“You okay?” He said, breath warm on my neck. I must’ve woken him in my stirring not ten minutes ago. My husband worked late most nights and when I was roused I was too concerned with what had awoken me to turn and see if he’d come home yet. It helped knowing he was here.
I felt a cold breeze stroll across my exposed foot. I hesitated for a moment, then slowly, silently slid it back beneath the safety of the covers. But I never looked away from the void in front of me. Nor did I try to fein sleep. It was back, only one this time. I knew it was there and it knew I was awake. The Dark cloaked it but I could feel it’s icy gaze meeting mine in the black of the room.
“M-hmm” I mumbled in response. I felt lips touch my neck and the sensation sent chills down my spine. Ever sense I went for the “short and s**y” cut I no longer had my shoulder-length hair needing to be swept aside, no longer had a warning to such a touch.
“You, sure? You’ve got goose bumps?” He said, his cold hand ran along the back of my arm making it worse.
“I’m fine, go back to sleep.” I said, not moving. I’m afraid, I’ve been afraid for a long time. I’m afraid for myself, I’m afraid for my husband, I’m afraid of sleeping, and mostly I’m afraid of the Dark. You see they’ve been here for a long time, probably longer than I know. I said nothing to my husband because I thought that’s exactly what it was, nothing. Not when I saw a shadow, that had been on the wall for hours, suddenly misplace itself from what I thought was casting it and slide along the perimeter of the room. I said nothing when I heard things, things whispered, unintelligible gibberish in horrible deep tones or the sounds of nails scratching from the insides of the walls. I said nothing on the morning I awoke to the large grey face mostly comprised of two massive black eyes only inches from my own countenance. I didn’t even scream. I just took in a deep breath as I felt my husband’s arm tighten around me, when his still unconscious mind felt my distress. The things eyes left me for a moment to gaze at him, laying next to me, still dreaming. And the unimaginable scowl that followed. I knew it wanted him gone. So it could have me all to itself, its bride. It paused before slowly descending, falling down, passed where the mattress blocked my view of it, sending me one last look of longing before it was gone.
I felt a familiar pressure as an arm slide around my waist, pulling me close, reminding me of my task: keeping guard over him. The one thing keeping what hid in the Dark at bay. Watching it so it couldn’t get close to him. Somewhere in the void I could feel the scowl growing on it’s face and I went cold.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you.” Moistening my neck again as he spoke. I wanted to turn to him, to face him but I was too afraid of what might happen if I did. So I stared on, waiting for the sun.
There was a noise outside, I almost looked toward the window out of instinct but my focus was too strong. I then heard a car door slam. He felt my body tense and tightened his grip on me. I hoped to God that this person wouldn’t ring our doorbell or knock, making him go check. And that on his way there, I would suddenly, no longer feel the icy stare of our intruder. Then only to hear a loud crash in the other room. The torturous silence to follow. Only then to sense it’s presence, once more, in the room as it shut the door behind it. Leaving only myself and it. I hoped and prayed with everything I had.
“You’re right not to look away.” His breath was hot on my ear. I heard the front door open and close down stairs. My blood chilled as the hot, moist breath poured over me. “He’s the jealous type…” The warm voice blanketed my face. Footsteps were coming up the stairs now. “…so am I…” The thing behind me grew cold as it’s arm slithered away and I felt it’s weight leave the mattress. I was frozen as my heart leaped into my chest. “…as is your husband.” The thing’s voice faded away behind me. The bedroom door opened slowly, letting in the light from the hall, before my husband entered the room. What greeted me in the twilight was a pair of massive black eyes, hardly an inch from my nose. The face that held them stared, unblinking, before sliding away, almost floating as gentle and soundless as a breeze until it reached our open closet. There it was joined by it’s partner, in between the dry cleaning. Then, just before my husband flicked the switch in the hall, it winked with one massive eye as if to say: “See you tomorrow.”