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I’m on my side, awake and lucid, yet my eyes remain shut.

I am painfully awake.

Sleep came easy before, like a dog to my side, never disobedient. Always out by dusk only to return when the milk light of the moon was replaced by the fire of dawn.

Tonight is the exception. I feel the luminous lunar light, licking my back.

The eyes of all the stars keep watch. Neither blinds nor curtains obscure their sight.

My thick blankets are tossed in a heap at my feet, absorbing the potent moonlight.

The fan whirs above, more for sound, as it does little to cool the room.

My breath is finally slowing, my mind is drifting, my heart rate dipping. All is well, yet my mind refuses to rest.

My mind resists sleep’s allure, it persists.

Stay Awake.

As I lay bargaining with my brain, in comes a sound from beyond, from outside of the windowpane.

Clack, clack, clack.

The sound of tree branches, like fingernails tapping the glass. Back to sleep.

Clack, clack, clack.

The willow in my yard is an ancient thing. Predating both me and my home, and now it demands my attention. That towering beast, so insensitive of us mortals who need rest.

Clack, Clack, Clack.

Could be a rhythmic melody, lumber singing me to slumber. A natural beat. Only for the night, tomorrow those overgrown limbs will be snipped or snapped.

Tap, Tap, Tap.

Has the sound grown louder? The light bumps of the outstretched leafy giant are now deliberate taps. Has a bird grown restless? Or a coon looking for neglected morsels of food? Is it ripping into my garbage, making a racket in the process? Or is a storm brewing? Are the winds, wildly, whipping against my window? Sending sticks and pebbles into the glass?

Tap, Tap, Tap.

I will be fine. The raindrops will soon rattle against my roof, and hammer my windows. This is the best sleep potion in existence, the sound of overwhelming rain. Better than cookies and milk, or any sort of pill. Soon I will be awake no more. Running and laughing away from here,

into my dreams.

Knock, Knock, Knock.

What was that? Do raccoons knock before they pillage?

Seems unlikely.

Does rain rap against windows?

Not in my experience, no.

Or was that the sound of a person?

No of course not. Couldn’t be,

could it?

Knock, Knock, Knock.

Could it be a friend come for a visit?

Never so late, and they’d certainly call ahead.

Could be a drunk, confused, on his way home?

Not a chance, who could be that obtuse?

No. That was too loud. Too legible, too lucid, too distinct. That was a man, one who is currently looking right at me. Am I caught between sleep and awake?

Mistaking minute murmurs for maniacal movements

Knock, Knock, Knock.

No. I am awake now.

What was that? Why was that? Who was that?

I heard that. Louder than I hear my heart pounding in my ears.

Clearer than I can see the shadow currently being cast onto the wall.

I am painfully awake.

A shadow I can see despite the tears welling in my eyes. There is a man outside.

Knock, Knock, Knock.

My guts are stony. Does he know I’m awake?

How long has he been watching me?

Leering, letting me sleep, watching me breathe. Waiting, wanting to be inside.

But for what? For me? Is my door locked? Where’s my phone?


This was the jumpstart I needed. Like a spring I sprung up, hoping to dash from the room. Leaving him behind the glass, I plan to call for help when hidden away.

But in the light of the moon, now that I was no longer cowering in bed.

I turned toward the window.

I could see the stranger wasn’t standing outside after all,

he was knocking from the inside.

Recommended1 Simily SnapPublished in All Stories, Fiction, Horror, Mystery/Thriller