Every morning, we found our daughter on the couch in the living room. We put her to bed upstairs, and yet she was downstairs every day. At first we thought she was sleep walking, but she never was afraid when she woke up, nor was she thrown off by the unexpected nocturnal change of location. We tried asking her about it, but she never gave us straight answers.
My wife grew tired of it.
“It isn’t normal,” she said. “She should be sleeping in her room.”
But she hadn’t spent the whole night there for months. Every morning we found her on the couch, sleeping soundly. Then my wife decided to stay up and wait for her to come down from her room. We put her to bed, closed the door, and went down to our room where I laid down on the bed. My wife stayed out though, watching the living room through the glass doors.
No more than five minutes after we had left, she came down to the couch. I knew because I heard the living room door open and my wife started talking softly. After a few minutes, their voices started rising. I got up and went to see what was wrong. I walked in, and my wife was standing at the bottom of the stairs, while our daughter cried and begged her not to go up them.
I picked her up and held her, trying to calm her down, and my wife went up. I heard the door to our daughter’s room open, and then close moments later. She started crying even more then. I asked her what was wrong, and she whimpered out “we don’t go up there after dark.” I was confused and wondered where my wife was. She hadn’t come back down yet. I set our daughter down and walked to the stairs. She screamed for me to stop, but I didn’t listen. I walked up slowly to the top and turned to her room. I opened the door and the light was off. I called my wife’s name, but she didn’t answer.
Our daughter’s screaming from downstairs had stopped then; only soft sobs came up to my ears. I stepped in the room to flip the light switch, but nothing happened. Then the bulb in the hallway started to flicker. I turned around as it went out. All I saw was a blur of black that even dimmed the darkness around me. The door slammed shut, and the wails of our daughter reached up through the floorboards as the overture to my final moments. All that there was at the end was darkness and screaming.