“Daddy … Daddy!” I hear the fear in a small, distant voice.
Suddenly I am half awake.
Then I hear, “Daddy!” and the voice, less small and no longer distant.
I bolt upright in my bed; groggy, confused, heavy, drugged by my sleep.
“Ok, Ok, I’m coming I’m coming, what’s the matter? I’m coming!” I reply.
I take a glance at my wife’s uninterrupted sleep, I can’t see her, more feel her… She is there. With my eyes, not yet adjusted to the dark, I step out of bed and stumble clumsily. Using my left thigh like a blind man’s stick, I bounce, to and fro from the edges of my bed.
Until, eventually, I make it somewhere near my bedroom door, and I grab at it with more luck than judgement. I find the handle and pull the door open with more force than necessary. Gingerly I step onto the landing and find my son opening the door to his bedroom to meet me.
“What’s the matter darling?” I ask with whispered concern.
“There’s a witch in my room!” he whimpers. As I kneel down to his eye level he walks into the top of my shoulder and nuzzles his cheek into mine, I rub his back.
“A witch, Oh, there’s no witch,” I whisper calmly into his ear. There’s a temporary hush in background noise, then I notice the wind rush, buffet our house. I acknowledge the weather for the first time; it’s invisible force throws smaller unknown objects into the much larger and more guessable ones.
“It’s just the wind,” I say.
I kiss him on his cheek; looking over his little shoulder and into his bedroom, I notice something strange moving in my son’s bed.
Whatever it is writhes like a large worm, slithering in the darkness, I stare, panicked by its nonsense until the duvet cover falls away, exposing a face, it has my son face, no, it is my son.
In bed, my son calmly asks me, “Daddy, what are you doing?”
I’m unable to answer, for my shock injects itself into my rapidly beating heart, pumps a poison round my veins, I rot internally and then in no time at all, I pass out.