The crackling noise is back. Sammy can hear it running through the paper-thin walls down the hallway toward her room. Her heart beats to the rhythm of panic and fear as she pulls the covers up over her tiny body. Under the covers she is safe. Under the covers, there are no hidden monsters. Under the covers the scratching, crackling sounds are muffled, yet that is not what she hears now.
The angry, violent voice startles her, and she instinctively squeezes her eyes shut.
“He can’t find you,” she tells herself. Yet there is a tugging at the foot of the bed. She can feel the room grow thick as the stench of sewer drifts in through the bathroom. She doesn’t dare do what the voice tells her to do. She pretends that she is safe hidden under her covers.
The blankets tug once more at her feet. She can feel death lingering around her bed as his icy fingers graze her plump little toes. She wants to scream. She wants to move, but it is too late. She is frozen there in her bed, hidden under the covers as the monsters close in around her.
“Get UP!” The voice growls close to her ear. His breath is putrid causing Sammy’s stomach to twist. Determined footsteps fall away from her bed. For a moment Sammy thinks she’s won, that he is leaving. False hope as Sammy hears her toys colliding with the closet door. She lets out a squeal. That is all she can unleash from her cage. Any more than that and he will find her. Right now, she is safe, tucked under her covers praying for the light of day.
She can feel his fingers graze her foot through the thick comforter. She pulls her legs up to her chest hoping the darkness has masked her movement. The crackling drifts down the hall. The scratching follows. Sammy dares to peel the comforter from her head to steal a peak.
Her room is filled with the shadows of night. Her eyes frantic and wild search for her door as her ears strain to listen to the noises. Somewhere in the house, he is there; she knows that. Somewhere in the darkness he is hiding and waiting. Sammy’s chest tightens as she debates running like a ghost to her mother’s room. Just because the noises have stopped doesn’t mean he isn't still there, that he isn’t lurking.
Sammy can’t wait any longer. The moment is now, or she will be trapped under her blankets till dawn. With the swoosh of her blanket, she makes a break for the open door of her mother’s room down the hall. Her heart pounds in her little chest as her tiny feet echo throughout the house alerting him to her presence. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a flicker of darkness wash out the moonlight. It is too late, and he knows she is there. She can’t stop now.
“Mommy!” Sammy cries as she enters her mother's room. The little lamp on the side of the bed dispels the darkness and sends it running to the corners of the room.