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Ten-year-old Lily clutched her stuffed bunny,

Boredom had been her initial foe,

By Arfa QureshiPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
arfa qureshi

Ten-year-old Lily clutched her stuffed bunny, its button eyes staring blankly back at her in the oppressive darkness. Every creak of the old house sounded like a monster's footfall, every gust of wind an approaching breath. She was alone. Her parents, doctors both, had been called to the hospital for an emergency, leaving her with a fridge full of healthy snacks and a mountain of terror.

Boredom had been her initial foe, vanquished by an hour of cartoons. But with the sun gone, shadows stretched like grasping claws, and imagination painted the familiar living room with unseen horrors. Each floorboard groan became a tortured whisper, the rhythmic drip from the bathroom faucet a chilling heartbeat.

Lily sought refuge in her fort, a blanket-draped haven on the living room floor. Inside, the bunny felt less lonely, but the prickling unease remained. It started with a distant tapping, faint against the wind. At first, she dismissed it as the branches of the old oak scraping against the window. But the tapping grew more insistent, a methodical rhythm that gnawed at her nerves.

She peeked out cautiously, the bunny clutched to her chest. Nothing. Except... the back door, slightly ajar. Her heart hammered against her ribs. It had been locked when she last checked. A cold dread filled her stomach, heavy and metallic. Had she forgotten? No, impossible. Panic gnawed at her. Something was inside.

Lily froze, fear paralyzing her. Should she call her parents? The phone was on the kitchen counter, far away and impossibly loud in the quiet house. What if "it" heard her? The tapping started again, closer this time, accompanied by a low, guttural moan. Tears welled up in her eyes, blurring her vision.

Thinking fast, she grabbed a flashlight from her drawer, its meager beam a beacon of hope in the encroaching darkness. Creeping on tiptoe, she inched towards the kitchen, her breath shallow and erratic. The tapping led her down the hallway, past her parents' closed bedroom door, the silence inside even more unsettling than the tapping.

The kitchen was bathed in an eerie blue light filtering through the window. The back door creaked open further, the tapping replaced by a raspy scraping sound. Lily gripped the flashlight tighter, her knuckles white. Taking a deep breath, she pointed the beam at the door.

A pair of glowing eyes met hers. Red. Malevolent. A low growl rumbled from the creature's throat, sending shivers down her spine. It was no burglar, no animal. This was something else, something monstrous.

Panic threatened to consume her, but a wave of anger, hot and unexpected, surged through her. This was her house, her haven. This thing wouldn't win. Taking another shaky breath, Lily aimed the flashlight directly at the eyes and yelled, "Go away!"

Her voice, small and trembling, echoed in the silence. The creature recoiled, the red eyes blinking in the sudden brightness. In the brief respite, Lily saw its form – hunched, skeletal, with fur the color of ash. It snarled, a sound that tore at her eardrums, but didn't advance.

Heart pounding, Lily remembered her dad's words about facing fears. She raised the flashlight higher, voice gaining strength, "This is my house! Get out!"

The creature hesitated, its form flickering in the light. With a final guttural growl, it retreated back through the open door, disappearing into the night. The tapping ceased, replaced by an unsettling silence.

Lily stood there, shaking, the flashlight beam trembling in her hand. It was gone. She had done it. A sob escaped her lips, relief washing over her like a tidal wave. She collapsed onto the kitchen floor, tears streaming down her face, the bunny clutched to her chest.

The rest of the night was a blur. She curled up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, the faint light of the TV casting flickering shadows on the wall. Every sound made her jump, but the fear was tinged with a newfound pride. She had faced her terror and won.

When her parents finally arrived, their faces etched with worry, they found her asleep, the bunny clutched in her hand, a faint smile playing on her lips. They rushed to her side, showering her with hugs and apologies. But Lily just held up the flashlight, its beam pointed towards the back door.

Her dad, a man who had seen countless medical horrors, went pale. He understood. The smile on Lily's face wasn't just from relief, but from a newfound strength, a knowledge that she could face anything, even the monsters that lurk in the dark. The house might have been quiet that night, but within its walls, a different kind of courage had bloomed, a courage born from fear and a flashlight, a courage that would stay with Lily long after the

urban legend

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