In the DARK...

January 31, 2008
By Michelle Bosinger-Shannon, Las Vegas, NV

I write this, trying in vain to steady my hand, as I sit in the tub in my bathroom. I am afraid for my life. The shower curtain is closed, and I strain to see through the blue haze. I keep my frantic and careful watch of the closed, locked and reinforced bathroom door. It is a comfort to be able to see the door yet know that anything that may come through cannot initially see me. However, it is not such a comfort if the creature has the intelligence to pull back the frail curtain and find me trapped within…

I glance through the curtain, certain I have heard the semblance of a claw against the door. There is still a bit of water, now cold in the bottom of the tub; I can feel it soak trough my socks. My notebook rests on my thighs as I sit in almost a fetal position.

I suppose if this is to be my last testament, I ought to explain the circumstances by which I was forced into this predicament.

As it is every night, I was the last of my family to leave the downstairs for my warm bed. Therefore, I am the person to lock the doors and turn off the lights. After this deed is done, I am the last to walk the fearful expanse of the hall and stairway to the sanctity of my room. And every night, I have an inexplicable and terrifying feeling that I am not only being watched, but followed for a short time. As a product of this fear, I have made it a point never to look in the space that contains the emptiness of the dark behind me until it is once more daylight.

On this night, I made a life altering and possibly life ending mistake. I was ready to go to sleep, so I turned off the television and was left with an eerie sense of emptiness that sudden silence brings. I turned off the light in the living room, and trailed my hand along the wall, feeling for the hallway light switch, determined not to look behind me. I found the switch and continued my journey through blackness so thick I was choking. I heard an extraneous shuffling sound in addition to the pad of my feet on the carpet. This was normal, as long as I pretended it wasn’t there. I went halfway up the stairs and the urge that I had resisted every night prior caught me in its clutches. I did not wish to turn and face the fear that had pulled at the back of my consciousness for ages, for the intellectual part of my mind screamed that I should not do so. My body, though, seemed on a different plane, disconnected from my brain. Though I fought a few minutes to refuse the impulse, it had me. I glanced down into the hallway.

What there met my eyes was some Lovecraftian horror I shall struggle to describe. I saw eyes that were naught but pools of evil, deep and full of an unnerving intelligence. The flesh around its eyes was shriveled and wet looking, the rest of the skin writhing, moving, continuously in and out of focus and merging with the darkness. It felt like years that my stare was fastened. My mind finally took over then and forced my body to heed its desperate cries to run. I bolted the short expanse from the stairway to the bathroom; all the while feeling like the creature was at my back, breathing on my neck. I ran faster than ever before in my short life, but it must have been a century before I reached my destination. I held my notebook tight as I ran, as I had planned to write some fanciful romance in which the characters were beatific and unreal as the Greek and Roman statues are. I saw every detail that I flew by with more clarity than I had when studying them. The earthy colours of the paintings on the wall were vibrant and alive, despite the dark. I made it to the bathroom, slamming the door, stumbling, my hands shaking as I fumbled to lock it. I tapped the light on as I backed away from the door to the bathtub.
Now here I am, cowering in the tub. I can hear it. I only hope it does not have the ability to find me, for I am certain it will vanish at dawn, along with all the other common creatures of the dark. But until I can be positive, I will wait…

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