She listens carefully. Finally, the desperate screaming and violent pounding stop. And one by one, they piece themselves together, assembling in pitch. Part of her, not her. Foreign. And foreign feels deliberate, there’s so much that she does know. They were never meant to be a reality, yet the doorknob jiggles and the deafening thuds resume. She tries to wish them away, hoping they will leave. But she can’t hide under the false comfort of her covers forever. Something will always find you. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. They won’t leave now, not now, not for a while. Perhaps never. She just has to wait. Wait for something, anything to happen. Agony seeps through her, like a drop of dark ink falling onto white paper, and it is slowly cracking her resolve. Where does one go when fear grasps you by the throat, choking you, then immediately letting go? Nowhere, really. You exist, not knowing that your thoughts will scare you more than anything else. So she can only take shaky breaths, quietly, fearfully, because if she breathes too fast or makes a noise she’s a goner.
No one wants to be trapped. It is never our first choice. There is a part of everyone that wants to fight, to break free, to not be controlled. And this young girl is descended from fierce and noble warriors, yet here she sits, afraid, unable to move, because of what monsters might lie beneath her bed, or what could be hiding in her closet, or what lurks outside her door. Moments pass. She finds small, temporary comfort in the steadiness of the mechanical heartbeat on the wall, and the timid wind outside. The moon shines and softly graces the nature outside, pouring through her window and dimly illuminating her room. Try as she might to ignore it, she swears that she can hear slow footsteps, but she doesn’t fully trust her paranoid and feverish mind. Yet her fear only grows. The door doesn’t swing open, or open at all, but she still feels a presence enter the room. One presence. She thought there were more. At least, there should have been more. Panic, her brain tells her.
Though the room is somewhat dark, it dims, as if the curtains that she doesn’t possess have been drawn to shut all light out. Whatever it is, it’s here with her, bringing despair with it, draining the room of whatever comfort was there. It drags its distorted body along the scratchy carpet, letting out the occasional yet quiet chitter. Up the bed it crawls, lazily, calmly reaching out for her immortal soul. It won’t stop, and maybe the slow steadiness of the thing’s motion is what truly is unnerving. She screams for help, but finds her voice incapable of producing any sound, as if it had been coated with thick, black, tar. Her heartbeat increases and soon that is all she can hear, filling her ears as if it were a war drum.
And then- silence. She cracks open her brown eyes, not realizing that they were even shut. She relaxes a bit. Maybe it was never there. Maybe it is gone. Upon further inspection, she notices that before her is a skeletal hand. Thin. Frail. Dead? Her eyes widen; her heart drops. Something switches in her. In that moment, she tries to fight. She tries to summon the courage she doesn’t have and escape what awaits her. But for reasons beyond her knowledge, she stops. A sudden surge of curiosity overtakes the girl, compelling her to reach out and touch the monster that haunts her. But before she can, it suddenly seizes her wrist. This time, she doesn’t try to scream, or yell, or whisper, or speak. And she doesn’t try move. Her free arm is frozen straight at her side, and her legs and clammy feet are stiff. It’s almost as if she’s ceased to be a person, but rather a toy soldier. But toy soldiers don’t feel the panic that she does. The owner of the wrinkly, old, bony skin fully emerges from the shadows. It is familiar, as all fears somehow are. “It is here to take me. It is here to kill me.” She thinks. But with delayed horror, the girl comes to a realization. Her gaze looks through it and sees something else. She suddenly realizes, and decides, that the creature she has feared throughout the night is actually her.