My March at Midnight

Darkness. Despite the fact that I was awake, I could not see. To the left, to the right, up, and down I looked, but only darkness. I knew my surroundings; my bed was just to my right, my closet to the left, and the doorway about three paces straight ahead. Blindly I shuffled my way toward the door, careful not to trip on any of the unseen objects that I knew were scattered across the floor in my room. My arms stuck out helplessly, grasping for the doorknob. My sight was still nonexistent, and I felt completely useless without 20% of my senses. Then I turned on the lights.

Again, I was blinded, but in a different way. The lights sent my eyes into shock, and I immediately flung my arm back toward the light switch, flipping it down with authority. Losing the gift of sight paled in comparison to the pain of letting my eyes adjust to the light.

My mission was anything but simple: to make it to the bathroom and back without dying. Although I had only 18 years of age, those were 18 years of experience in completing this mission. My bladder was at the point of explosion, and I couldn't manage to hold it in. I noticed the clock indicated 12:51 when I glanced back to see how far I had already come. As my eyes began to adjust to the extreme darkness, I saw the three paces that I had already taken, and turned around to look down the hallway, which seemed never-ending in the blackness. How would I ever survive the dangerous trek down the hallway without tripping, running into a wall, or getting eaten by a monster?

Despite my uneasiness, I began my journey, taking small, careful steps. My eyes could vaguely see the walls to my left and right from the few rays of moonlight streaming in from my bedroom window behind me, but they could see nothing else as I cautiously inched forward. There was a turn ahead, but I could only speculate as to where it actually was. Guessing that I had taken about four real steps since leaving my bedroom, I figured that there were about four more steps to be taken before the hallway made a 90° right turn.

One step. Still safe. Another step. I could still see nothing, but I sensed that I was still a good distance from the turn. A third step. The moonlight no longer illuminated my surroundings, and my world became pitch black. One more step would be needed to make the turn, and I put my left foot out slowly, to make sure I hadn’t gone too far toward the wall. As my foot stepped down, a sigh of relief was let out, since the most treacherous part of my journey had been completed without injury. But as I finished my step and the rest of my body moved forward, I felt a smack against my face. I had found the wall.

Apparently, my left foot was just centimeters from the wall, and as my step was completed, my body, and more importantly, my face had moved forward into the space that the wall currently occupied. While the pain was sharp, the most concerning issue was the loud thud that my collision had made. The monster might have been awakened. Just around the corner was a closet, and it was common knowledge that this closet was home to the monster of my house. Sometimes he lived under the bed, but his most frequented residence was, in fact, the closet in the hallway.

As I crept closer to the closet, my fears rose with every step. The closet was approximately only three steps away now, and my mind began to think of ways to defend myself if the monster attacked. Should I just sprint ahead toward the bathroom at the end of the hall, but risk running too far and slipping as the carpet turned to tile? What if the door was closed? Running would surely lead me straight into the door, and I would be trapped between a closed door and a hungry monster. Should I try to fight him? No one had actually ever seen the monster, but I knew it would be anything but nice. There was a baseball bat back in my room, but would making the trek back to my room even be worth the risk? I decided just to venture on and hope for the best.

Inch by inch, I shuffled forward, straining my ears for any noise of the monster stirring. At this point, due to my increased fear, my wasted time, and the two bottles of water I drank before going to bed, my bladder was about ready to burst. As my pace picked up ever so slightly, a creak came from my right. Surely the monster had heard my collision with the wall, and it was just now beginning to wake up from its slumber. Again my pace quickened, this time up to a sort of speed walk, but not so fast that I wasn't able to sense my exact location in the hallway. Another noise rang out, and I could have sworn I heard a doorknob turn. Certainly now, in the hallway, the monster must have been accelerating after me at that very moment. Just as my movement turned into a light jog, I felt the tile beneath my feet, closed the door as quickly as I could, and let out a sigh of relief.

Again I found myself in the dark, but this was a new kind of blackness, ever darker than pitch. My hand patted the wall for minutes in search of the light switch. At last, my fingers found the switch and took much care in making sure to turn on the switch for the shower light, as to not blind myself again with the normal lights. The shower lights came on, giving me just enough light to let me do my business. I relieved myself, and then started formulating a strategy on how to make the trek back to the safety of my bedroom:

Step 1 – Open the bathroom door, and don't forget to turn off the light.
Step 2 – Do not get eaten by the monster in the closet. It had likely gone back to sleep for good, so this was not a huge deal.
Step 3 – Make the left turn without running into the wall. Again.
Step 4 – Don't die between the turn and my bedroom.
Step 5 – Make it back into my bed, and proceed to fall asleep.

Simple enough, I thought to myself. Finish five easy steps and I'd have made it safely. I stopped, collected myself, and then stepped out of the now opened bathroom door.

Now that the first step had been completed, I started to walk down the hallway. Just as I was about to reach the closet, I remembered that I actually hadn't finished the first step. The hallway was dimly lit, due to my forgetting to turn off the bathroom light. If I could forget such a simple task, how could I ever make it past the more difficult steps? Retracing my steps, I went back to the bathroom, re-collected myself, and began the process again, this time actually completing each and every part of the first step.

Step #2 was next, and my confidence was rising. With my now empty bladder, I felt light on my feet and as agile as ever. I nimbly skipped past the closet without even giving the monster a second thought. While I walked right on past the monster's residence, I began thinking of my next and most difficult step, making the ever-dreaded turn.

One step. Two steps. Three steps. I must have been right about at the turn, and I rotated my body to the left and began to walk. I knew that I made the turn without smacking my face against the wall like on the first trip. My confidence was now sky high, just like the moon that I could now see hanging lonesomely in the sky through the window in my bedroom. The light lit up the hallway slightly, just enough for me to see that my turn had been near perfect.

I strolled back into my bedroom, happier than ever. I'd made the journey without dying, a terrific task. Many times before I had sustained serious injuries such as a stubbed toe, a scraped face (much worse than I had just done), and a bruised ego. Satisfied with my journey, I sat down on my bed and gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done. But as I heard the sound of my hand slapping my back, another sound, this one foreign, came from the window area.

My hand stopped mid-pat. The sound, a sort of tapping, continued, and I quickly realized that my adventure was not yet over. Was someone trying to break into my house via a second-story window? Unlikely, but not impossible. No, it's probably just a bird, but are birds still awake in the middle of the night? Had the monster escaped the closet and traveled to outside my house to torment me? Or had it called up some of its other monster buddies to prepare for a full-fledged attack? After analyzing the sound for a full five minutes, I concluded that it was merely a tree branch being blown into the glass, and I went to sleep, relieved in every way possible.





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