300 word flash fiction using the phrase "It's just your imagination."
"It's just your imagination."
I whisper the words aloud, an attempt to convince myself of a truth I know to be false. The words fall flat, they are empty, hollow and trembling. A chill runs down my spine. I pull the covers up over my face.
I hold my breath and listen.
There it is, a low rasp, a breath. It's close.
A wave of warmth soaks through the blanket and claws it's way up my nose. A sour smell catches in my throat and I smother a cough. I can't make a sound. It's looking for me. I feel the hairs on my arms tingle.
It's standing over me now, I don't have to see it, I know.
The foul breath digs deeper, probes the dark spaces under the covers like boney fingers fumbling for a prize.
I open my mouth and scream.
Silence. No scream, not a sound. I'm paralyzed.
The laugh starts as a chuckle but quickly contorts into an sickly echo of coughs, snorts and yowls.
"You can't hide from me boy."
My grip on the blanket tightens, despite my trembling fingers.
"You're mine now boy."
A tug on the covers brings tears to my eyes.
"Leave me alone, I'm not going anywhere."
The words are firm and surprise me. I say them again, this time louder.
I wait. Nothing. No response.
"Honey, you okay?"
These words are warm, comforting and familiar.
"It's okay baby, I'm here. Did you have a nightmare?"
I lower the blanket.
The face looking at me is disfigured and dark. I can't make out any features except the teeth. They are jagged and yellow. The laugh spits out from behind the teeth and turns my stomach.
"You thought I was your mommy, how funny. I guess it was just your imagination."