Chapter Twelve - Malcolm

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Waves crashed down on my face, pulling me under and filling my lungs with liquid salt. The weight of water pressed against me like a vice as I was tugged further from the surface. 

Death. 

I was going to drown. 

Why couldn't I swim up? 

No...  It wasn't water pressing against me – it was the inky tentacle curled around my body, constricting me, pulling me, killing me... My eyes traveled down the tentacle to its owner. But she had no eyes. Instead of the swirling moonlight that was the only thing that would offer me any comfort in my moment of death, two gaping holes peered up at me as though they could still see me. Those dark purple lips parted, stretching into a smile to reveal those rows of jagged teeth that snapped at me with the curve of her lip pulling impossibly tighter at the thrill of having caught me. She was like a shark playing with her food. 

Her mouth opened wider as if to speak, and from her throat came a soft knock. A knock? She closed her mouth, shook her head, and opened it once again to speak. Again, a knock burst from her throat, this time louder. And again. Her confused expression surely reflected my own. Why was she knocking? Why wasn't she killing me?

Knockknockknockknockknock!

And then I was awake.

Knock!Knock!Knock!

Gods! Was someone trying to wake the whole building? Who was it anyway?

KNOCK!KNOCK!KNOCK!KNOCK!

That was at our door... Someone was banging at our door?

Pushing the chair back took far too much effort. Lifting my face from the work table took even more. The light over my table had been left on, thankfully, and the light of the moon that seeped in through the tiny windows along the ceiling facing west gave me just enough light to hobble across the living room without knocking into the chair or coffee table or tip over the rug in my half-asleep state. Who the hell was at my door at this hour (whatever hour it actually was)?

KNOCK! "Quiet! I'm coming," I called as I began undoing the chain lock at the top of the door. KNOCK! "Lords, be silent!" KNOCK! The damn chain kept slipping!

Finally, my fingers became aware enough to undo the chain without dropping it. I fumbled for the handle, took a firm hold, steadied my exhausted body, and swung the door open. The lights of the hall illuminated the tiny figure before me who met my eyes with more life than should be allowed at whatever time it was.

Then I saw it.

Moonlight. A ring of moonlight around green.

The nightmare she'd woken me from flooded back to me. She'd only woken me to finish it in reality...

So I slammed the door in her face.

Knock, knock, knock...

"Leave," I begged, my voice breaking at the memory of her razor-filled maw, but even as I said the word, the knocking continued.

Damn the banshee to hell! Either she finished what she'd started last night or she turned the neighbors even more against me so they'd finish for her: which was better at this point, I wasn't certain.

KNOCK!KNOCK!

I couldn't open the door... Not for her. Not even if she woke the whole blasted city!

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