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Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep, little baby.

Screams. Ear-deafening screams.

A man humming 'Go to sleep, little baby' opens a door and walks into the nursery. Dressed in black with his hood up, his face was entirely shrouded in darkness. He turned to close the door. And then came the screaming. The bloodshed.

Eric suddenly woke sweating. He gasped for air. It was the same dream he had the night before, and it felt all too real. His heart hammered, as if it was bursting out of his chest. He raced out of bed to turn the light on, feeling terrified for the hundredth time that night. He shouldn't be frightened of a nightmare. It wasn't real, was it?

Eric took a moment to compose himself once light flooded the room. The sweat had made his half-naked body shiny. A headache was slowly forming. Perhaps it was because he had fallen into his thoughts too deeply, but something was familiar about the dream he had woken from.

He staggered to the mirror on the wardrobe door. He looked into his own eyes. He hated seeing himself this scared. Then he lifted his arm above his head and turned slightly to the side, keeping his feet rooted to the floor. He could see the scar easily; the scar that had been there for as long as he could remember.

*

The sun still hadn't risen when Eric poured the milk into his cereal bowl. It was 4:32am. Eric should have been tired, but the sudden impact the nightmare had on him absorbed any exhaustion Eric felt and replaced it with adrenalin. There was something significant about the dream.

Eric still felt flushed and sweaty after his shower; the feeling of cleanliness not coming easily that morning. Not only was he still reeling from his father's very recent death, but he was also dealing with the fact that his murderer was still out there, and led him to a cannibalistic family living in the woods nearby.

Eric wondered why nobody had come across them before now. The sickening realisation that the family probably captured and ate whoever dared wander in their domain dawned upon Eric. He knew Lakefield View had its fair share of troubled residents, but this continued to lower the image of the town. The danger of living there only got worse with each passing day.

Eric sat back on the kitchen chair, not touching his cereal. He looked around at the constant reminders of his father. He remembered, just under twenty-four hours ago, when the two of them sat down to read the newspaper together, while his dad made toast with butter. It had started out like any other day, and it seemed like such a silly thing to remember, but now Frank was gone, he held the memory closer to his heart.

Eric had to force himself not to cry again. He had cried himself to sleep and even then he had only slept for a couple of hours, if that. He thought pressing his hands on his face would help, to release any tension and stress, but it didn't help. He gave up with a whimper and let himself cry, alone in his kitchen where nobody could see.

At least, he thought he was alone. He was not cold, but he covered his bare chest with his arms as he stood. He now had a fear that somebody would jump up out of nowhere and stab him in the heart. It was strange, the paranoia he felt, when twenty-four hours ago he felt fearless.

Eric walked through the kitchen and into the hallway. He examined the front door, not moving until he counted that every chain was bolted. Ever since his mother disappeared, his father doubled up on house security to protect his son from whatever was out there. Once Eric knew it was safe to move, he tip-toed to the entrance of the house.

It did feel colder as he reached the door, like it had been opened and the cold air had spilled inside. Eric waved that thought from his mind; it was impossible to have been opened. A gentle tapping on the living room window drew Eric's attention. With caution, Eric walked to the living room doorframe.

He turned on the light before entering. The curtains were shut, but Eric could hear the wind outside. It was probably just a low-hanging branch tapping on the window. The tree with the branches that resembled long witches' fingers. His father would frighten him as a child because of it. Who wouldn't be afraid of it after being read Roald Dahl's classic story in bed?

Eric's naked feet became numb from the coldness of the laminate flooring. The noise at the window had become the perfect distraction from Eric's real-life problems. He walked slower, struggling to think of what he would do after finding the source of the noise. Eric didn't want to go back to wallowing.

Eric raised his hands and snapped open both curtains at the same time.

BOOM.

A hand banged on the window. Eric almost fell back at the sudden frightening noise. It burst into his eardrums and almost stopped his heart from beating. It was too dark to see outside of the window, but Eric could see that somebody had written a message for him.

The hand lingered. At first Eric thought it was the man who killed his father, the one with the white mask. But he was wearing gloves, and this hand was gloveless. In fact, the fingers were thick and the palm was filthy.

Eric stood up and the hand disappeared from sight. Eric grabbed a fire poker from the stand beside the fireplace and sprinted for the front door. Unlocking the door wasted valuable time chasing the man who had tried to intimidate Eric. He wasn't going to let anybody turn him into a victim, a fool.

Eric finally unlocked the door and opened it. The outside light above the door flickered on. Eric watched as the man who had invaded his property hobbled down the road. He was too far ahead for Eric to catch up. Eric took note of the man from what he could see in the dark.

He was wearing ugly, old, tattered clothes. There was dirt mixed in with his receding hair; the dirt covering his body all the way down to his muddy boots. Eric was sure he could make out specs of blood on his over-worn trousers. The man was beefy too, somebody Eric did not want to mess with. And in his hand was an axe. A truly fear-provoking, blood-stained axe.

Eric was rooted to the ground. He knew better than to give chase. The man looked like he belonged with the family in the woods. He could smell something he had never smelt before, something that was hard to describe, like a mixture of decomposed food that was contained in a waste-bin for a decade.

Once Eric got over the initial shock, he turned to his living room window. His feet found comfort in the soft grass as he trenched along. The wind had become steady as it blew Eric's freshly-washed fringe from his face. It took him no time at all to get close enough to the window to read what it said.

We know you came.

And on the ground in front of the window was the dead body of a girl. Eric threw his hands to his mouth. It was the third dead body he had ever seen, and all of them he saw in one night. The girl had no shirt on, but her bra remained intact. Eric could see chunks of flesh were missing. She had been bitten countless times. There was so much blood. Eric could see her insides.

Eric vomited close to the girl. His mind wandered back to when he was outside the family's house only hours before. They said something about having a girl for a midnight snack - and here she was on Eric's front lawn.

I definitely wouldn't want to be the one cleaning that up! Wonder who the girl is? Still completely clueless of what's going on in Lakefield View? Be sure to click vote and leave a comment :)

I definitely wouldn't want to be the one cleaning that up! Wonder who the girl is? Still completely clueless of what's going on in Lakefield View? Be sure to click vote and leave a comment :)

Remnants of the Damned (Abyssal Sanctuary #1)Read this story for FREE!