“Teeth chattering, knees pulled up to my chin, shivering under the duvet. My eyes adjust to the darkness, my hearing suddenly acute. Aware of every heartbeat and every breath, I try to listen to the sounds beyond my own body. I try to keep still, but the harder I try, the more uncomfortable I feel.
There’s a random tapping and scratching sound coming from the window. I pray in silence for it to go away. Pulling the duvet tighter around myself, the air around me feels hot and heavy.
My heart pounds, faster and faster as I hear the tapping grow louder and the scratching more persistent. My silent prayers start to escape my lips as I mumble and recite my mantra to God. I’m terrified. I ask God to give me strength to fight my fears, I ask God to protect me from the threat that lurks nearby. I ask God to hear my prayers and guide me through the darkness.
I want to look out the window, but I’ve never felt so afraid before. I can see a figure reaching towards me, I recoil and fight the urge to scream. Shadows are thrown closer and closer. They loom bigger and darker, stretching out at me.
Suddenly everything falls silent. I struggle for oxygen but I’m too unnerved to move. Even my discomfort can’t force my limbs to move. Paralysed by the fear that’s consumed me, I count. I remember to take a deep and painful breath. Slowly exhaling and counting 1…2…10.
My ears twitch, eagerly listening for a clue to what is happening beyond the covers. I lift a corner of the duvet, moving slowly, I try to take a peep but my eyes are squeezed tightly shut. Clenched at the darkness, I try to relax. Squinting hard into the night, I gradually make progress and glimpse a pair of eyes glaring at me through the window.
I scream as my mind processes the thing that’s staring at me. My scream becomes a screech at the abrupt blinding of lights turning back on. The telltale click and whirring of electronics stirring back to life. Bright flashing spots, flicker each time I blink. I try to focus on the thing that I saw through the window. But I can’t see past the lights that blinded me. All I can make out are my own terrified features, with sweat streaked hair all over my face. Full eyesight returning and now all I can see is a girl staring through a half condensed window. Sad, lonely, relieved.
I laugh out loud as I realise the eyes I saw were just a reflection of myself. The tapping starts again as the next gust of wind sends the tree branches to flicker against my window.”
Written by Ling Lee (01/02/13).
Seeing things from a different perspective. Your mind can play tricks on you depending on what state of mind or mood you are in. A whole lot of images can feel so real when you are scared.
I hate being scared and I hate being alone. But what I hate most about a lonely, scary, dark night is the wind. The wind makes everything sound that whole lot scarier.