14 readings

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One step. Another one. Focus. One foot in front of the other. So close. Thoughts jumbled.

*creak*

Your blood freezes. Sweat, slowly, slides down your back. You shiver. Maybe you’re just being paranoid. Maybe the exhaustion is setting in. Maybe the pain is making you imagine things. But it’s just a sprained ankle. You’ve dealt with sprained ankles enough in the past. It isn’t even that painful, right? Don’t look.

Don’t move. Nothing. Silence.

Keep moving. Back to before. Step, step, step. Slowly you will make it. A slight wind blows past. The chill settles into your bones. Just a draft, maybe a window’s open. It doesn’t matter, you’re so close now, you can imagine the sweet scent of escape. Almost there.
You reach out with your hand, your fingers stretch towards the handle.

“Stop”

Was that in your head? A whisper of a word, quiet enough for you to question yourself but loud enough to make its way into your originally calm composure. Your brain screams at you to just yank the door open and run out, but your muscles refuse to respond. A soft whimper escapes you. This can’t be real. This has to be a figment of your imagination.

Think about the breathing exercises Dr. Godragon recommended. Square breathing. Focus on something, breath in on one side, breath out on the other. You try this and time passes. Maybe a couple seconds, maybe 20 minutes, it doesn’t matter. You need to re-focus; you need to get through this.

Slowly, your heart slows to a normal pace, your muscles seem to be back in your control. Good. Your hand lands on the handle, it’s cold smooth surface feels right in your hands. You push it down and push the door outwards.

*dong dong dong*

The sound of the clock strikes midnight, but it’s okay, you’ve made it. You see the faint flicker of candlelight through the crack of another door to your left. You’re not alone. Everything is fine.

You make your way down the hall and walk into your bedroom. Everything looks just as it was when you left. So your imagination really is playing tricks on you. All you wanted to do was get a glass of water in the middle of the night. Clumsily, you tripped over something and sprained your ankle. There’s nothing to worry about. It’s the same home you’ve lived in for the past 12 years. You hate it when your nightmares follow you into reality, making you paranoid.

You yawn and get into bed. You’ll need to get some sleep to be ready for your exam tomorrow. Just as your eyelids fall heavy, you peek over at your clock. 12:30. Weird. Wasn’t it just midnight a couple minutes ago? You yawn again and turn over to sleep.

*creak*

The first one is too quiet and you ignore it. Probably just the sounds of an old house.

*creak*

This one’s closer, or maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me while I’m falling asleep.

*creak*
*creak*

You see a shadow pass over your wall right as you fall asleep.

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