Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Sleep Lightly, Spooky Season, Writing

Sleep Lightly – Part One

I had stayed up too late. My Dad had been lecturing me about it since I was a little boy, but I couldn’t help it. I’d always get caught up in my books and lose track of time. He used to tell me stories to frighten me into obeying the rules of bedtime, but I’d never listen, not until I was seven years old. That’s when I knew that they were more than just stories.

That night, I had stayed up late, reading under the covers with a torch when I heard soft steps outside my bedroom door. I shoved the book and torch under my pillow, diving under the covers and prayed that I wasn’t caught by my Dad.

I closed my eyes as the door slowly creaked open, waiting for my Dad to call out to me, but all I could hear was panting and soft footsteps. The lights of the hallway poked through my eyelids and I held my breath, hoping to hear my Dad’s voice. The door slammed shut and the room fell quiet and dark.

I opened my eyes and the room was drenched in darkness. It seemed that I’d gotten away with it, and in light of that, I didn’t want to push my luck, so I reached under my pillow and moved the torch and book to the bedside table, finally ready to sleep. As I settled back in bed, I could feel myself getting tired.

I was about to close my eyes and finally get some sleep when my eyes were drawn to the door. I couldn’t tell you why, but in that moment, immediately, I felt wide awake, and like I was being watched. At first, I thought it must be my imagination, but the more I looked, the more my heart sank.

I was being watched. There was a pair of shining red eyes staring back at me.

They didn’t blink. They didn’t move. They just stared, all night, so I stared back, too afraid to close my eyes, too afraid to move, just hoping with all my heart that when I’d blink, the eyes would disappear.

I didn’t dare close my eyes, but I couldn’t help but blink a few times, and each time, my heart pounded. I’d open my eyes and see those same scarlet eyes staring back at me. It continued the same way all night. The eyes just stared back at me, before dimming into darkness as the sun rose.

I was exhausted the next day, struggling through school until it was home time. I rushed home, desperate for sleep and hoping to get my head on the pillow before darkness fell.

I searched the room but found no trace of what I’d seen the night before, so collapsed into my bed with a sigh, wrapping myself in the blankets and slipping into a deep sleep.

He’s coming to get me.

As I awoke, hours later, I became certain of that. The sky outside had grown dark, and I could hear ragged, panting breaths by my side. I stared up at the ceiling, knowing what I’d see if I looked down and feeling nauseous at the thought of it.

I just stared at the ceiling with the scarlet stare in the corner of my eye as the night wore on. After an hour, I could feel myself slipping into sleep, digging my fingernails into my palm with a strangled breath to keep myself awake.

My dad says it’s all in my imagination but he doesn’t understand. It may have started in my imagination, but now it’s real. He is real.

All the stories he told me when I was a little boy came true, and he doesn’t understand.

As I clung onto consciousness, the creature leapt from the floor, crushing my ribs and chest with large paws as its scarlet stare bore into me.

It was Pesanta.

He was the star of so many of my Dad’s stories. A demonic dog that would stalk through neighbourhoods at night and take the soul of children who were up past their bedtime. It’s a pretty screwed up thing to tell a child, but in a way, I’m glad he did, because it gave me an idea of what I was up against.

We stared at each other until dawn, a low growl leaving his curled lips every few minutes as I lay as still as I could underneath him, praying for the morning to arrive.

As the sun reached the top of the sky, he jumped down from the bed and slunk off through the window, looking back with his scarlet eyes and wicked smile to let me know he’d be back.

I told my Dad but he just laughed, reminding me of the silly stories he told me as a child, but these aren’t silly stories anymore.

This has been going on for seven years now. I haven’t slept a full night since he appeared. I never know when he’ll show up. Sometimes he stays away all night, only approaching for a minute or two before the sun rises, sometimes he’ll stay for the whole night. I never know, and that’s why I always have to watch for him.

My Dad doesn’t hear his padding across the floor as night falls, or feel his warm, muggy breath, or the icy trail of drool as the minutes tick by. He doesn’t shiver beneath his scarlet stare as the night slows to a stop.

AIt is real, and it won’t stop until I am dead. I don’t know how he found me. I don’t know why he wants me. I just know that he won’t stop, so I have to stop him before it’s too late, and I will, somehow.

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