I Awoke One Night

            I wasn’t sure if my eyes were open or not; all I could see was a velvet curtain of black. At first, I wasn’t even sure that I was awake until a weak, hazy purple light began to penetrate at the corners of my vision, spreading across my eyes until I could make out the shape of my ceiling fan. I was certain that I was awake now, but I didn’t move. I just lay there, trying to identify the source that had wrenched me out of my dreams. Trafalgar was barking, his deep baying penetrated the door to the room he slept in, echoing through the house and beating a pulse around my ears.

                I threw my feet over the side of the bed and, without making a sound, I gingerly stepped down. Instead of hard, rough wooden floor, my toes became tangled in a warm mass of stringy hair. My heart leaped upward. Hard. I almost choked on the thick ball of fear that lodged itself in my throat. I didn’t scream, though. I never scream.  A rhythm began to thump steadily on the bedpost. I smiled sheepishly at myself as I reached down to run my fingers through L.D.’s soft fur.  She wagged her tail nervously.

                “What's the matter, puppy? Is the thunder scary?” I listened intently as I absentmindedly stroked her ears. I couldn’t hear any distant rumbles, but L.D. always got nervous far before we could ever hear the coming storm. Still, it made me nervous that she was nervous, and I didn’t remember anything on the forecast about rain.


                I stood up, slowly, silently, and moved towards my door, walking smoothly and silently, toe-to-heel. I pressed the brass knob of my door inward as I turned it, so the metal wouldn't scream. The door hinges were greased, but I still felt apprehensive as I pulled the door open. As I glided out, I listened for the familiar click of L.D.’s toenails that followed me closely every time it stormed. They didn’t follow me this time; L.D. stayed under the bed.

                Out on the landing it was much easier to see. The light from the uncurtained bay window spilled onto the landing and formed pools of silver onto the floor, seeping into the golden grain of the wood panels, glowing in the honey wood. I grabbed the banister lightly, using it to steady my sleep-encumbered body as I flowed down the steps. The noises were still soft and stifled, but they became louder as I turned towards the kitchen. A fuzzy light clung to the corners of the hall, emanating from the kitchen, and it grew stronger and more defined as I followed the source. The long runner muffled my footsteps so that I no longer had to make an effort at silence. I stepped softly along the hallway. The woven flowers and birds of the long carpet were corrupted by the darkness, morphed into grotesque, monstrous shapes.

                 I peered around the corner, viewing the kitchen through a mirror on the opposite wall. There were men in my house. Big men, in dark clothes.

The End

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