She glanced around the room furtively, like a deer caught in a thicket and listening to the hunters coming for it. She peered into the bright corners and under the wide expanse under her bed. They were there; she knew they were, even if she couldn’t see them. They whispered to her, hidden in the brightness of those corners. She could seem them sometimes, wisps out of the corners of her eyes. If she tried to look, no matter how quick or sneaky she was, they would be gone. And she was left with the illusion of being alone. However, she could hear them all of the time.
Little whispers, little chatters, little snarks, little bites. They pricked at her skin like sharp needles, breaking skin, drawing blood. No, not blood. Words are what seeped out of the woods. She could see them. The words that she should say, words that she should use to fight back. But she couldn’t say them. All she could do was sit there and watch them bleed out of her, leaving her defenseless. The room was stark white, tiled empty but for her bed. Nowhere to hide from them. Even if she buried herself in her bed, stuff the pillow into her ears, she could still hear them.
“Stupid girl. What did he ever see…”
“Coward! She trusted you!”
“Failure, it was so easy!”
“Just finish it. You can at least do that, can’t you?”
They – the people, not the voices – stuck her with needles, too. They said it was medicine, that it would help, but it didn’t stop these things. At night, in the dark, she saw eyes glinting in the blue moonlight, sharp teeth, hooked claws. The medicine made her sleepy, her limbs heavy; she couldn’t even raise her hands to cover her ears or her eyes. Her grandmother had told her about the Things that go bump in the night. These had to be those Things, the Ones that dragged you away into the darkness that appears where you don’t look for it.
Down, down, down. Down the rabbit hole, into the Matrix, through the looking glass, into the pool. Down, down, down. Away, away, away.
The room was stark white, tiled empty but for her bed. Nowhere to hide from Them.