I would like to say this story will be like a fairy tale, filled with princes, masquerades, magic and fairy dust. I will be honest, this will be more like an awkwardly, depressing story that may make you cry or quite frankly, you will quickly forget. I wish I could but it is my tale. I am not sure where other stories begin but mine did on the night of the winter solstice.
It was late when I collapsed onto my bed, or at least it appeared late because the night descended earlier than normal. I checked to see if my windows were open because I enjoyed the freezing air around me as I slept. From the window I could see the new blanket of snow in the backyard. It was so pure, chaste and my personal favorite…cold.
A gentle breeze slipped through the small opening in the window and caressed my pale cheek. As I closed my eyes I took in a deep breath that chilled my lungs and calmed me. I turned my back to the window as I allowed my body to fall into a comatose state. I snuggled into my pillow and wrapped myself up in my safe cocoon. For the moment the insatiable shadows that clawed at the sides of my bed, could not reach me.
My body began to drift off, but out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. No…not this again is all I could think. Why does my mind do this to me…
My brain likes to conjure up images and fear that lurk in the night that feed off of my paranoia. I feel them hovering and then my consciousness jumps from one train of thought to another. One moment I am thinking about the time I played hide and seek with my brother, Mike and I could not find him. It was dark and I was afraid of the blackness that covered our yard. As soon as I thought about that, my mind jumps to the time my drunken father, who was tired of my insufferable fear of the dark, decided to lock the seven year old me in my room. He removed all the light bulbs and told me to stay until morning. This was my anti-fear-of-the-dark training.
I opened my eyes to find a distraction to help lull my mind into a peaceful state. I noticed the postcard sent to me from my school pen pal. My eyes looked over the details of Big Ben and I smiled thinking about my dreams of going there after I graduate.
“Maybe I will move there one day,” I whispered into the night hoping to set a dream into motion.
It seemed fate had other plans as two calloused hands gripped my neck as a shadow man growled in my ear, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
My eyes widened as I caught my breath in my throat while trying to throw my assailant off of me. Was there an assailant? I couldn’t see anything but a shadow ebbing and flowing above me barely keeping a human form. My lungs felt like they were collapsing while my throat burned and tears formed in the corners of my eyes.
Thoughts flipped through my head and I remember reading about asphyxiation and how the body stop fighting and accepts death. A calmness washed over me and for the first time ever I had peace. There was no sound at first but then I could hear a thumping sound. It grew louder and louder in my ear until as suddenly as it all started, it stopped.
Air surged back into my lungs as my body shot up from the bed. Questions raced through my mind.
Who was that?
What was that?
My eyes searched my room as my lungs still grasped for the precious life bringing air. My hands touched the area around my neck as I wondered was it all a nightmare. I curled back up in my bed and let out a sigh of relief. That’s what it was… a nightmare.
I looked back over where my postcard was and darkness clutched my heart once more. Instead of the image of the giant clock, there was an envelope. I reached out and brought it closer, then noticed a skull insignia on the seal. I flipped it over and it wasn’t addressed to anyone… really, it couldn’t have been for anyone but me…. right?