Five in the Morning

It's five in the morning and I'm lying here in the dark. Something just tickled my face. At least I think that's what woke me.
I am frozen... terrified... maybe even petrified. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but I am scared enough that I can feel the pounding of my heart.
What was it? Was it some-THING or some-ONE? And what do I do now?

I reach blindly for the phone... then stop. No. I cannot... I will not... allow myself to freak out. I must be strong and deal with this on my own. But can I?
Pulling the covers over my head, I curl up in a ball. I remain in that position for several minutes as all sorts of possibilities run through my mind.
Then I shake my head as I realize this is ridiculous.
Maybe it was a dream... or just my imagination. If that was the case, I would feel very foolish if anyone else knew.

That means I have to get up and check it out myself... and to do that I must face my fear and force myself to move.
Taking a deep breath, I throw back the covers and sit up quickly... just in case there was anything on the bed.
Next I fumble for the flashlight which I keep underneath my pillow for emergencies. With my eyes squeezed shut, I turn it on. Then I open them slowly, turning the flashlight and looking around me without moving from my spot. I don't see anything.

Kneeling on the bed, I check the sheets and pillow, fearful of what I will find.
Nothing.... I find nothing.
I shine the light over the headboard and night table also.
And there's nothing there.
There is nothing that I can see and yet I KNOW I felt it. Something touched me.
Was it a spider? Could it have been the tail of some small furry critter?
Or was it something totally unknown and much worse? Like something from one of my worst nightmares.
Still, I know I have one of the most active and wildest imaginations possible, so...

Next step... get out of the bed and check the entire room.
I check the rug beside the bed before my feet touch it. It looks okay.
Then I shake my slippers and shine the light into each one... just to be safe.
Nothing there either.
I slide my feet into the slippers slowly and breathe a sigh of relief when I feel nothing else in them.

I reach for my robe on the chair... could something be hiding underneath it?
I pick it up cautiously... with the tips of my fingers... and give it several vigorous shakes.
Nothing fell from it but I give it a few more good shakes to be sure before putting it on.

I look down and I wonder... could whatever touched me be under the bed? Uh-uh! No way. I know what I will see if I look in there... besides the dust bunnies... I will see the eyes shining in the dark. They might be yellow... or green... or maybe even red... but I know they will be there... watching me...

And with that in mind all thoughts of checking the room or going back to sleep just flew out the window. That's it! I cannot stay in this room a minute longer! I yank the door and rush downstairs towards the kitchen and the coffeepot. I don't care how early it is. What the heck? It must be daylight somewhere.

When daylight arrives, and after I've had oodles of coffee to calm my nerves, I go back upstairs and make up my bed. While doing this I find a fluffy feather sticking out of the pillow. Was that what tickled my face?

How silly of me. I feel like a complete wimp. And yet... one never knows what strange things lurk in the darkness... especially at five in the morning.

© Fay Herridge
Published in Story Quilt, Nov 2019


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