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It Found Me
It began. It crawled out from the darkness of a lair. It didn’t know anything but mischief and cruelty. It inhabited the emptiness of the mind. It hid with the clutter of forgotten and decayed things. It didn’t even have a body of its own; it was only capable of feeding with insatiable hunger and of grasping with tenacious fingers. I had found it under my bed, the night that Mystery decided to play its tricks.
I had woken to find myself only five centimeters tall, lying in the center of my crisp, clean pillow. The sheets were a white wasteland, and the bed a cliff face. The walls were washed in blue light from the moon, and the steady breathing of my sister was louder than a storm.
When your sixth sense prickles, you can not ignore it. I was alone… apparently… but… something was different on the air. I slid off of the gigantic expanse of my pillow, and hurried toward the edge of my bed; it seemed much too far away. My senses were chasing me, causing my recently-shrunk skin to itch all over. I looked back when I reached the impossibly tall cliff that was the edge of the mattress; I could not see a thing.
The world spun, and gravity sent me tumbling back. I collided with the curve of my blankets, and I was sliding downward, down to a mottled blue floor covered in shadow, clawing at the smooth cloth with my fright. I rolled uncontrollably to the end of my fall, and a black nothingness collapsed on my body. I felt that I would lay there forever in the hole of my despair. It was so hard and suffocating. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t believe.
And then the cloud lifted suddenly. I gasped on the new air, and, with my freedom, forced my arms and legs to move to my will; survival propelled me onward, a sheer stubbornness that all creatures must possess to become truly living.
I breathed as deep as I dared in the echoing silence. I rose to my knees, my muscles aching, and I cried as I pulled my way up. The pain was nearly unbearable.
And finally, I could stand, my legs shaking and my fingers trembling. Strength began to return to me. I hiccupped on the relief that swelled in my lungs… and I opened my eyes.
The cave before me was dark and thick in the nighttime shades of light. I could see the incredibly tall objects that had seemed so small before, outlined in the blackness.
This fantastic world beckoned to me. So many things that I had hidden under the place I slept, and eventually forgotten. I walked forward into the darkness, passing a dirty sock and a dusty white shoe with buckles. There was my box of crayons that I accidentally melted by the fire, and a scrap of paper I’d scribbled my name on. There was the dollar bill I’d saved from my last job for my father and forgotten to spend. There was a candy wrapper from last Halloween.
I continued on… and the land began to subtly change. Thick dust coated the blue carpet that I walked on, and made my teeth feel awfully gritty. The objects became older and sad looking. A doll with a face drawn by marker, a baby book with chewed corners, a puzzle piece with a missing edge were a few to name.
I heard it first; the breathing of a labored monster, ragged and disgusting; it scraped across the air on its invisible fingers; it was dangerously close; it liked to take its prey from behind.
As I turned to face my attacker… it found me… and I screamed.
And I woke with racing heart and sweaty body… and I hurried to find my mother in her bed, asleep until I worried her with my nightmares.