The curtains were the safety.
I could never sleep unless the curtains were draped and folded over each other, obscuring the window completely. I could not even take a shower in the evenings, because once the dusk and dark hit I would become convinced that the moment I closed my eyes as I washed my hair, that something.... THE SOMETHING would be staring in at me when I open them.
I believed the curtains hid that same darkness. The moment I pulled the curtains apart I would see The Something.
He laughed at me for that.
I'd buried that fear, I thought, a long time ago. It remained as only a vague nervousness. Whenever the family left me alone in the house for more than a day he would tease me as we chatted online.
"There is a wee girl in yer garden, by the bird bath, the wee lass is staring in the windy!"
I would curse at him. I would tell him I don't believe in that anymore, but I wouldn't go into the kitchen that faced out the backyard for the rest of the night.
When we married, the car broke down as we headed up to the cabin. We could sleep here, he said, we'll be safe and then in the morning we can head up to the cabin as it's raining far too hard for us to wander about.
I clung to him during sleep, even rebuffing his attempt to have sex. I snuggled my face into his back and held onto him and breathed in his scent and told myself, as long as he is here... as long as he is here...
I vaguely woke when I heard him hiss, "Christ, I goat tae piss..."
And I jostled as he left the car in the clear pre-dawn to go take his piss. I dozed off and woke to a steady rain. I realized he'd been gone for quite a while.
The fear took me and my feet and hands went numb, and my mouth went dry. And when I was brave enough to peek. I saw a form pressed against the back window of the car. Fingers spread, eyes gleaming like light bulbs and a lolling mouth hanging open. It was bedraggled, dripping rainwater and blackish fluid from all over its body.
It kept opening and closing its mouth in a steady rhythmic fashion and I couldn't blink, and I couldn't move, and I couldn't scream.
The Something had finally arrived.