I had a gnawing sense that I wasn’t in my body, but it was quickly swallowed up by fear and biological needs. I needed to pee, but the air was eerily silent and still. There was an electric charge to it that prickled at my skin.
It’s quiet. Too quiet. It’s so quiet my breathing seems loud in the night air. It isn’t the silence or my breathing that bothers me, though. What bothers me is I can hear someone else’s breath. I hold my breath testing to see if it is just my imagination, but no the breathing continues even as I hold mine. It is jagged like a smoker’s rasp and evil giggles burble out of it with malicious intent.
The fear of whose breathing it might belong to leaves an icy feeling in my veins and clings to my chest. Panic rises in me, and I wonder if I should stay there or if there was a safer place to run to. There is a shadow of a wicked looking being imprinted on my wall that is made perfect by the full moon glistening outside my window.
A gnawing sense niggles at the back of my mind. This can’t be real I thought as I look outside my cloud of fear for a moment, trying to find something rational to ease the mounting panic seizing me. I realize it is in fact not my wall, that the bed I lay in is oriented in the wrong position and my room is littered with boys' toys. I look cautiously down with just my eyes to assess myself further without moving. I have dinosaurs on my bedspread and the burning need to relieve myself feels awkward. Even stranger still, I know the name of the body I possess, and I know the layout of his home and everything else he experienced in his lifetime, but it is not me.
The shadow of the being morphs into a terrifying creature and admits a blood curdling noise that could not be fathomed. Terror ignites a spark in me that takes over my limbs I am in the boy’s parents’ room before I could even fathom blinking. I stand on the threshold of their room. The noise of their breathing peaceful. It calms me and I begin to think the noise and the shadow shifting shapes were just a figment of my imagination, but something in the darkness behind me makes the hair on the back of my neck prickle. I run the remaining steps to the bed and dive between his parents.
They both stir but are too far in their slumber to care and subconsciously accommodate me between them. I feel safe again and go into a light slumber. I am upset when I wake up and I am still stuck in this boy’s body especially since the boy’s bladder feels like it is going to burst.
I look around the dark waiting for my eyes to adjust. Nothing seems amiss, so I quickly scramble out of the bed and into the master bathroom. I pull down my pants, wondering if I would have to get use to this life when I hear the breathing again.
I turn to go back to my..., well not my parents, his parents when I see through the crack of the door the beast from before in the room. He is leering over the bed. His parents stir to find themselves faced with a monster. The mother screams and writhes. The beast's eyes dance with excitement at the noise seeming to drink it in as he slowly dragged a long sharp fingernail down her sternum to her belly button.
The father was recoiling from the monster and his wife’s gore. He looked on petrified, before seizing his senses. He skittered out of bed, grabbing a gun as the creature ripped open the mother's stomach as if she had been a bag housing take out. It lowered its head into the cavity of the now dead woman. The creature took in a mouth full and eyed the man with curious boredom as he slurped up his wife's entrails like spaghetti noodles.
The odd silence that clawed at the air in this creature’s presence was pierced by the gun firing five times in the direction of the monster. The gun fire seemed muted and missed its mark. The father fell to the floor and an unbearable settled as death descended into the room. Then the licking and sucking and bones breaking filling my ears. I continue to watch unable to look away and frozen there by fear.
The beast finishes. I am making my body extra rigid and hold my breath in anticipation. I knew instinctively not to make a noise or movement as I watch it makes its way to the window. It morphs back into a man; a twisted crooked mangled man, but a man none the less and I want to vomit. The man looks around. With a wicked smile on his face, he walks over to the closet and pulls out some of my, no I correct myself; I mean the boy’s father’s clothes. He then leaves through the window.
I hold my breath until I see his form being swallowed up by the shadows. I let a long release escape my lips and instantly regret it. He must have heard me and turned back. The glint of his red eyes gleam out of the gloom and I know he is coming back for me. I race out of the bathroom like bunny running from prey. I know I am not safe in this house. I am not safe outside either, but logic tells me there are more places to run, so I run frantically to the front door. I open it to find him already standing there and my heart leaps into my throat as urine trickles down my leg.
The man/creature gives me a wicked grin, “ I have been looking for you boy. Is she watching us?” His eyes are black holes that swallow me up and I am lost.
“Wake up! Wake up!” A slap descended on my face, wrenching me back to the comforting arms of reality.
I registered the clean noisy night air being pierced only by the sound of cicadas and the rustle of the wind through my window. I took in my bearings. The dull glow of my night light illuminated the worry lines on the familiar face of my mother. I could feel her strong kind arms enveloping me in love and care and from behind her shoulder I could see we were alone and safe. An unfathomable relief surged through me, and I buried myself in my mother’s embrace.
I wept then not just out relief but out of sorrow and hatred for myself. For, I knew deep down that I had truly forsaken someone in those vile recesses. I had allowed myself to flee. I suppressed that thought immediately. What could I have possibly done to stop it. I was dreaming. I wasn’t there. I had no control. I was safe now and I did not want that abhorrent experience again. I tried fiercely to drive away the icy knot laid there by evil by seeking further comfort. “Mommy, it was terrible,” I sobbed.
“It all right. It was just a dream, and you are safe now,” she said fortifying my denial and setting me more at ease. Still, I could not bear be to alone to process the sickening scenes I had witnessed.
“But mommy,” I whined, “I am scared.” I needed to tell her and I was too young to voice the true horror I had witnessed. I could not even explain to her how I knew deep down it was real. I already knew I would not be believed, but she needed to understand there was a need to be worried.
She looked down at me her worry now replaced with signs of annoyance. Panic at being left alone and my fear of rebuke outweighed my need to relay the terror of the night, so I cried shamelessly harder. She understood I would be difficult if she tried to keep me in my room, so she gave in. “All right you can sleep with me and daddy,” she said in a light airy voice to keep me calm.
I let out a sigh of relief and dried my tears as I follow my mom through the dark hallway of our house being sure to stay close to her as the last bits of light give way to shadows. She lets me crawl into bed first and gives me a kiss before slipping in herself. She fell asleep rubbing my back, but even with her soothing touch I could not fall into the same bliss. I know the evil that lurks in the shadows of the night, so I spent the rest of the night looking into their depths waiting for the evil that might step out.
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