Curdle

He told his mother, habitually, "Good night," as she slowly shut the door "click" behind her, just as he did every night.

The remaining light from the ceiling bothered his eyes, and he went to the other side of the room to shut it off from the switch. Just as he did so, he realized he would have to walk back to his bed in the pitch. He shuddered.

John hated the dark. An empty room full of dark felt just the same as a room in which a human sat watching him, motionlessly. He did not want to navigate in the dark; he turned the main light back on and returned to his bedside to turn on the lamp on his nightstand. Just as he pivoted back to turn off the headlights, he swore something brushed his ankle while he stood by the bed.

He was too startled to move. His heart rate increased as all of the blood in his body rushed to his head and he began to walk to the door in a lightheaded trance.

He felt as if he was on the outside looking in on himself. He saw every corner, every shadow cast upon the large bedroom. The lights dimmed until they final grew black.

John forced his breathing and walking to slow down to a normal pace, but his heart continued to pulse beneath his throat. He legged out the remaining distance and lumbered beneath his covers. The bed creaked in John's presence.

The thoughts began racing in front of his eyes. The faces of a thousand unburied grazed the very fabric of his mind. He saw the lifeless limbs, the dead, dark, cracked hair crawling beneath dressers and tables. It split in ways human hair should not, in a shade so black the light from the neighbor's lights that peaked from between the shades could not be reflected.

He knew it lay somewhere here, in this room, waiting for his anxiety to reach the level at which he'd leave. For now he'd stay put. He pulled his covers over his neck, as if to protect himself from his own mind.

A blunt and loud thump exploded from the closet across the room, as if something had fallen from a high shelf. Then it rolled over. it's just my head; it's only me

John pinched his eyes shut, only to find the inside of his eyelids were composed of the same mirages his empty room depicted. John refused to believe that whatever had fallen from the shelf starting moving, as if finding its bearing. Then the shuffling stopped.

John could not move or think: his brain swelled with blood.

He heard a second thump, this one more towards the center of his room.

The cold sweat from his hair stung his eyes as he shivered; his throat became hoarse.

He swallowed again. He heard a softer thump on the carpeted floor, as if a small child had taken but a small step closer.

No more foreign thumps came. Yet he began to breathe harder. He felt a demonic presence. The shadow of the lump had disappeared from the vicinity of his closet, but he still sensed the presence of a misshapen mistake. He choked on his own sweat and gagged as dark fluid tickled down his left nostril.

His hand fumbled around aimlessly in the dark over his nightstand, clumsily knocking the lamp to the floor

The bulb shattered into a thousand shards of bloodstained glass just before it emitted its final split second of white, which fell upon the face of a disfigured albino woman staring back with the bleakest expression.