There are toys to be played with, laughter to be sung out, and gift cards to cash in. Therefore today I give you all another story I wrote some years back. Enjoy.
She lay in bed, trying to pretend everything was normal. The radio was on. Her boyfriend was next to her. She was fine, in no danger at all. But she could not sleep.
It was the hand, his hand, back lit and shadowy, resting on his side. She couldn’t be certain; in fact she had to be wrong. The hand wasn’t looking at her, staring, waiting until she closed her eyes. Hands aren’t scary.
She tried to calm herself. Her boyfriend’s snoring began to grow louder. Her mind gripped onto that reality: her loving companion, asleep next to her. Maybe he would rollover, taking her view of the hand away. She waited. And waited. For once, he slept soundly.
She would convince herself this was silly. It was just the darkness of the room frightening her. She would overcome this foolishness. She closed her eyes. And opened them a nano second later. Did it move? No, she knew it hadn’t. It is a hand. Hands are not that quick, especially the hand of a sleeping lover.
She would do better. Count to five. Yes, she would close her eyes and count to five. She could do this. It was simple. She closed her eyes and counted 1 … 2 … 3…
She quickly opened her eyes. She had felt something touching her neck. But it had not moved, not even a fraction of an inch. That hand was still on his side. Yet, it felt like fingers, cold fingers, had tried to wrap around her neck.
But how could this be? The hand was exactly as it had been, unmoving, seeming to stalk her still.
This is in my head. I cannot let fear control me. I will do this.
She would close her eyes again. She could count to ten this time. She would do this, in hopes of willing herself to sleep. She closed her eyes. 1 … 2 … 3
Breath escaped her. She opened her eyes, reaching for her neck. Once again, she felt the cold fingers against her skin. And once again, the hand was there, unmoved.
She could not sleep. She could not think. Her fear gripped her mind. How would she survive this night with that hand always watching, waiting for her to close her eyes?
He can help me. I can rouse him.
Slowly, she reached over to his back and gently pushed him. No response. She tried again, harder. He stirred, finally.
Like many other nights, he turned over and pulled her close. She snuggled into his embrace, relieved she no longer saw the hand in the scary light.
He gripped her hip, as he was prone to do. The gesture sent soothing waves through her. She relaxed and closed her eyes, nuzzling into her pillow.
And as she began to dream of their coming beach vacation, feeling the warmth of the sun on her skin, and the breeze toss up her hair, she did not feel the cold fingers slip around her neck, as it squeezed the life out of her.
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