Night silently pressed the window before me.
I stood barefoot by the kitchen sink.
One hand is on the cool tile counter, the other tipping a short glass of tap water down my parched throat.
I put the glass down with a click, my gasping breath jaggedly cutting the dense quiet.
How long have I been in here?
Streaks of mud, light, screams and horror danced in my foggy head. Memories from a sleep not thick enough to insulate me from dark seeds in my mind. Nightmares that sprouted, coiled, and sprang to life, pushing me from my bed in a pulse-racing sweaty flurry.
The protective corners of my brain kick in, sending me on a quest of distraction before I’m even aware of the walking. Somehow allowing me to open doors, navigate the house at night without consciousness.
I need to get back to bed before I’m discovered.
The pads of my bony white feet press gently, yet still echo in the short wood-paneled hall, as I creep past my parents’ door.
I stop at mine, guide the door open, slip in and move it closed behind me without breathing.
In the far corner sits an oasis. The island of dreams and nightmares, floating atop a sea of black.
Sleep weighs my lids into a slow blink. My spine craves to curl beneath the covers.
But my bare ankles tingle with vulnerability, keeping my back pressed against the door.
They do not trust the shadows they must pass, and shoot a frightened tickle up deep inside my belly.
My legs anxiously dance as the mystery of the hour slowly nibbles at the edges of my bedroom, pushing me away from the door, leaving me stranded in the electric expanse of sleepy imagination.
My eyes count the strides it will take to cross a faded lavender rug, spot the open arms of thrown-back blankets.
I wiggle and shake at the feeling of a breathy breeze coming from beneath my bed, the stretch of invisible open palms waiting for me to get within reach.
Glassy eyes on a deliciously dented pillow, I bolt and leap, tucking my knees up, bounding in, snapping the sheets shut over, around my legs. Tucking, protecting.
I lay flat back, staring up at the speckled ceiling, slowing my drumming heart.
Up here, nothing can get me.
I feel the presence begin to fade, slip back into its black chambers below me.
I fold one last flap of sheet under my heels, lay back, and nervously assure myself that this time when I fall asleep, there will be happier tales to carry me through until morning.
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This post was in response to The Lightning and the Lightning-Bug Flicker of Inspiration Prompt.
You’ve had nightmares; we all have.
Everyone has them. This week, I want you to write it down.
Take your nightmare, or just something that scares you personally, and write a story based on it.. Share your fears and nightmares, give them to your readers.
That is your goal this week.
Yes, I have crazily vivid dreams and nightmares.
Yes, I have been known to talk, hit and walk in my sleep.
But NOTHING gives me a serious case of the Heebie Jeebies like wondering what is under my bed at night and whether it wants to snack on my ankles.
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