Darkness folded around the corners of my room. I gripped the edge of my soft, velvety blankets and drew them up around my chin. The silence was deafening. It pressed in from all sides, confining my movements to the slight shake of my shoulders and slow, terrified rocking. A cold wind ran its icy fingers down my back and goosebumps spread across my skin like a disease. The howl of a lonely dog split the air like a knife. Chills ran down my spine and fever rose to my forehead. A sweat broke out, but my skin was cold and clammy. I rubbed my arms and hugged myself tighter. The curtains fluttered and I flinched. Thunder boomed through the night, signifying the coming of a great storm. A moth fluttered through the triangle of light below my window, a ghostly shadow. The wind picked up, whistling through the hallways of our house like mournful cries. The moon was blocked out by heavy clouds. Blood pounded through my head like the beat of a drum. My heart fluttered and seemed to jump out my chest. I slowly raised my hand to brush a stray strand of hair out my eyes and the blanket slipped down. I whimpered with fear. My eyes slammed shut. I shuffled backwards until I was leaning into the wall. I pulled the blanket up around my shoulders and drew my knees up to my chin. The echoes of my own movements ricocheted around my room. The wind came back and howled through my thoughts. The darkness was like a thick, stuffy blanket. It wrapped around everything, enveloping it. Choking it. Suffocating it. I gasped for air. I can’t do this. I won’t make through the night. Not alone. But that’s what I really was. Alone, cold, scared, alone, cold scared, alone, cold, scared… The words circled around my head like a broken record, bumping and mingling, until they became empty shells that had no meaning but were rather associated with the tightening knot in my chest and throat. Alone. Me. By myself. No one else. No one to hear me scream, no one to hear my cries of mercy and pain. Forgiveness and agony. My breath caught in my throat and a single, salty tear ran down my cheek. I would die here, in the dark. All alone with no one to mourn my passing. More tears followed. Maybe if I called out now… but then death would hear, would pounce. Tears were now running rivulets down my face and pooling under my chin. To even my breathing, I tried to talk. To whisper. One word came out. “alone.” My soft voice travelled through the silence. A shuffle, a scuffle then- a pair of glowing eyes peered at me. “You are not alone. I am here with you.” The monster under my bed smiled out of the darkness. I let out a long sigh and pulled my sheets up around my head. Not alone.