's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" Authentic "

Submitted by Vague1

There was never a monster under my bed.

Or in my closet.

Or behind my bedroom door.

But I checked every night.

I was afraid. Not of injury, or pain, or even death, but always of whatever I thought may be there when I looked, so every night I looked to make sure that it wasnít there. It was a bit of a paradox, trying to find something you hope isnít there, but I had to know. Each night, as I undressed and hung my clothes in the closet, I had to check each of its dark corners, always moving my gaze from the top left, to the right, down, and to the left again. When I closed the closet, I had to push on the doors three times to drown out the sound they made sliding together. I locked my bedroom door, but it could be opened easily enough. The act of locking it was symbolic, as was checking the lock three times, and looking under the bed, and closing the blinds, in that order. The blinds were usually closed anyway, and I drew the curtains most of the time. I would always lock my second-story windows, of course. I wished that the room could be darker, even when I started to wear a sleep mask.

Uncertain shapes moved unseen past my windows in the night, in the small hours of the morning, in the evening as the sun set over the houses and the treetops.

I did not fear the dark.

I feared what I might see, out of the corners of my eyes, standing by my bedside, or sitting beside me as I lay.

I replaced the lamp that stood in the corner after I had a nightmare where it was a man watching me sleep.

I made a habit of waving goodbye to mirrors and empty rooms. I snapped my fingers in a farewell to the reflection in my bedroom before I collapsed into bed every night. Sometimes I would lie awake in the dark until morning, as sleep eluded me once again. On those nights I would think of all the things there could be on the other side of the blankets. Perhaps a man with a neck like a snake. A small, gray infant with long jointed fingers who would touch my open mouth when I slept. I pulled the bedsheets close over my ear to guard against the long armed man who would come in the night and drip into it things from a little glass bottle, and back when I slept in an upper bunk I would always face the wall so that I would never see the one standing in the middle of the bedroom smiling over the railing. Huge faces peered out from the darkness within the closet.

I hid from them in my routines, in the control which I hoped that I had.

Were they hiding from me?