Christina Mayer: In the Room Where You Sleep

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The girls stood as still as they could. The lights in the hallway shut off, plunging the house into darkness. Christina gasped and closed her eyes. Her heart was the only thing that moved in that moment. Her whole body turned freezing cold; it wasn't from the wind outside. She wanted to escape this nightmare and climb out of the open window but she couldn't leave her brother.

Christina dug into whatever courage she could find, and with that small amount, she turned slowly around and walked to the stairs. Katherine was just as out of breath as Christina, the recent shock having briefly incapacitated the girls. Katherine didn't know what to say or if she should say anything at all. She felt guilty for being the last person to see him.

Christina started her high-alert descent down the stairs. She tried her best to keep her footsteps quiet but the stairs didn't want to cooperate. She was thankful when she reached the bottom, but her head darted towards all corners, hoping to find her little brother. Katherine quickly glanced at the front door, the exit into what could be their safety, but she snapped back into vigilant mode as her companion floated into the living room.

Their eyes dashed through the room. It looked empty in hindsight, but to make sure, Christina edged over to the sofa and peered behind it. Nothing. Her heart gave a cry of relief, but only for a second. She then looked at the kitchen door, wide open. Perhaps someone was hiding behind it? Christina carefully put one foot in front of the other until she reached it. She swung it open. Nothing. Her paranoid mind had returned in full force.

As much as she loved not being face-to-face with the clown that invaded her home, Christina wanted the inevitable meeting to be over with so she could have her little brother back. She kept moving forward even when lost in her thoughts. Her body was there but her mind was not.

When she returned to the present, she examined the kitchen. Just like before, she put one foot carefully in front of the other as she glided through the room. The girls didn't dare to speak. It got colder as they moved nearer the conservatory. Katherine grabbed her hand.

The sky had darkened to a great degree. It provided a basic light and produced a faint trail to shine through the top of the conservatory and into the kitchen. Christina needed something to defend herself with, and while she contemplated grabbing a chair, her eyes looked around for something smaller and more effective. She found something on the counter in the far corner and ran to it – a knife on the drainer beside the sink.

The clown, and ultimately Christopher, were not in the kitchen. Christina ran back to Katherine and they both turned, shaking, to the glass conservatory doors. They passed the table, reached the doors, and peered inside. The trees surrounding Christina's garden made the conservatory hard to see into, blocking out the limited sunlight provided by a rapidly retreating sun. It moved behind the gathering clouds, making way for the silver moon to rise up over the house. Christina placed her hand on the icy glass. It would be suicide to go inside, but she knew she had to, even if she was killed by her worst fear.

Katherine opened the door when she realised Christina had frozen. When the door swung open, Christina stopped whimpering and plucked up more dormant courage to force herself inside.

It was too dark to see. She kept looking forward, clutching the knife in one hand and reaching out with the other. Christina and Katherine carefully walked forward. Katherine kept one step behind as back-up.

Christina ambled in a new direction, tip-toeing further into the conservatory. She swung her arm around to make sure she wouldn't hit anything. They could only make out shapes. Then Christina stopped. She could hear breathing from someone ahead.

'Christopher?' Christina whispered. She stood as still as she could to listen out for anything else but the room turned unearthly quiet. Even Katherine stopped breathing.

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