Perchance to dream.
All week, I have woken up about 2 hours after I fall asleep. I end up staring at the ceiling for what seems like an eternity, before sinking into a restless slumber, waking about once every 90 minutes. I have had terrible nightmares, from which I awake with a scream somewhere between my stomach and my lips, depending on the severity of the terror.
The dreams are always the same: I'm running from someone, or someone I love has been taken from me, or there is some Big Terrifying Thing just outside my field of view. Two nights ago, I had two separate nightmares; in both of them Anne was kidnapped and I knew that I'd never see her again.
When my head touches my pillow each night, it is with a sense of grim resignation. Many mornings, I am exhausted when I get out of bed. I feel like I'm not getting any rest at all. I look and feel like hell.
Last night, I decided to stay awake until I was just too exhausted to keep my eyes open, rather than turning the lamp off at 11 like I usually do.
I sat on my couch and read my book in the dark and quiet house. Around two, there was a ruckus out on my patio.
I put my book down on the table, and turned on the patio light. The Bogeyman stood in the center of my patio.
When he hadn't found me in my dreams, he must have climbed over the wall of sleep to find me in my house. He had terrified me all week, worn me down, taken little bits of my life each night, and was here now to take what was left.
His skin hung loosely off his body. His arms ended in two enormous claws. Beneath his firey eyes, his mouth hung open in a silent scream. His black tongue flashed across jagged and uneven teeth.
He teetered forward, and I saw him flex his toes into the bricks. He clenched one of his claws into a fist, piercing his palm. Dark blood exploded from the wounds, and formed shiny puddles on the ground.
He raised his fist, and took a step toward me. I began to cry.
He took another step, and I smelled his Terror. His roar filled my head.
I tried to run, but he was too close, too fast, too powerful. His fist came flying at me. He punched through the screen, through the door, and through me. I looked down and saw his arm ending in my stomach. He clenched his fist tightly and pulsed his blood into my veins.
He pulled me close to his face, and tasted my tears as I died.