A thundering noise woke me up with a start. My heart beat clear out of my chest and I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. I looked to my left, no one was by the window. I looked to my right, no one was in my closet. I looked down towards my door, no one by the end of my bed.
I sat up and hugged my knees, trembling.
I knew the noise hadn’t come from outside the house, because it had been too distinct. I tried to convince myself that it was just my Aunt Cindy finally arriving late after having dinner with her costars. I was home-schooled, which meant I stayed with my Aunt on weekdays while my mother worked at the local Funeral home. On Fridays, I slept over at my Aunt’s house and unfortunately, this month my Aunt was in a play, which meant she’d often get home late.
Maybe she had dropped something on the floor by accident, and that had caused the loud noise? No, deep down inside, I knew exactly who had made the sound and I was terrified.
Pulling my sheets up all the way to my nose, I whispered “No no no, it’s just a dream, he’s not real, it’s just a dream."
I held my breath.
I thought to myself, Maybe he’s gone? Yeah that’s it. I’m worried for nothing. It was just Aunt Cindy outside. He’s not here.
The noise thundered again and I stifled a scream.
This time the sound came from right outside my door. He was so close I could hear the muffled sound of his ragged breathing.
“Please just go away,” I whispered, shutting my eyes tightly. “Please leave me alone.”
This monster had plagued me since I was six. I was now seven years old meaning I had suffered this torment for a full year. He would always show up whenever I was feeling particularly anxious. At first he was just a voice, then he was a pair of yellow eyes, now judging from the sounds outside my door, he was a full body apparition.
As the door began to slowly creak open, I hid underneath my sheets, trembling from head to toe. I heard the soft thud of his footsteps on the floorboards and tears began to form in my eyes. His deep, evil laughter sounded in my ears and I clapped my hands over them.
“Leave me alone!” I exclaimed. “If you hurt me, I’ll tell Mr. Optim!”
I felt his scaly hands curl around the top of my sheets, but when I had shouted Optim’s name, he hesitated.
Optim can’t help you now, he hissed, in a chillingly deep voice, Not while I'm here.
“You’re lying,” I squeaked. “Mr. Optim said if I imagine him real hard, he can come to me wherever I am.” I scrunched up my face and thought with all my might about Mr. Optim. I thought of his pink wavy hair, his color changing eyes, and the ever present smile on his youthful, yet wise, face. The knot in my chest slowly began to ease and I opened my eyes, expecting the scary man to vanish.
The menacing outline of the man still greeted me through the sheets.
He chuckled darkly once more.
Seems like he’s not coming, he said.
My chest rose and fell quickly. Why wasn’t Mr. Optim appearing? He always appeared in an instant whenever I thought about him hard enough.
The man ripped the sheets clean off me.
My room was too dark for me to see him properly, but that didn't matter. He scared me more than any creature on earth.
“Get away from me!” I screamed over and over. The man just laughed uproariously as his yellow eyes began to pierce through the darkness. I wrapped my arms around my head to cover my eyes and my screams grew more shrill.
That’s when a bright light filled my room and the scary man’s laughter stopped abruptly.
“Be gone creature!” a different man’s voice shouted. “You are not welcome here.”
I heard the creature cry out in anger as there was a loud BOOM.
I took deep, shaking breaths, but refused to take my hands away from my eyes. It was too good to be true.
I heard my bedside lamp turn on and felt a gentle hand on my shoulder.
“Mia dear, are you alright?” the other man asked kindly.
I opened my eyes and saw the orange eyes of my imaginary friend, Mr. Optim staring back at me.