“I can’t feel my limbs.”
The child’s voice was soft, her eyes squinting into the darkness around her. Her room was dark, unnaturally so. Both her nightlight and the hall light that usually shone through the crack beneath her door were off. It was never supposed to be off.
“Momma?” she said, her voice barely a whisper. She wasn’t even sure if she had spoken.
Something scraped up against the side of her window, sending shadows dancing along her walls in the faint moonlight. Her heart seemed to jump in her throat, beating incessantly before suddenly plunging down to her stomach as her body shuddered.
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There was someone else in the room with her. No, something.
She closed her eyes as a creak reverberated throughout the room, deep and drawn out. Whatever this thing was she could feel it approaching, crawling out from underneath her bed. Its presence seemed to get stronger and the foot of her bed sagged as something heavy climbed on.
Her skin prickled and she swallowed the lump of saliva coating her mouth, leaving an odd taste on her tongue. Slowly, she began to open her eyes.
Dark shadows congregated at the foot of her bed, the head of the beast sprouting gnarled antlers while its clawed hands pawed at her bed sheets, dragging its long limbed body closer. It smiled, shade dripping out of its maw like drool as it heaved its heavy body on top of her.
She couldn’t scream; she couldn’t breathe. All she could do was wait as the ghoul drew itself closer to her. Its rancid breath, that musty smell found in old books and foggy nights, crawled onto her face, making a home for itself within her pores. Wispy teeth hung from its maw, gaping at her as it tilted its thick and shaggy neck towards her.
Her heart was silent as she closed her eyes, hot tears threatening to spill from her closed lashes.
The wind howled outside, branches scratching at the paned glass and sending shadows into a hurried dance all across the room, traveling over the bed, her nightstand, and even the empty dollhouse that sat in the corner.
Breathing filled the room, the rancid musk slithering its way through her nose and clawing through her lungs. Her cheeks puffed out as she continued to hold her breath, unwilling to give in.
Buzzing filled her ears as all sound gave way. With a loud gasp she inhaled as much air as she could, tears falling down her face as her narrow shoulders shook. She brushed at her eyes as she dared to look around. Moonlight shone through her window, lighting up the empty room.
The only sounds now came from her.