's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Bed Worries

Submitted by Squeeg

When I feel something in my bed, something I didn't know was there, I shut my eyes and go still. I pretend I didn't notice it. I don't try to find out what's there.

Because what if it is something? What if it is something standing there with its thin, hard, plasticy legs, breathing cold against my thighs perpendicular to the fan? What if it is something just behind me, tickling at the hairs on my arm? What if it is something that knows me, that hates me, that must and must destroy me- but I'm only protected each night by its thoughts that I don't know it?

What if it wants me to see its face- its terror-inducing, not-quite-human, wrong face, with rolling, bulging eyes and breathing mouth and lolling tongue? What if it wants me to turn and feel its hairs through the thin fabric of my shirt, against the exposed skin of my neck and nostrils- what if all it needs to press its way in and fill my body to asphyxiate me or worse is one single exposed eye or ear or breathing hole? What if, when I turn and see, it won't let me look away though the sight fills me with manic fear?

What if the void surrounding me is all that keeps the being at bay, though it may simply be a thought?

These are questions that keep me frozen, that keep my eyes tight closed, that keep me pretending to sleep as it drags its wet tongue along my scalp, as it pricks at my hands with its small, sharp kitten-claws. These are the questions that drive me to stay down when it clicks and chatters and rubs against my back. These are the questions for which, when it speaks to me with its almost-silent voice, calling the names in my mind, I do not answer.

Because what if it is something I know? What if it knows what I've thought and what I've done? What if its pinpricks have learned my soul, its body so close above mine simply to remind me that it knows? What if it's been here the whole time, and it's watching me write this now?

I can feel its face right next to mine.