Annie turned the light off. Once underneath the black of night, the walls came alive with things, the likes of which she had never seen. Long necks, feathered beaks pecking at their own pale flesh; their legs, short and thick, were covered in spikes that rustled like trees in a stern breeze. They were animals, from some world other than her own.
She stood, still frozen, between her bed and the doorway, assessing both routes for a safe escape. The covers on her bed, she knew, were shields against the most harrowing of enemies (which, of course, these were.) But outside that doorway and a quick sprint down the hall, her father slept. Even in the darkness, he would protect her. Just like he had from the ghosts on Easter night and the giant bugs she swore and invaded her closet last fall. He wasn’t afraid of anything, ever. He didn’t even cry at the doctor. And he had to go there a lot.
Annie jumped - she heard something coming from the direction of her bed. Faint as it was, she heard it. And she ran, her legs weary with fear - out the door and down the hall, her feet slapping down onto carpet all the way.
“Dad! Daddy!” she screamed for him like a firework bursting through the door. “Daddy, it’s…there’s something…dad!”
She looked up from her father’s sleeping face to see her mother, sitting silent on the edge of the bed. Her eyes stared, blank as a doll’s, but they were glistening wet. Annie’s gut dropped from her body. A terrifying sensation took hold as she struggled for a breath. She tried to call to him one more time, to scream, “Wake up!” But she couldn’t, and she knew he couldn’t either.
Who would save her now, she wondered, as she fell to the floor - the bird things, the ghosts, the snakes and the rats closing in all around her. Once again the lights went out, and Annie thought she might drown in the dark. She wanted to.
** Back posting after a long hiatus from the blog! This was a popcorn writing exercise with the Surat Warriors. Required words were: light, underneath, walls, flesh, breeze, between, escape, darkness, ghosts, faint, weary, silent, sensation,
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