“Are you afraid of the dark?”
That was the question her mother asked as she tucked Eren into bed.
Most fifteen-year-olds weren’t scared of the dark, most fifteen-year-olds didn’t have their mothers tuck them in. So it made some sense to lie—it was embarrassing.
“No.” Eren tried to keep her voice light, to hide the lie.
Most teenagers would be past this stage by now. But most teenagers didn’t see the darkness—not the way Eren did. Didn’t know that it was alive. But it was.
A creature was in the darkness of her bedroom every night, or maybe the darkness was the creature. Something was there, and Eren couldn’t help her fear of it.
“Okay,” Her mother said with a smile, “Goodnight.” She flicked the light off.
The darkness rose around Eren. It surrounded her, flooding into her eyes and her mind, making the afterimages of her bedroom light flash every time she blinked. It was a slow fear, like the cold seeping in whenever Eren walked outside in the wintertime. It was terrifying.
She tried to ignore it; sleep would come eventually.
It did, and dreams filled Eren’s mind, confusing fiction with reality, changing fear into a dull, confusing blur. Distracting Eren from the dark.
And the dark went on living.