Screech. Screech. Screech. Fighting the urge to scream, I clasped my shaking hands tightly over my ears and huddled in terror further into my cave of blankets, trying to block out the horrifying sounds grating against my bedroom window. It had to be the wind… There was no other explanation. I was on the second floor, and it was a stormy night. I knew I was being silly; imaging things that weren’t there. But the uncontrollable and suffocating blanket of horror coursing through my veins didn’t accept that reality. The bone-chilling shriek of fingernails down a chalkboard continued to permeate my senses, even with my ears covered, as the inky darkness of the night fought to scratch through my window to get me.
Lowering my hands from my ears slowly, I tensed as the silence weighed down around me. “Lissssssaaaaa” the wind whispered. Whimpering in fright, I huddled further down in my bed and curled my arms around my legs in a foetal position. I was too scared to get up, too scared to call anyone, too scared to move. My limbs felt frozen, my body paralysed by fright. I could do nothing but cry in terror as I cocooned myself and prayed for salvation and safety.
“Choo choo!” The loud chirp of my phone cause me to shriek in shock, and I quickly reached out my arm from beneath the doona to grab it and pull it back under the covers with me.
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door… The scream ripped from my throat before I could stop it, and I started sobbing in earnest as I shook under the covers. There really was someone out there. I was going to die tonight. I always wondered what I’d do in this situation. Watching movies it always seemed so easy – RUN YOU STUPID WOMAN – GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!!! WHY AREN’T YOU RUNNING? ARE YOU THAT GODDAMN STUPID?!?! YOU DESERVE TO DIE!!! But now I understood why they stayed. Why they didn’t run screaming for their lives. I couldn’t move from fear. I don’t think I would ever move again. I just wanted it over with already. Maybe if I were lucky I’d die of a heart attack from all this fright first.
“Five, six grab your crucifix… seven, eight gonna stay up late…” The next two lines of the rhyme floated through the air softly from outside my window followed by a sharp bang as the person outside slammed their fist against the window and tried to break the pane. I screamed again and realised I needed to move. I needed to get out.
Stretching my leg out the side of my bed, I tentatively lifted the corner of the duvet, squeezing my eyes shut so I wouldn’t have to see anything. I would not be a victim. But I didn’t want to look either. No no no no no! I rolled out of the bed, wincing as my knees gave out and I crashed to the cold wooden floor beneath me.
Bang, bang bang! Slammed his fist against the fragile window pane. I cringed as I heard the first crack splinter along the glass.
“Even if you run I’ll catch you. You’ll never escape me” The voice whispered through my room, still diluted by sounds of the wind outside and the thin pane of glass that separated us. I leant my hands on the hard floor and cried in earnest, unable to get up, unable to move. Then the phone rang.
Sobbing, I realised it was still clenched in my hand and vibrating against the floor where I had it pressed. “He-he-hello?” I choked, unable to hold back the sobs wracking my frightened body.
“Turn around” the cold, clear voice demanded through the speaker. I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t move. “TURN THE FUCK AROUND!” The voice screamed through the speaker; the words echoing around my room from both the outside and the small phone.
I guess this is it, I thought as I squeezed my eyes shut and started to stand on shaky legs. I’m too young to die, too pretty to be maimed, I thought frantically as I slowly turned to face the window on unsteady legs, unable to open my eyes.
But I guess it’s just my time. Resignedly, I opened my eyes. But I couldn’t stop the soul wrenching scream that tore me apart as I stared into the illuminated face grinning ghoulishly at me from outside the cracked window.
And then I woke up screaming. My poor household. My poor cats – I don’t think I’ve ever seen them leap so far so fast as they took off from their comfortable positions on the bed. If only I’d been able to do that in my dream! So, I guess the lesson I learnt last night was no more scary books before bedtime, and no more Freddy Kruger-esque delusions! Can’t shake the dream today though- that rhyme has just been on repeat in creepy children’s voices through my head all day… *Shiver*.