My imagination is my escape.
I enter my house without a sound. The lights are all off. It’s late.
With quiet steps, I walk past the living room. Nothing stirs around me. Not until I reach the long corridor leading to my bedroom.
I walk forward. Slowly.
Do you ever get that feeling? That someone is lurking right behind you?
The lights suddenly flicker. Maybe it’s a mischievous poltergeist messing with the electricity. Maybe it’s the lightning of a faraway, nonexistent storm. Because, of course, a storm can’t form inside a house.
But I can imagine one doing so.
I hear whispers coming through the walls. Maybe it’s the voices of fairies. Introducing themselves to me. Maybe they need help and are pleading for me to save them.
But I’m the one who’s trapped.
Turn back. You’re in danger.
My heart is pounding now. Maybe I’m just hearing the pounding of bass drums in another room. Someone playing a concert with an audience of none. Or the pounding of a fist on a table. Angry pounding.
The lights flicker again, and for a second I see a shadow that’s not my own on the wall to my right. I turn my head a bit but I don’t look back all the way.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
A drop of sweat rolls down my cheek and falls off the edge of my jawline. Boom.
I keep facing forward but my eyes close. My mind projects an image onto the blackness.
The looming shadow, a shapeshifter, settles on one form.
Claws. Bared teeth. A hideous face. Hungry eyes. A rabid beast. With a heaving chest, but I don’t hear its breathing. I open my eyes. The lights flicker once more, and the shadow is larger than before.
I walk forward— now with hurried steps. The pounding in my ears grow louder.
I rush to my bedroom door, open it, go inside with my back against the wall, and shut the door. The whispers are silenced.
I reach my hand out to turn on the lights, but there’s already a small light in front of me.
I should’ve listened to the voices.
There’s a pair of dull, yellow eyes staring back at me. I also see rows of pearly white teeth. I can hear his harsh breathing now—each breath comes and goes at steady pace.
But his eyes aren’t calm. There’s a fire in them. A dull, yellow fire.
The creature takes off a long chain from his waist. I catch sight of a glimmer of gold at the center. He raises his monstrous arm up slowly.
Sometimes, my imagination can’t be my escape.
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