Chapter One

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My fiancée, Emily, and I had finally closed on our new home— a cozy, two-bedroom that sat secluded in a small forestry town in Vermont. The location wasn't ideal, but for the price it was going for, we decided to go for it. I guess that should've been my first warning sign.

If a beautiful house is going for a low price, it must have a history.

Still, being young and exhilarated at the idea of our own place, we moved in the day we received the keys. I remember that day clearly. It was the last day I'd felt normal. It was the first day of my sleep paralysis.

From when the sun came up until the sun went down, we had friends and family coming and going. We were moving constantly, trying to get as many boxes unpacked as we could, and as much organized as we could. There wasn't a quiet moment and when night finally came and we could settle in, I could barely keep my eyes open. I knew that night I'd be dead to the world as soon as my head touched my pillow and no one would be able to wake me until noon the next day.My eyes snapped open at exactly 3:00AM. It felt like my whole body was being pressed down upon, but not lightly, more like if someone piled cement blocks on every inch of my body. I tried to roll over and found myself unable to. My whole body was paralyzed, except I found I could still move my eyes.

I glanced around the room, trying to keep calm, waiting for this to pass. I knew enough about sleep paralysis and figured it would pass any second. But as I waited, I noticed a nauseating aroma start permeating through the room. It was like a mix of rotting eggs and the smell of dirt after it rained. It filled my nostrils, almost suffocating me.

Tap, tap, tap.

Footsteps across the floor. Maybe Emily had been thirsty and went to get a glass of water.

A quick look to my left dismissed that idea. She was fast asleep beside me.

Tap, tap, tap.

The footsteps grew closer, coming to a stop at the end of my bed. Maybe this was a dream. First night in a new house? Surely I was bound to have nightmares.

The earthly smell grew stronger and I felt the sheets at the bottom of the bed shift. My eyes stayed glued on the ceiling. Don't look, don't look, don't look. I repeated to myself, forming a mantra.

A low, guttural sound split the silence. I couldn't describe it as a groan, because it was too inhuman. It sounded more like the splitting of air. The inside of a vortex. Nothing I knew of could make a noise like that.

Against my better judgment, I decided to look.

Just as it looked back at me.

I found I couldn't tear my gaze away from the distorted creature at the foot of my bed. Its skeletal head dangled at a 45-degree angle, its jaw wide open and impossibly long, eyes black and yet

My stomach churned, sweat pouring down my forehead. This isn't real, this isn't real. Wake up. Wake up!

Clack-clack-clack-clack-clack. The jaws of the distorted creature at the foot of my bed snapped open and shut, open and shut, going at a superhuman speed. Slowly, it lifted one arm, pointing a twisted finger at me, its jaw unhinging and opening so wide the bottom touched the bed.

Suddenly I regained my movement. Snapping up, I reached for the lamp beside my bed. Light flooded the room and I faced the foot of the bed again, only to find nothing there.

I turned to check the time. The alarm clock still read 3:00AM.

Emily stirred, reaching out a hand and rubbing my shoulder. "You okay?"

"Yes... I must have had a nightmare," I mumbled, taking one last look around the room before shutting the light off again.

"Aww, come cuddle me, I'll protect you."

I slid my body closer to hers and she planted a kiss on my forehead. There, I tried to fall back asleep, ignoring the fact I could still faintly smell rotten eggs.

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Hey everyone! I'm happy to share my first short horror story! I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to give me tips- it's my first time writing horror and a male main lead LOL.

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