There’s something in the house. That’s all that comes to Allyn’s mind, at twelve o’clock in the morning, the tv downstairs still on, emitting the white noise that usually lulled her to sleep. Tonight, it wasn’t enough. Her dog wasn’t in the room with her again and it was setting her nerves off, the door slightly cracked just in case the dog did wander in, the light near the door still on, illuminating the room. But somehow it just didn’t feel like enough. Allyn’s teeth clenched as she heard a creaking noise, as though someone had been moving around in the hall, too big to be her dog, too much silence in between the steps to be her little brother coming to his room, and the tv was still on. Allyn hadn’t heard the door to her parents room open, so it couldn’t have been them.

She felt a chill run down her spine, goosebumps raising over her arms and she adamantly tried to ignore the cold air in the room. Thinking the words in her own head felt like it could bring the presence closer, but then maybe she was just imagining it. She bit on her tongue, tasting blood, and rolled on her side, plugging her earphones into her ears. It couldn’t get to her if she ignored it, right? After all, even if it was…something that she couldn’t see or touch, if she ignored it, it would have to go away.

Still the creaking continued.

Allyn swallowed hard and sat up in bed, bringing her phone and the earphones with her, shoving open the door aggressively. There was nothing there, but she stayed on edge the entire time. Padding down the steps, her brother was still on the couch the tv still on, burning electricity. If her parents knew the tv was still on, they’d have a fit about who was paying the bills. Allyn’s dog looked up at her curiously, stretching out and enjoying the feel of her hands stroking his head. Allyn’s shook her brother’s shoulder until he woke up and groggily walked upstairs with her, irritated at anything and everything, biting out a goodnight. Allyn wondered why she even bothered to do him any favors when she could just let him get in trouble. She opened the door for her great dane to get into the room, leaving it open just wide enough that Dash would know to open it with his nose. She lay back in bed, Dash curling up on her legs, but she swore just as she was going to sleep, something entered the room. Her fingers tightened into claws ready to attack and defend herself, Dash staring something down in the corner of the room growling for a good five minutes before settling down and staring suspiciously at the same spot for another ten before calming down, deep breathing indicating he’d fallen to sleep.

Allyn tried to calm her uneasy breathing but it felt like right behind her, something was lurking, in wait and ready for her to falter so it could strike. After psyching herself up, she furiously turned over, waking Dash, her teeth bared at the other side of her bed. There was nothing there and Dash cocked his head in confusion. She smiled apologetically and him and rubbed the back of his ears as compensation for waking him. She eventually succumbed to exhaustion, hands on her sides, hands at her side, earphones in her ears.

She woke up in the morning blearily, on her side again, in a sweat, her nails cut into her palms. She couldn’t remember when she had dreamed, but the cold sweat on her body and the shaking kept her from thinking on it. She really hoped they would move out of this house sooner rather than later.


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