I stirred from deep within my sleep, unsure of what had woken me, but too tired to put any further thought into it. The mist of an unfinished dream swam around my head, distorted and fading with every second.
I must have gone back to sleep because daylight was beginning to creep across the winter sky by the time my eyes shot open in terror. The dream I had just been torn from had been so vivid, I could hardly believe it hadn’t been real.
I uneasily began to reflect upon it, as I often did. I kept a dream journal after my psychiatrist advised me to. I began to scribble down exactly what had happened before the memory had a chance to escape me.
I’d been lying in bed, struggling to sleep. This wasn’t unusual as I often had trouble sleeping. However in the dream, I was being kept awake by a deep sense of fear hiding somewhere in the back of my mind. I’d been so sure that something awful would happen that I hadn’t blinked in over a minute. I could feel the sting on the surface of my eyes like wasps were trying to get inside.
That was when I heard it.
It was a common noise, something that normally wouldn’t have shocked me. As I lay in the still blackness of my bedroom, I heard a key scratch at my front door followed by the creak of ancient unoiled hinges.
That is, it was a common noise, back when my father was still alive.
The noise continued, heavy footed steps in the hallway, stumbling as though drunk from a night on the town. They reached the stairs, getting louder with each thud. I began to shake as the familiar shriek of a body using the hand rail for support made its way through the once empty house.
The footsteps were closer now, right outside my bedroom door. Just a thin wooden panel separated me from whatever was standing outside. I could hear heavy breathing, as something began to scratch at the door. The paint seemed to be peeling off as claws grasped at the wood, eager to get in.
As I lay, paralysed in my bed, eyes wide open, staring across the room. The door crashed to the ground and it, he, cast a dark, menacing shadow into the room.
I woke up.
Putting the pen and paper down I finally realised why I’d felt so uneasy. On the floor lay the remains of my bedroom door. I looked up into the now light enough to see room, and he looked back at me.