Saturday, 28 September 2013
What was that
I am awake, why am I awake? Why is my heart racing?
Shhh, Listen did you hear something?
I search the darkness but all is familiar, shadows rest as they always have. I breathe in tentatively, testing the air for danger but the only scent is my own. Something woke me, but what? I'm sure something is amiss. My mind says I should get up and check, my legs disagree. I hold my breath and strain my ears.
Outside, the wind makes the leaves sing a sweet lullaby, the summer rain on the slate above my head plinks and plonks with merry rhythm, otherwise the house slumbers peacefully.
Seconds pass without incident and my breathing returns to normal. The heat in my bed seeps deep into my weary body, robbing it of its resolve, my eyes flutter and close.
The creek is hushed but unmistakable.
I'm fully awake now but I can't pinpoint its origin. I lie and wait, unable to do anything else. I'm frozen by fear. It comes again, this time closer, or is it just a trick of the night air. I lean out of the bed and flick on the light.
"Who's there," I call with more conviction than I feel. No response. I throw my feet out of bed and search the house. All is exactly as it should be.
With nothing left to check I go back to my room, chiding myself for such childish notions. I close my door firmly and listen for a moment. There is nothing. I climb into my bed, only because it is where I should be and wait for sleep to come. Then I hear it, rough skin slipping over timber, and my blood turns to ice. Its close and getting closer.
I lie paralyzed but I can feel my heart race inside my ribcage. A shadow shifts and glides were no shadow has ever been, it is distinct and hazy at once. There, but not there. It drifts over the bed, invisible talons plucking at my sheet. It leans over me, infecting my eyes with darkness. I try to scream, but that's a mistake. The shadow rushes forward, spilling over my teeth, stretching my jaw to breaking as it dives down to feed on my soul. My last sound dies in my throat as my heart explodes in my chest, and as my brain grows dim I get my first glimpse of the afterlife and begin screaming for real.