The sound was faint but definitely there. A small child, giggling, singing. “Peek-a-boo! I see you! I see you, I see you Daddy!” The giggling was shrill, and grew louder.
When the sound was in the room with him, he could no longer breathe. The giggling stopped.
“I see you Daddy.”
The voice was in his ear, quiet and collected, unlike any child he had ever heard. He jerked up out of bed and clutched his chest, hyperventilating.
He was drenched in a cold sweat. He jerked to his side, looking for the source of the noises, but found nothing. A dream. It was just a dream.
A cruel dream. His baby, his beautiful little girl, hadn’t run through the halls, waking him at night begging to play a game, in years. She never would again.
He rose from his bed, wiping the tears from his cheeks. He walked to the bathroom slowly, trying to ignore the sound of small feet pitter-pattering through the halls.
The sound that has haunted him for a decade. He flicked on the lights of the bathroom, taking a moment to stare longingly at the bath toys. The toys he couldn’t bear to throw away. That she begged to have.
He threw cold water to his face, hoping to wash all thought from his mind, avoiding the urge to glance at the Strawberry Shortcake toothbrush, still in the little cup at the edge of the sink.
When he looked into the mirror, he shrieked and jumped backwards, slamming against the wall. A shock went up his spine, and he saw stars.
In the mirror, he could swear on the Bible, he saw his little girl. Just out the door way into the hall.
He got up, ignoring the searing pain in his back, and bolted out of the bathroom, slamming his shoulder into the door frame as he went.
A chill surged through his body. He stopped dead in his tracks, and looked instinctively to his right. The door to his daughter’s room stood ajar, for the first time in twelve years.
He walked into the room, his body numb to any and all sensation. The room was the same as he remembered.
Bright colors, toys everywhere, the book he read to her every night still lay at rest on her nightstand. A layer of dust covered the room making it look as if it were a museum display. Untouched, undisturbed.
He walked over to the bed, and sat on the side, like he used to.
“Why are you doing this to me baby girl? Huh?”
The tears were streaming down his face, and he gently lifted his daughter’s body out of her bed.
He cradled her, rocking back and forth.
“Why are you playing these mean games with Daddy?” He stroked her hair, humming gently.
The giggling started again, softly at first. The soft giggling was followed by the humming. The horrible, horrible humming. The song he hummed to keep her asleep that night.
He broke into a cold sweat, a violent chill shuddering through his body.
The humming grew louder and louder, until it was right in his ear. His heart was racing and the blood was roaring in his ears, but he could still hear the humming.
He felt a soft, cold hand on the side of his head and he let out a scream. The humming stopped, the giggling stopped, and the chill of the room disappeared.
He let out shuddering sobs, clutching his beautiful daughter.
“I’m sorry..! I loved you so much. I’m sorry!!” He screamed to the emptiness.
The giggling started again, but with a sickening tone to it. “Let’s play Daddy~ Let’s play!~”
“I love you baby girl, please forgive me… I love you!” The soft, tapping footsteps, followed by a telltale click.
“Let’s play a new game Daddy.” The voice said in a monotone, dead voice.
A sickening bang, followed by silence.