Three

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Three

I didn’t fall asleep straight away although I forced myself to get into my pyjamas and into bed with my covers over my head. When I finally closed my eyes the nightmares began. This time they were less specific and I was hot, very hot, scorching in fact. I felt like flames surrounded me and licked at my tender skin although there was no physical fire. I tossed and turned restlessly for hours till I woke up in a sweat and kicked my covers off the bed. I needed to get some air, although I wasn’t quite crazy enough to go out into a storm again, so I settled on going to the kitchen and getting a glass of water. I glanced out the window to see nothing but the outline of trees illuminated by the moonlight. I pulled on a hoodie and my slippers knowing that the central heating was so crap it was a wonder we didn’t freeze in the winter. I grabbed my room keys before tip toeing into the hallway. I guessed the whole house was asleep considering it was nearly 2am but I had the sense of not being although I couldn’t see anyone. The kitchen felt strangely warm as I turned on the tap, filling up my cup. The ice water seemed to simmer down the inward fire and I gave an outward a sigh a relief.

Just as I had finished draining the cup and went for a refill, a sound of footsteps came from behind me. I shut off the tap and swivelled around in time to see a blur run across my vision towards the living room. I set the glass down and followed the movement to see it move again but this time out the front door. What was that? I hastily opened the door and followed it down the porch and around the side of the house. I had to run in order to keep up with it and my heart beat wildly in my chest. As I was running I could hear whispers, thousands of small voices all mumbling quietly but unintelligible. They seemed to seep into my skin filling my head with hushed but angry words. Every fibre in my being told me that I should run back up to bed, just get away from it, but I didn’t. Just as I turned the corner to reach the back of the garden it was gone. It just disappeared into thin air. I could have sworn it was right there! I stopped mid run to lean on my knees to try and catch my breath.

“What are you doing outside in the dark all alone?” Aidan asked from right behind me. I jumped and backed up to see him standing arms crossed, head cocked to the side. I noticed the voices had stopped abruptly as soon as he appeared. My throat was dry from running and still didn’t have my breathing under control so when I tried to speak the words failed me. Aidan waited the expression on his face unreadable in the dark. “The dark can be a scary place alone,” he whispered his warm breath washing over my face.

“I…I thought I saw something,” I managed to choke out.

“What did you see?” his voice was very steady as was his posture. His eyes bore into mine and for a second I didn’t know. I couldn’t remember what it was that I saw. I remembered coming from my bed into the kitchen for a drink but after that…nothing.

“I…I don’t know.” His face relaxed and the red in his eyes faltered for a second.

“See, that’s the thing about the dark,” he grinned bringing his hand up to my face but not quite touching it, “it plays tricks on you. Maybe you should just go on up to bed Lola.” His voice was soothing but I resisted the urge to nod and agree with him. Something wasn’t right… Suddenly he snarled loudly arching his back. The whispering began again, this time it was almost as if I could feel the breath of every word prick my skin. Out of the chorus a louder and deeper voice seemed to say “I’m not finished with you,” which disturbed something deep within my core making me want to vomit. 

“Shit!” His hands were now curled into claws and his body was held frozen in an unnatural bend.

“Aidan, what’s wrong?” I swallowed hard and forced myself to look into his eyes. A part of me craved for that feeling I felt when I did. When he finally stood relatively straight I looked up to not see the usual green eyes I expected but blood red ones, the eyes of a predator. My mouth opened but the scream I intended never came out.

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