By Lilliandra Winters
You know it sucks when your own parents don’t believe you.
I can’t even tell you when it started. That stir in sleep that would tempt me to roll over, opening my eyes for just a moment just before falling back asleep… was that movement? In my closet? No.. no no no, I’m just tired. It’s the cat. I grumble and pull that warm pillow to my face and my blanket up over my shoulders and I drift off.
As I stare out the window in class the next day, the memory sneaks up on me. I shake it off because it’s absurd. The cat wasn’t in my room… Isn’t ALLOWED in my room at night. Bastard always attacks my feet while I’m sleeping.
I mean, I love the cat but sleep is the most precious thing to me. It escapes me so often that when I do finally sleep… Sweet bliss.
Of course, if the cat bugs at my door long enough, Mom just let’s her in. I have no idea why she loves to sleep with me. Maybe she hates me, she causes my parents no trouble. Nope, it couldn’t have been the cat. It was probably just the remnants of whatever twisted dream I was having.
Again, I am stirred from sleep, but can’t tell you why.
I roll over to my left side, the side that makes it so easy to fall back asleep…
What the hell was that?
I’m startled. I spied it. There was more pronounced movement, but I couldn’t tell you what the hell moved.
I’m being stupid. I’ve thought about it several times today; I’m just feeding a tired mind. Nothing is there. You need to sleep. Go back to sleep. With that, I close my eyes and drift off, but it isn’t easy.
After a week of these nightly disturbances, I find myself somewhere between anger and fear. I’ve laid awake after catching that first glimpse, waiting to see another, but it’s only ever the one. I was awake for hours and saw nothing. The movement is always different, never in the same location, never the same thing. Not that I even know what IT is.
Saturday comes and I’m too tired for this bullshit. I’m so tired that it took me days come to the conclusion that I should just leave the light on. So simple. So that’s what I do; I leave the light on in my closet. Because simply closing the door at this point is no longer an option. If I close the door, that doesn’t mean the motion doesn’t happen, it just means I can’t see it and that seems far worse.
I don’t remember falling asleep, but I stir and hear the pop of my light bulb going out. I’m already facing the closet, I fell asleep on my left side this time.
The movement! What the hell is that?! I want to get up and throw the lights on, but terror sets in and I can’t move. This movement was no more profound than the last but here I lay stuck in my bed. I have no idea why I am scared shitless. Maybe it’s just rats or some shit. Or how about an overactive imagination?
Teachers loved to write that on anything I added creativity to at school. “Shows promise, but let’s reign in that overactive imagination.” I could feel myself relax enough to actively eye roll at the thought. The distraction helped and soon I drifted off.
I’ve examined my closet every single day. Nothing is amiss or out of place. I bring it up to my parents at dinner one night. They don’t even look up from their plates.
“Can’t be rodents. Not in THIS house.” It must be my overactive imagination.
I roll my eyes again, not that they saw it. She drones on about how I’m so imaginative at school, at home, with the cat. She wishes she could direct it in a more productive way. I promise them it’s real, but mother knows best. Dad replaces the bulb in my closet and I’m expected to go back to sleep as if nothing was out of place.
I do one last check of the closet before I’m off to bed. I flip the lightswitch off and something cold and soft grasps my hand. I squeak in terror and spin on my heels to look in the closet only to see nothing different.
I know I felt it.. Something… someone grabbed my hand.
I look at my right hand and it appears just the same; however, I can feel the lingering sensation of whatever it was. The skin on the back of my neck is so tight it hurts. I can feel my back clenched as I step back from the closet door.
I shiver unintentionally and climb onto my bed backwards. I don’t even change into my pajamas, I just stare at the door, curled up at my pillows with my back against the wall. I am NOT crazy and I am NOT imagining it. SOMETHING is going on.
Of course, if I told any one of my friends, they’d just assume I’d finally lost it. It doesn’t matter. No sleep for me. It’s just me and that fucking closet. My body is weak with exhaustion but my heart is thumping in my chest. I’ve got this.
I jolt awake but there is so much fuzz, I can’t make my way through it. My senses are overrun. Too long with no sleep means I’m fighting to remain conscious. Something is happening. What is happening?
I look at the closet door and it looks fine, but I’m hearing a thudding noise coming from the door leading to the hallway. I shuffle my feet under the blankets. Damn it! Mom must have let the cat in my room. I can feel her pawing through the blankets. I kick at her a bit, trying to focus. What the hell is that noise?
I rub my face with my hand and it feels like it wipes some of the fuzz away. There’s a THUNK THUNK at the door. I slowly part my fingers and look in that general direction.
I know that sound.
It’s the cat; she claws at the bottom of the door when she wants to be let into my room. I feel it again. Tap tap at my feet. I freeze. My breath is caught hard and painful in my chest. I’m trembling and trying not to cry. I don’t want to look. Oh God, I don’t want to look.
My eyes move from the door to the end of my bed. I can’t tell what’s there, but it sure as hell isn’t a cat. Without thought, I yank my legs up against my body. There is a pause in the air before this dark thing reaches itself up onto my bed. It has short stubby arms. Its body is no longer than a large cat. Its dark matted hair hangs in front of its face and, as it climbs up my bed, the hair shifts, revealing glowing red eyes and an impossibly wide smile.
I try to suck in air to scream, but I can’t. I can only feel hot pain spread across my chest.
Mom was right. Mom told me the cat never bothered either of them when they slept.
It grabs my body, pulling itself up along my shivering useless form. I can smell the hot garbage of its breath before I can feel it brush across the skin of my face. The weight of it on top of me feels no heavier than a medium sized dog, but I can hear its mouth moving with wet sloppy noises. It lays pressed against me, breathing forever before it finally mutters in the most deep demonic tone I’ve ever heard.