BY ALICIA GALLAGHER

My blankets form an unbreakable shield. I use them as protection against the monsters. The guilt-ridden and ugly green creatures that I see over the top of my covers fill me with a knot so deep in the pit of my stomach that I cringe and curl. They dance and mock me as I lie there waiting for sleep to take hold. Will they let me sleep through the night? I recognize one strange being crouched in the darkest corner of my bedroom. Her glare is unbroken as the others gurgle and grunt around her. Wait, she won’t stop staring at me. Why is she wearing my clothes and her face red? She creeps up to a standing position. She stays frozen for a moment and then slowly a sunken and hollow grin appears on her face. Her teeth rotten, her eyes cold. She moves towards me. My heart rate is pounding explosions in my ears. She reaches the side of my bed and stops. We stay in this trance, her and I, eyes locked. There is a pull, I can feel it in my chest. Suddenly, her hands lunge for my neck. I gasp and thrash my limbs. I can’t breathe. Her grip never loosens no matter how hard I kick and scratch. Blackness creeps around the edges of my vision. The last thing I see are her eyes, bright with excitement. I can’t help but think, Do I know those eyes? I wish I could still believe that when I think there is a monster hiding in the darkness, I can just wrap my blankets around me and tell myself that I am safe and protected. But I am not. There is no escape.

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