Afraid of the Dark

A light scratching noise wakes me. My eyes flare open, sweep the room. Before I can think, my hand is under my pillow, wrapped tightly around the flashlight hidden there. I curl up into a ball, my arms wrapping around my legs.

The sound comes from my closet. They’re trying to get out again. Trying to feed. I cover my ears with my pillow, squashing my head into the mattress. It doesn’t help. I know they’re there. I know what they are.

A noise comes from under the bed. A slow, scraping noise. My stomach clenches and a scream catches in my throat. They’re lifting the floorboard… they’re coming. Slithers and hisses combine with chuckles and footsteps as they filter out. Sudden weight at the edge of my bed makes me freeze. I don’t move. I don’t breathe. They are here. The weight shifts. I don’t dare look up. It’s getting closer. Closer. Cold breath on my neck… goosebumps raise on my arms… a shiver runs down my spine. The pressure lessens. It’s retreating. This is not a comforting thought.

Suddenly I remember the flashlight. My grip on it tightens. In one move I sit up and click the flashlight on. The brilliance of the beam in the darkness of my room has me squinting. but I can see them running. They scamper away in search of shelter. I turn the beam on a small one that has gotten caught up in my sheets. The light burns its silvery flesh, leaving a horrid stench behind it. It bares its tiny yellow teeth at me. They’re not very sharp… not as sharp as some I’ve seen. Still, they could do some damage. I keep the beam focused on it, watching as it tries to untangle itself from my bed sheets. The light slices into its skin.

It unhooks its limbs from the bedclothes and scampers under the bed. I hear a thud as the floorboard slides back into place. With a small smile I place the flashlight under my pillow and settle back to sleep. They won’t bother me again tonight.

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