Five hours until daybreak. Five hours until my nyctophobia settles down. Five hours until I can escape from this horrendous place. Five hours until I’m done with this.
Hyperventilating, I peeked out from the closet where I was concealed, searching for that atrocity. It wasn’t in the room with me, but I could hear it breathing heavily outside the locked room. I quietly closed the closet door, and, hearing the creature walk away, sighed in relief.
It was only a matter of minutes before I needed to pee. Why now? It was one of the worst times, if not the worst, to have to go to the bathroom. I wanted to relieve my bladder, but judging by the current conditions that this mansion was in, the bathroom would be smelly and unsanitary. There was also a very high chance that I would encounter that thing. With its blue crepe-like skin, sharp claws and teeth, and skinny figure, it does not seem friendly at all. In fact, it is the complete opposite. Hostile grunts and hisses are the only noises it makes.
On the other hand, holding my pee for five hours doesn’t seem pleasant either. Weighing my options, I decided to stay in the closet and hope for morning to come quickly. Still hyperventilating and sweating excessively, I longed for a blast of cold air. I was lucky that the creature was not as intelligent as I thought it was.
My nyctophobia only got worse. I was starting to have an anxiety attack. I felt my chest squeeze tighter; I was breathing too quickly. I yearned to get out of the closet, but I was relying on it for my survival. How did I get here in the first place?
Fifteen minutes passed, then another fifteen. My eyelids became heavy boulders, my body felt like a log balancing on a pin. I was starting to lose consciousness.
Come on. Come on. Don’t fall asleep. You know what will happen if you do, Trey. You’ll snore, and that thing will get you.
I felt around in my pockets, looking for snacks. No luck in the left, but my fumbling hands felt a lump in the right. Reaching in, I found a raisin cookie. I gobbled the whole thing, the sugar spike a welcome relief, but the starchiness dried out my throat. Now I was truly caught in a dilemma: terrible thirst and the pressing need to urinate. Badly.
I had no other choice but to climb, quietly, painstakingly, out of the stuffy closet to relieve myself in the corner. I opened the closet door slowly, making sure I was alone in the room. Praying the floor wouldn’t creak, I put one foot out, then the other, exposing my body to the cold air flowing through the shattered window. The door to the room was still locked. That was good.
I relieved myself as quickly as I could, then scrambled back into the closet.
I waited in eerie silence for what seemed like eons, praying for daybreak to come. Time really does slow down when you have no source of entertainment. After what seemed to be an eternity, I peeked out of the closet and saw a snippet of light in the sky. The alarm clock across the room displayed 6:00 a.m. I could finally leave the mansion.
Slowly, I crept out of the closet once more and gingerly unlocked the door. My caution evaporated once I was in the hallway. Adrenaline took over, and I felt my heart pumping as I sprinted down the stairs to the entrance of the building. I was going to get out of here fast.
But it beat me there. Its milky white eyes settled on me and it lunged. Panic and fear filled my mind. I was going to be ripped to shreds. I was going to look like I had been put in a food processor. My organs would fly out and my blood would create a beautiful, horrendous artwork on the floor and walls.
But instead, I opened my eyes to blackness.
Everything around me was black: the air, the surface I stood on. My nyctophobia reared up again. I was both sweating and chilled. I felt my panic rise. I looked around for some light, desperate for this empty vacuum of space to not be real. This was my worst nightmare.
Then, a faint light popped out in the darkness; it was a hologram of a game screen. It glared with the strength of a phone screen, blinding me. Once my vision cleared, I beheld the words on the screen: GAME OVER in crimson red, the font written as if in blood. More words appeared under it. TRY AGAIN, it coaxed. A cursor emerged from the right side of the screen and hovered over the TRY AGAIN button. I heard a click, and the space around me started to shake violently. I saw black goo dripping down to the floor, piling up near the edges.
All the black melted, revealing a familiar hallway decorated with red velvet with gold trimmings. A chandelier hung above, illuminating the dim corridor. There were two staircases, also decorated with the same red velvet and gold lace, that led to the second floor. A grandfather clock stood in the hallway. A line of large windows letting sunlight come in.
In one blink, however, the place turned from a cheerful, warm paradise to a depressing, cold hell. There was shattered glass everywhere, the red velvet carpets were caked with dust and
debris, and the walls seemed to be prying themselves away from the structure. Scratch marks covered the floor, and blood was puddled on the carpet as if something had died there not long ago.
It took me a moment to realize, but when I did, the blood rushed from my face, my hands, and my legs. I ran down the hallway and up to the second floor, stepping in the pool of blood as I did. I scrambled to find my sanctuary, my locked room, my closet. Passing by a grandfather clock, I glanced at the time.
It was 1:00 a.m.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.