You woke up in the middle of the night from a thud that came from the hall. Eyes immediately focused on the door. What made this sound? Panting, feeling rising from the depths of consciousness a wave of fear, you notice that during sleep you threw off a blanket.
You quickly pick it up, cover your body with it trying not to leave any open spots. You feel safer that way. There is only a small gap between the mattress and blanket that you left, through which you observe what is happening outside; the pillow became your shield. It reminds you of your childhood, when you were hiding from imaginary monsters. The only difference is that what is happening now seems much more dangerous and real.
That sound again. Coming from outside, it seems louder, deeper. Trying to stay calm, in your head you go over the things that can make this sound: downspouts that have been moaning for a few weeks now with increasing frequency (they could not likely make such a deep low sound). Blinds in the bathroom, hanging on an open window (the problem is that you always close all the windows and doors at night). Maybe it's your parents, returning home late at night slightly tipsy (only they are on holiday on the islands for another week). Your cat roaming around the house (only you closed the cat in the garage earlier that evening). Despite all your efforts to find a logical explanation for these sounds, you feel a growing panic and try to tuck the blanket under you thereby eliminating the "peeking" space.
Again. Even louder, just a few inches from the door to your room. Your brain helpfully brings back from the depths of memory scary images of your childhood fears – masked psychopaths, giant spiders, and horrible creatures: skeletons with cartilaginous nodules, walking through the apartment with a jerking walk, shaking a door handle with their rotten fingers, and afterwards – tearing apart and gnawing pieces of your body.
Again. Your breathing is hoarse and frequent, you are almost suffocating. Your throat is dry, the lungs refuse to breathe, your stomach first falls down, then your goes up to your throat. Your eyes are wide open and look at the same spot. The blanket still envelops you, your body lies motionless under its useless protection. There is only three centimeters of cotton wool between you and what is about to burst into the room with burning eyes and shiny claws to pick up its prize.
Suddenly you realize that the source of the sound is the old rickety bookcase standing in the hallway. One of its legs is broken and now books are falling to the ground one after another. If you listen closely, you can hear the rustling of pages before a book falls making that very sound.
Reassured, before going back to sleep, you look around the room, still tightly wrapped in a blanket. Your eyes have become accustomed to the darkness, so you can make out your desk, the chair and TV. Familiar surroundings finally calm you down and make you feel protected.
But before you close your eyes you will see something that will make you feel the icy cold deep in your stomach.
There, on the floor, lays your blanket.
Your cry is almost inaudible.