The Creature

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The sound of something scurrying over the hardwood floor woke me up

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The sound of something scurrying over the hardwood floor woke me up. I remained still as my mind slowly cleared the remnants of sleep. What was that? My first thought was that I had a mouse running around, but there had never been mice in my house or in those of my neighbours. I listened intensely—it seemed to be coming from the far corner of the room. The sound sent shivers up my spine. I needed to know what it was. I held my breath and quickly turned on the light.

I sat upright and scanned the room to hopefully catch the furry bugger in action, but what I saw right next to my wardrobe was not furry. Whatever it was, I'm certain it's not mentioned in any biology book. A round head the size of an apple rested on a thin body that looked like a mere bundle of twigs. It stared at me with four black eyes, and my jaw dropped in astonishment. Below the eyes a horizontal slit appeared—it widened and revealed teeth that resembled pieces of broken glass. It raised two of its stick-like appendages and the tips split into something you could call fingers. It emitted a high pitched shriek and dashed towards me.

Without realising what I was doing my hands grabbed the pillow that was beside me. The creature jumped onto the bed and lunged towards my face with its—now sharp—claws. I could feel every fibre of my body scream at the sight of the alien thing, but my instincts had taken over. The pillow collided with the creature with so much force that it flew across the room and hit the wall.

Panting heavily and with the pillow gripped so tightly my knuckles turned white, I got out of the bed and walked around it to where the thing had landed. I stifled a scream when the creature came into view—it lay motionless on the ground, its eyes closed. I approached it cautiously, clutching the pillow for dear life. Several of the small twigs were broken, but there was no blood of any kind. Suddenly the four eyes shot open and this time I did scream.

The creature was still very quick despite its broken limbs, and it shot right past me towards the wardrobe. I tried to hit it with the pillow but missed several times. As it climbed up the drawers I finally struck the thing and after three times it fell to the ground—there were broken sticks everywhere.

Adrenaline was still rushing through my veins, and all I could hear was my heartbeat and rapid breathing. I stared at the thing—or what was left of it. Broken twigs lay scattered around the circular head and along the path it had come running. There didn't seem to be any more of those limbs attached to the head, but I didn't dare touch it with my bare feet or hands. Using the pillow I stirred the remains. I was right: there was nothing attached to the head anymore.

I turned on the main light to observe it all a bit more closely. I picked up one of the twig-like appendages and snapped it. To my surprise it was just a stick: I could clearly see the fibres and recognised the outer texture as bark. My heart started to calm down a bit. Did I imagine it?

My eyes shot towards the round thing that had been the creature's head. I walked over: it looked like a mere rock. The grey surface was quite smooth; there was no indication that it had ever had eyes—let alone four of them. I frowned and stared at the broken twigs again. As unreal as it all seemed, I couldn't have imagined it. I mean, there were sticks scattered throughout my bedroom and not to forget a lone rock. Where did those come from?

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