This isn't the sort of night for sleep—at least that's what you tell yourself. Sitting in front of the computer and typing away seems like a far better use of time, especially since tomorrow will be the start of your two-day break from work. Making frosty confections at the local Dairy Queen has its perks, but, when it comes down to it, work is work, and even ice cream can become monotonous and awful after awhile.
You lean back a bit, having been perched on your bed with your trusty laptop, and heave a sigh. It's hot in your room. Sticky, humid hot.
You draw a hand across your forehead and frown at the moisture left behind, wiping your hand absently on the comforter that adorns your bed. You glance apprehensively towards the window; blinds down, curtains pulled. Opening it just a little crack could supply a bit of relief from this heat. God knows, after all, that once you actually decide to attempt to sleep, you won't be able to do so if it stays this damn hot.
So why does a dull, cold sort of dreading fill your chest at the thought of lifting the blinds? You've looked out that window countless times, in day or night, and got over your fear of darkened windows at a much younger age. But, as if the fear has grown anew, you find your hands shaking at the mere thought of peering through the murky glass.
You wring your hands together, feeling ashamed for having such a random, irrational fear. As an afterthought, you glance toward the glowing screen of your laptop, considering updating your blog to alert your online friends of the little panic attack you just endured. You decide against it.
. . .
It's now 3:00 A.M. Sweat beads on your forehead. You can’t seem to wipe it away fast enough. It's irritating more than anything. What's the point of sweating if there is no airflow to cool you? No, there is none of that in this stuffy little room. You glance tentatively behind you, back at the window. It's starting to look a lot more inviting than earlier. But, even so, the feeling again rises in your chest.
You bite nervously on your lower lip. You can’t leave the room; everyone else is asleep, and mom will get mad if she sees you awake this late. And you have important things to do; a blog to run, and friends to talk to—friends that never seem to say much until the wee hours of the morning. You have to open that window. If you don't, you’ll surely melt into a hapless puddle, a sorrier sight than the many spilled ice creams of the children you've served, left to expire upon the hot pavement outside.
You steel yourself. This is stupid, so stupid. It's just a dumb window; a pane of glass to keep out the bugs. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Well...really, the window isn't the root of your fear, and you know it. It was the outside. The nighttime. The shadows. It doesn't matter now though. You like the night, you tell yourself. Besides, being afraid of the dark is for children—small children—and you aren't about to stoop to that.
You edge across the room. The feeling in your chest never left. With every tiny movement of your feet, it swells and grows. You almost feel... nauseous. You shake your head quickly. This is stupid, this is STUPID! You take a deep breath. You reach forward, and, in a swift motion, yank the curtains aside.
Your heart thumps a million beats per minute, and your face is flushed. How silly of you. There are still the blinds. Somehow, pulling back the curtains felt liberating in a way. The queasiness soon subsides, and you let out a sigh of relief. You've been tricking yourself, hyping yourself up over a dumb window. Without a second thought, you yank the string to the blinds and glance outside.
It's a peaceful night, despite the heat. The view of your yard is certainly no different than you recalled, albeit, well...darker. You take a moment to laugh aloud at yourself and your antics this evening, and slide the window open wide. All that stress, and for what? The cool breeze coming through, at the very least, is a slight compensation to all the trouble.
You turn back to your computer and plop back down on your bed, hurriedly typing out a post to your friends.
“You guys won’t believe how paranoid I've been tonight. It took me like three hours to work up the nerve to open the window, can you believe it? I feel like a total idiot. Maybe my emotions are out of whack or something.” You stop typing after that sentence. Your fingers hover over the keyboard, quivering violently. In the reflection of the lighted screen, you see two glowing dots; not belonging to your alarm clock across the room, or of the television's standby light.
They're reflecting from directly behind you. From the window. Slowly, they move. A sharp, alabaster grin joins the red glowing orbs.
“So nice of you to finally open the window.”