Lying in bed, I sifted through the darkness with my tired eyes, in search of the strange noise coming from…
Holy crap! It’s above me!
The dark figure came into focus, and I let out a yelp that should’ve been a terror-filled scream. What in the name of fuck is that? I thought, feeling my entire body turn ice cold with fear.
In the yellow light of my alarm clock, I saw the monster’s face hovering over mine, its eyes pits of glowing crimson swirling with black.
Oh shit. Oh shit. What is that? I opened my mouth to finally deliver that scream, but the beast quickly slapped its sickly hand over my lips to muffle the noise.
Oh, God. Help me. He smelled like death and evil. He smelled like desolation and despair—everything bad in this world mixed together.
Knowing I was about to die, I felt my eyes begin to tear.
“Please,” I mumbled through the gaps in its sticky fingers, the unmistakable smell of dried blood filling my nostrils. “Please don’t kill me.”
Slowly, it dipped its head, allowing me to see its face up close.
Christ. He’s human. Or something humanlike, resembling a man covered in black soot and the stench of death.
“Please, I’m begging you—just let me go,” I whimpered.
The man slid his hand from my mouth, studying me. Then there was a flash of something I didn’t expect in their depths: fear.
“Save. Me,” he mumbled in a deep gargle. “Please…save…me…”
What the…? I was the one who needed saving!
“I think it’s the oth-other way around,” I stuttered and then reached for the reading lamp to my side and swung. He stopped it inches from his face, and an icy rage replaced any semblance of kinder, gentler emotions.
He roared and then grabbed me by the hair, dragging me from my bed.
“Let go!” I yelled, and he did. He tossed me to the floor as if I were completely weightless.
Oh, God. He was so strong.
I yelled for help, but no one was coming. I lived alone out in the middle of the desert.
Looking pleased by my fear, he reached into the waistband of whatever he wore as clothing and drew a buck knife or machete or something one might use to murder an innocent twenty-six-year-old golf instructor who lived ten miles outside of Palm Springs, liked to binge on crunchy food, and owned two Jeeps, a cat that hated her, and four rescue chickens. Yeah. It was that kind of knife. A really, really big fucking knife.
“Oh, God. Please no. Please…I’m sorry,” I cried. “Whatever I did, I’m sorry!” Of course, I wasn’t sorry. I was simply terrified and wanted to live. Unfortunately, the odds were not in my favor.
I watched in terror as the blade barreled down toward my face.