thing. Everyone continued sleeping peacefully that night.

The next day, I alerted his mother about what had happened and we increased our vigilance at night. The situation disrupted everyone’s sleep, so we decided to buy a night vision surveillance camera with a motion sensor that connected to two monitors we placed on our nightstands. When it detected any movement, the device would emit an alarm beep on the monitors, allowing us to react and see what was happening. It had an automatic adjustment for night vision.

At Tomy’s age, he wasn’t making big movements yet, so it was unlikely that he would trigger the device himself at night. Several days passed and we were constantly monitoring the room and our little baby’s sleep. There was one time when the alarm went off and we rushed in like a stampede: it had been our daughter checking on him in the early hours of the morning. We were startled, but that was the only incident.

In the following weeks and months, everything was calm. We had planned to baptize Tomy on a Saturday in December, just before Christmas. He would be turning 5 months old, and his mother and I made all the necessary preparations and sent out invitations to the godparents, grandparents, uncles, and friends. The day before, we had all gone to bed early after all the hustle and bustle, and by 10:00 PM everyone was asleep, with me waiting for the little one to wake up for his feeding and then burping him. Once I had accomplished my task, I put Tomy back in his crib as usual. He was getting bigger now, and his 6 kilos were noticeable as I lifted him over the high bars and tucked him in. It was summer now, and his crib had less bedding, making it easier to cover him up. By this point, he moved more at night and the monitor would beep a couple of times. It was like the story of Peter and the Wolf: we would check and nothing would happen. But that night would be different.

At 11:30 pm, I was already caught in sleep, with all the lights turned off in the apartment when the alarm on the monitor started beeping. Assuming it was Tomy who had moved (I never stopped looking at the monitor), I glanced at the device trying to focus exclusively on the lump in the crib. However, the lump was levitating! I saw it floating over his crib! How could that be happening?

Next to my nightstand, I grabbed a club that automatically gripped it to face any emergency. You never know what you’re going to encounter. With my heart in my throat and the club firm in my right hand, I tiptoed quickly to catch whatever it was that was lifting Tomy. I reached the room in four strides and turned on the light (this time for sure). What I saw left me astonished.

I will try to describe what happened next as faithfully as possible so as not to miss any details that might be useful for other parents who may go through something similar. Over Tomy’s crib, I found a kind of deformed and hairy dwarf, no more than 70 centimeters tall. It was like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but miniature. When he saw me, with Tomy in my arms, he was as surprised as I was. His tiny eyes barely distinguished themselves from his wrinkled and deformed face. When he focused on me, I saw his red pupils, like in those horror stories. He growled like a cat ready to attack, showing me his rotting and yellowed teeth. The stench of his fetid breath immediately filled the room. I instinctively struck him with the club on the back of the neck. I don’t think he ever knew what hit him because he let go of Tomy and jumped over the crib bars.

“Where do you think you’re going, you piece of shit?” I yelled, hitting him with another strong blow to the ribs as he jumped.

“Grrr…” he managed to utter, I don’t know if it was from pain or losing his prey.

He had no chance of escaping from the room as I covered the only exit. To my surprise, he agilely opened the small closet in the room and slipped inside. By that time, with the noise and beeping from the monitor, his mother woke up, and seeing the scene on the screen, she ran in just as I delivered the second blow. He had nowhere to run and was cornered, or so I thought. I went after him, determined to beat him with the club. However, inexplicably, he disappeared into a dark hole about 40 centimeters wide, and before he realized it, I struck him with a third blow, this time squarely on his back. His amorphous body seemed to absorb the force of the blows.

The hole closed in front of our eyes, followed by a small tremor in the room and a horrendous guttural sound in the distance, between rage and frustration.

“What happened? What was that horrible thing?” said the mom.

“I don’t know. It was trying to take Tomy and would have done so through that hole. Thank goodness I was able to get there in time. We would have lost him forever.”

We hugged each other to calm down and thank the heavens for being there at the right moment to protect our child. Meanwhile, Tomy kept sleeping, oblivious to everything that had happened. It was for the best. That night, we brought him to our room, and I, at least, didn’t close my eyes or let go of my trusty club. We put a crucifix on the closet door and left an image of the Virgin Mary as a guardian.

After the baptism, the priest agreed to come to the celebration at our apartment. In fact, he was the life of the party. I didn’t expect him to be such a pleasant and good-humored person. At one point, I took him by the arm and asked him to accompany me. I told him what had happened the night before. I even showed him the images that were recorded.

“Father, what do you think?” I asked.

“Well, son, you did the right thing by baptizing him. This type of being is part of Satan’s legion, invoked by local witches and wandering around the planet. In Chile, some call it Imbunche. It is also known as Pombero in northern Argentina and southern Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Others call it the Chupacabra. In short, you will find different names for the same beings all over the world.”

“But Father, how can God allow this?” I asked.

“Son, it’s free will. God gives you guidelines but does not control people, who are the ones who release love and hate on Earth. The good thing is that Tomy is already baptized and protected.”

“What about those who don’t believe in baptism or belong to other religions? I don’t think this is exclusive to the Christian religion, right?”

“God protects everyone, and in every religion and belief, there are ways to protect children. This has existed forever. As people have stopped believing, these types of protective sacraments have been forgotten. And there you have it; an Imbunche shows up in your own home.”

I looked at the priest with gratitude and joy. I asked him what I could do to help other parents and their children avoid such incidents.

“Well, son, the best thing you could do, since I know you like to write, is to publish it and make the greatest effort possible to reach as many households as possible. Because the Imbunche that left here last night is surely already looking for its next victim. And believe me, these beings have much more to choose from nowadays than they did 10 years ago.”

I stroked my chin, deep in thought.

“That’s true, Father… Don’t worry. I will do it. I won’t hesitate. I just hope that people can read what I write. You don’t know how difficult it is for me to get people to read my work. I don’t know what the future holds, but I sense that a cultural crisis is looming on the planet.”

“Yes, son. And that’s good news for these diabolical beings. Very good news. Don’t doubt it.”

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