She opened her eyes to darkness. Familiar shadows
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coalesced from the night. It was only a dream, she
thought, just a dream. She stared, unbelieving, at the dark.
Her ears strained for sound, the faintest rustle, the softest
growl. She imagined something reaching from the floor,
reaching over the bed, touching her foot.
from the edge. She thought, a dream. It was only a dream.
She listened to the dark. Nothing was there. Nothing. Then
she noticed the closet door, ajar by one or two
inches. She was certain she had closed it. Fear twisted
in her throat. She imagined something moving, something
dark on the floor, something searching for her.
perfectly still. She listened to the dark. She could hear
her heart beating, her heart pounding. She could hear a faint
rustle beneath her bed. Don't move, don't move, she thought, don't
scream. She imagined something rising, turning slowly
toward her heartbeat, seeing her. "Someone help me!" she cried.
Nothing happened. No movement. No rustle.
She pulled the bedsheet to her chin. Darkness pressed upon
her, watching, waiting for her to fall asleep. Tears ran
hot into the cold pillow. She kept her eyes tightly
open. Her body throbbed with time. Her muscles threatened
to relax, but there would be no rest, she knew, until
day edged its way around the window shade.