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There Are Worse Things in the Dark

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It's half past midnight and you haven't even combed your hair or brushed your teeth yet. You've been sitting in the beanbag in the corner, knees tucked to your chest, for what feels like hours. You really got an earful from your folks this time.

So you got mud on a dress, big deal. So you got mud on a...very expensive dress. Handpicked by your mother. To wear to her fancy Chorus work party. And you basically embarrassed her in front of half the town when you had an impromptu mudfight with the boys from down the block. Who, by the way, are completely stupid and deserved those muddy rocks to the face. It's not like there's anything more fun to do at one of these bring your kid to work parties anyway.

Too bad your parents didn't see it that way. At first, you were expecting the usual lecture about how you're an absolute embarrassment and a complete disappointment and how you'll never go anywhere in life, blahblahblah. You've heard it 100 times this month alone. Except this time it was...louder than usual. Your mother was completely red faced as she screamed at you today and even your dad, who was normally pretty chill when you got into trouble, was staring you down like he was ready to disown you. Alarming didn't even begin to cover it as your eyes watered right in front of them. For a second, you could have sworn you didn't even recognize the people pacing in front of you.

For a second, you could have sworn someone had replaced your parents entirely.

Your mom and pop were always complaining about something you did wrong because, honestly, you were always doing something you really shouldn't be. But you'd never seen them this upset. Did that stupid dress really mean that much to them? What if Buttface McGee and Tweedle Dumb were, like, the kids of your dad's new boss or something? Your mind had been spinning with questions ever since you got to your room.

As you watch the clock tick to 12:31, it occurs to you that you're absolutely starving. You got sent to your room without supper and it's only now, when the tension is finally settling, that your stomach has stopped churning enough to want to eat. You're pretty sure there's still some cheese strings in the fridge for all your midnight snacking needs. You're not really supposed to be eating this late, but...

You just want to eat something, honestly. If you're careful, you can sneak it without getting caught out of your room.

You tread down the soft carpet of the stairs, peeking through the railing every so often in case someone's coming around the corner. Your mom and dad should be asleep by now, but you never trust things to go exactly the way you think they should. A shadow passes in front of the window and you freeze, wide eyed, as you stare at the well-lit curtains. Your whole body freezes and tenses. You think you stopped breathing entirely.

Someone is outside your house.

You don't even have the option to tell yourself that someone is just passing by. Your throat feels dry and your heart is pounding out of your chest as you watch the human shadow settle on the side of the window. What do you do? Do you scream to ward them off? Do you risk it to go wake up your parents? Do you run back to your room and hide? What if that is just one of your parents and you're overreacting? All these thoughts tear through your skull in the span of a second before the knob turns.

Your brain promptly shuts off and you can only stare, horrified and cold, as the door opens. The figure on the other side isn't familiar.

It...isn't even human.

The not-person is tall and bald, dressed in stark white robes and and they gently close the door behind them as they walk right into your freaking house. The worst feature, however, is the myriad of eyes trailing across their face. You blink hard and check your fingers. Your vision is fine and your fingers definitely aren't dream-fingers. You cover your mouth with both hands and force yourself to look up again, feeling tears of sheer terror start to well up as you stare hard into that demonic mug, shining and shifting away in the darkness of your living room.

"If it's not one thing, it's another..." Says the monster in a woman's voice. It would sound almost normal if it weren't for the echo bouncing off of every word. Just what the heck kind of horror movie did you wake up to? Why is it talking? What even IS it? It starts to walk towards the kitchen, still talking to itself the whole way.

"First, you forget your phone. Then, you forget your notes. And the next thing you know-" It stops, looking at its feet and making a disgusted sound. "-Your daughter is trailing mud all over your clean kitchen floor. How am I supposed to present her to our god if she can't stop embarrassing herself and us for a whole five seconds?"

That one makes you pause. Stay out of trouble? Clean floors? Wait...
You grip the banister of the stairs for dear life, catching your breath and trying to steel your nerves.

You try to speak, but your voice falters and comes out as a choked cough instead. The thing straightens up, sounding confused as it turns around. Your shiver and shake, your lips trembling. Why did you do that? That was a terrible idea, why are you trying to talk to an actual monster in your living room? What even is wrong with you?

It reaches an arm out for the light switch and something in your head clicks. It couldn't see you on the dark stairs when it walked in. If it turns on the light, you're dead. You're totally dead. You need to run. You need to do something.

Finally, your legs stop wobbling long enough for you to take control of them again and you promptly use that control to turn tail and run back up the stairs. You vaguely hear the click of the light switch behind you. You don't really recall much of anything after that. A slamming door, someone calling your name, and then-

Your bed.

You wake up at 7 am on the dot, covered in a cold sweat. You lay there, breathing hard as you try to process where you are and what just happened. That's your ceiling. Those are your photos on the wall. That's the sun shining on them both and lighting up the whole world around you. Were you really dreaming? Your head pounds as you sit up and you suck in a sharp breath.

"Ow, ow, ow. Okay, that. That. Was officially the worst dream I've had this week." You mutter as you run a hand through your hair. You really need to wash your hair here. Your dad knocks on your door, telling you breakfast is almost ready.

Right. Breakfast. It's morning. It's morning, there's no weird eye monster, you can smell eggs, and-

...Why did you go to bed in your jeans?