Awake. Must be early morning. Hear closet door open. Sense something on the other side of the room. Near the door. The usual place. Try to move; know itís no use. Same routine as always, though youíve never quite grown accustomed. Itís the immediacy of the thing. The thing in the corner near the door. It isnít really there, the apparition; a misfiring of a primitive part of the brain. You know that even though your senses are screaming otherwise.
Youíre fine. Donít panic. Relax. Thereís nothing there. Itís all in your mind. Soon your body will get with the program and you can return to sleep. Youíll barely think of it in the morning. Thereís nothing there. Nothing by the door, nothing making its way to the foot of the bed. You donít hear a thing. No footsteps. Youíre perfectly fine. Relax. Itís all in your mind. Focus on how fine you are. Lucky, really, when you think about how worse off most people have it. Just donít look. You donít have to look. You used to look and that just made things worse. Where did your brain even come up with what you saw anyways? No more horror movies. Eyes closed. Relax. You are okay.
Deep breaths. Focus on the sound of your breathing. In through the nose. Hold. Exhale. Repeat. Just you, in bed, breathing deep breaths. Not the sound of lip smacking. That isnít really there. No need to panic. This happens to lots of people. Deep breaths. Your breaths. Not the sound of breathing coming from the foot of the bed. There is no sound coming from there. No dark mass looming over you. Itís probably a good two feet taller than it was when it first appeared by the door. It would always grow when you looked. But you wouldnít know because you arenít going to look. Eyes closed. Deep steady breaths. Soon youíll come to and youíll see that there wasnít anything there.
You are doing great. Perfectly safe. All alone. Fingers donít work. Focus and theyíll soon respond. Such a simple thing. Just wiggle a finger. Raise a hand. You do it all the time, itís effortless. Automatic. First the right then the left. Wiggle your fingers, raise your arms. Jazz-hands away the thing that isnít there at the foot of the bed. Just you breathing, moving your fingers. Good thoughts. Summers at the beach. No looming terror. Nothing to be afraid of. Nothing placing its palms on either side of your feet. No weight compressing the foot of the mattress. No lip smacking. Just you. Alone. Safe in bed.
Five. Deep breath. Focus on moving fingers. Exhale. Pointer finger, right side. Focus and try to wiggle. Not happening. Try again. Inhale. Four. No palms walking their way up on either side. No weight on the bed. Just you. Exhale. Pointer finger left side. No connection. Wiggle toes. Dormant. Donít look. Nothing to look at. Just you here. Wake up. Inhale. Three. Lip smacking isnít getting louder. No unintelligible whispers. Tomorrow is going to be a good day. Take the day off if you want. You deserve it; been working hard lately. Twirl right thumb. Pinch yourself awake. Exhale. Two. No weight on chest. Breathe easily. Light as a feather. Can move fingers if you focus. Inhale. Concentrate. Not panicking. Nothing to be upset about. One. Fingers twitch. Raise hand. Exhale. Not feeling grasp of another hand. No cracked skin against your palm. No broken nails pressing against your wrist. No reason to get excited. Not being pulled from bed. Best not look. Not on ground. Still in bed. Not being pulled towards closet. Snug as a bug. Alone. Can take day off. Sleep in. No mouth noises. No unintelligible languages. Not being dragged across floor. Closet door definitely not open. You always double check. Still in bed. Best not to look. Eyes closed. Definitely not in closet. No foul odor. Closet door not closing. No sound of a blade scraping a whetstone. Safe and sound. You are doing great.