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No Louder, No Softer

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There is a tale I should tell. A story to answer a question you once asked yourself as a child. A question that you may still ponder from time to time. What happens in the places you can’t see? Not necessarily in the dark. Ordinary places that are simply unobserved, like the space under your bed. As a child this question once terrified you; as it very well should.

It was late one night, I don’t remember exactly what time. All I remember is thinking that I shouldn’t be up so late. I was sending messages to that one person whom had set up permanent residence in my mind so of course I didn’t really care how late it was. As time wore on I began to realize how tired I was growing. I didn’t have anything to do the next day so there was no pressing reason why I needed to sleep other than pure exhaustion. I decided to make some coffee so as to stay awake and continue my conversation.

As I rose from my chair I noticed an odd scratching sound coming from somewhere in the room. It startled me, but I decided it was likely a bug or something so I payed it little mind. I left the room and proceeded into the kitchen toward the pantry. After locating the coffee grounds and beginning the process of preparation, I heard the scratching again. It made my skin crawl. I don’t like bugs so I was made quite uncomfortable by the thought of having them in such close proximity.

At this point I decided to turn on some music, reassuring myself that drowning out the scratching sound will render it moot. I finished preparing my coffee and moved to return to my room. As I entered, I felt a chill run up my spine. My whole body felt tense and I was overwhelmed with an odd sense of foreboding. I quickly moved towards my stereo to activate it, but it wouldn’t turn on. I pressed the power over and over again but to no avail. Then I heard it again.

Scratching; as though a centipede were running across a sheet of parchment. No louder than the first, and yet no softer. Like the source was the same distance from my ear each time. My heart began to race. I ran to turn on every light in my home in an attempt to quell the panic. Once I had accomplished this, I heard it again. As though the sound were mocking me. I looked frantically around my home for the source of the sound but found nothing suspicious.  As I ran throughout my home I quickly began to grow angry.

“Come out here now!” I shouted furiously…nothing.

Suddenly, I felt a tickling sensation run up my leg. I slapped at but it continued upward. In a panic I ripped off my pants and pulled the legs inside out. No bugs, nothing at all. As I pulled them back on I heard the sound again; no louder, no softer. I looked frantically around the room, desperate to locate the source. As I whipped my head from left to right I suddenly heard a loud thump come from outside.

“Ah ha!” I thought as my heart pounded in my chest. I retrieved a knife from the kitchen and ran to the front door. I grabbed the handle and threw open the door as fast as I could, brandishing the steel blade ahead of myself. I was ready to encounter whatever awaited.

As I walked outside I looked around for the source of the thump. I took about ten steps away from the door and my home suddenly went dark. All of the lights I had hurriedly turned on went out with a loud pop. Then came the scratching; no louder, no softer. I turned back towards the doorway and a loud, menacing laugh filled my ears. It seemed to be coming from everywhere all at once! I threw the knife into the abyss in front of me and heard it crash against the floor, the laughing continued. I pressed my hands to my ears in a futile attempt to muffle the sound but it just got louder.

Suddenly a hot pain streaked across my chest. I looked down, in the darkness I could just make out four giant rips in my shirt. As the warm wetness of blood began to run across my abdomen I felt the same pain run down my back. I fell to the floor screaming as the slashing continued. My arms, legs and face were assaulted with painful gashes that came from everywhere. Over and over they hit me from every angle. I closed my eyes and begged for it to stop. All I heard was laughter.

Suddenly my eyes popped open. I found myself sitting at my desk, a cold cup of coffee resting by my hand and the warm rays of the sun illuminating the room through the window. My face was covered in sweat.

“Wow, what a nightmare,” I said aloud as I shook my head strongly to brush off the feeling. I went to the bathroom, took a nice hot shower and got ready for the day. After which I checked my computer and sent a morning message to my special person. All in all I was feeling pretty good. It was a beautiful morning so I decided to start the day off right and cook myself some breakfast. As I made my way to the kitchen I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my foot that made me collapse. I looked back and saw a kitchen knife laying on the floor. Then I heard it...

...no louder, no softer...

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