There's something in my attic. Too large to be a mouse. I think it's a human.
My parents don't think so. “Kat, your imagination has run wild again,” they said. “There is nothing in the attic except for bugs, and possibly mice.” My father sets up mousetraps just in case.
That night I lay in bed; the covers tucked up to my chin. I hear the noise again; the snap of mousetraps adding to the fray. Something is up there.
I grab a flashlight and slip out of bed. The floorboards are like ice beneath my feet. I reach up to tug the rope that will lower the ladder to the attic.
The noises above my head stop.
I hold the flashlight tight in one hand as I ascend; my palms slicking with sweat. My head pops into the darkness before my flashlight beam can light up the attic's interior.
A CRASH sounds behind me. The flashlight beam reveals there is nothing there aside from cobweb covered trunks. Dust dances in the beam of light as I move it to sweep the rest of the attic.
A shadow dwelt in the corner of the attic. Too big to be a mouse.
My heartbeat quickens. It's my imagination. Surely it had to be.
I force myself into the attic, walking across it slowly. I follow the snapped mousetraps along the floor like a trail of breadcrumbs. Was I about to become a Hansel or Gretel to this shadow?
“I won't hurt you. I'm a friend.” I stand in front of the shadow, placing my flashlight on the ground. “What are you doing in the attic?”
The shadow doesn't answer. It just continues to stare back at me in the same manner it had before. I reach out a hand towards it. I had to know what it was.
A growl suddenly emanating from the shadow pulls me up short; the shadowy head suddenly developing two glowing yellow eyes.
“You should have let me sleep,” it growls as a scream fell from my mouth.
My flashlight went out . I am completely surrounded by darkness. My heartbeat pounds loudly in my ears. It was watching me. Whatever it was, it was still here.
Something coils about me, wrapping me up as if I was about to be mummified alive. “Curiosity killed the Kat,” the voice growls, using my name in a most unpleasant way.
Goosebumps line my arms; the coils getting tighter. Sweat drips from my body. Another scream leaves my mouth, muffled this time as if cotton balls have been shoved into my mouth.
“It's just her imagination,” my father's distant voice said then. A weight lifts off my chest before he exits the room.
I wake up, moving my head away from the pillow that was covering part of my mouth. I unwrap myself from my blankets as I turn my head to look towards my bedside table.
The desk lamp beside my bed illuminates the book I have been reading all week. “Night Terrors” the spine reads, staring back at me in eerie red font.
I reach over to turn out the light. My parents were right. It was just my imagination. I relax and close my eyes to go back to sleep.
Mousetraps snap in the attic above my head.