Its footsteps were close behind me. They pounded on the floor in the same rhythm as mine; mocking me.
My fingers barely caught the edge of the open door as I ran through it, slamming it shut behind me. I leaned against it with all my weight, fumbling behind my back with the lock.
I could almost hear its breathing behind the thin wooden barrier that separated us. I could almost feel its cold, dead eyes on the back of my head.
A shadow stretched across the room. It came from outside the window.
The window that I always leave open.
I barely made it. I barely had enough time to pull back the green curtains and slam the window shut. My shaky legs barely held me up. My shaky fingers fumbled terribly with the metal clasp. My heart was pounding faster than a jackhammer.
I made the mistake of looking up. Its eyes met with mine. They looked identical to the ones I’d just escaped. They were as cold as an abyss. It felt as though they were sucking me in, trying to pull me into that inky darkness.
I sank to the ground, letting the curtains fall back against the glass. The thick green fabric was nothing more than a feeble barrier. It wouldn’t do anything if it broke through those windows.
Behind me, the door was shaking. The doorknob jiggled over and over again, as though the thing was trying to open the door normally.
It knocked too, a special rhythm that only my mother used. It was a signal we had come up with to avoid telemarketers. She was the only one who used that knock.
Out of instinct, I headed towards the door, reaching to open it. I pulled my hand back only a second before I reached the silver lock.
No. I said to myself. That thing is not my mother. My mother is dead.
Tears blurred my vision as I turned away from the door. They carved paths down my cheeks as I frantically scanned the room. I needed something to keep it out. The door was weak, made of white plywood. It wouldn’t hold long.
The bookshelves were too heavy with all the books in them and I had no time to take them out. My desk was useless; too weak.
The dresser was my only choice. I ran to it, flinging the drawers to the ground and grunting as I dragged it across the wooden floor of my room. I pushed against it with my back until it was positioned securely in the doorway.
At the same time, the sound of shattering glass on my right caught my attention. Small, crystal shards scattered across my floor. One landed in front of my right foot.
The shadow from the window grew darker. I could see the imprint of its hand against my curtain. Smoke began to rise where it gripped the green cloth. It rose to the ceiling and gathered around the light fixture.
Within a second, the curtain was consumed by black flames. The whole room stank of rotting, burning flesh.
As if on cue, the door in front of me went up in the same flames. They ate the dresser.
I backed away from the heat, plugging my nose in a futile attempt to keep the overwhelming stench out.
My shoulders hit the wall. I had nowhere left to go. I had trapped myself in a corner.
I sank to the ground and hugged my knees, unable to close my eyes as I watched their gnarled, black feet approach me.
Cold hands reached down towards me. Bony black fingers wrapped around my neck, lifting me from the ground. I couldn’t breathe.
I caught a glimpse of their faces as my neck snapped backwards. The last thing I saw was the charred, dehydrated faces of my late mother and father.