The Night Walker
Halfway in between sleep and dream, I lay on hard ground made only slightly softer by a layer of pine needles. A gust of wind ruffles the tent. A seeping of cold air wafts into the sleeping bag, sending shivers along my spine. I stir, then settle back as the heat from my body chases that chill away; but then a deeper cold takes its place and grips me with forboding.
A single crunch of footstep outside the tent morphs my dream into nightmare. It’s him. I don’t have to see him or smell him to know that he has come to take me. I hear him and that’s enough. There is purpose in that single audible step. He has come to take me and I will not go. Not this time or any other time.
He calls me by name. He whispers urgently. I can feel the need in his voice as it reaches out to me, but I do not move or breathe.
A second footstep crunches as the wind rattles the tent. I dare not breathe yet, lest he hear me. Then silence and then he is gone.
Sleep overtakes me.
I curl into a fetal ball and dream once more.