After dinner, I sat on my bed with my flashlight and the book. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before; I couldn’t stop reading. The entire time we were eating dinner, I kept thinking about the story. Not just what I had read, but what would happen.
I was so lost in my thoughts I missed whole conversations. Mom and Dad thought I was just upset about moving and the Nothing Night. Deep down my frustration with the move was still there, but the story from the book was taking up so much space in my mind that I had completely forgotten about the Nothing Night. I just wanted to read!
Once Dad excused me from the table, I grabbed a package of spare batteries for my flashlight from the table in the hall and ran up to my room ahead of a chorus of “Don’t run on the stairs!” from my parents. I had been sitting on my bed reading ever since.
As it turned out, the thoughts of how the story would go that had distracted me at dinner were fairly accurate. At some points, they were word for word. Somehow, I knew what would happen before I read it.
I read more than I had ever read in one sitting and longer too. Stopping just wasn’t an option for me. My eyelids grew heavier and heavier, but I kept fighting to keep them open. Eventually, I lost the battle and succumbed to my body’s natural need for sleep.
The story invaded my dreams that night. It was like my brain transformed the words I had read into a movie, and it played in my mind while I slept. Except I played the role of the hero. It was the greatest dream I had ever had.
Something from the real world pulled me from my slumber in an instant. I sat up in my bed, the fog of sleep dissipated immediately. The hairs on the back of my neck and arms stood on end. I didn’t know what woke me, but I had the feeling I wasn’t alone.
Fumbling around in the bedsheets for my flashlight, I peered into the darkness of my strange new room. Pale moonlight shone through the window, but not enough to see by. I tried to remember the layout of the room. A coldness covered my body as each new sound reached my ears. I couldn’t find the flashlight.
I scolded myself in an attempt to downplay my fears. I told myself I was just hearing the wind blowing through the drafty old house or the rain battering the tin roof. My fear began to subside as I found more and more excuses for the sounds, all of them from some explainable source outside of my room.
I blew out a sigh, laid down on my bed, and closed my eyes hoping I could return to the amazing dream I had been having. A dull crash of thunder caused my eyes to open slowly. I didn’t see any lightning immediately following the thunder, so I closed my eyes again, hoping that meant the storm was passing.
A quick, bright flash of light made me open my eyes again.
“I guess the storm isn’t over.”
I propped myself up on one elbow and fluffed my pillow with the other hand. Before I could lie down again, another rumble of distant thunder caught my attention. It caught my attention because I felt it through my floor. I wondered how I could feel it when the sound was too soft for the thunder to be nearby.
A second flash of light explained it to me. The light and the sound hadn’t come from outside. It came from inside my room. A second flash emanated from the dresser that my uncle had left in my room. The entire outline of the dresser shone like a star in the room’s darkness. Each of the drawers outlines shone as well; and they were shaking.
I jumped up in my bed and pressed myself against the headboard as I let out a scream. When a flash lit the dresser for a third time, I yelped and pressed back away from the dresser. I fell off the opposite side of my bed and hit the floor with a thump.
From the floor, I could see the bottom of the dresser by looking under the bed. As the third flash faded, I thought I glimpsed something else beside the dresser, but I could only see the outline of light imprinted on the darkness. I didn’t know what I saw, but it sent shivers down my spine.
Several moments passed without the flashes returning. I reached an arm up, grabbed ahold of my bed, and stood on still shaking legs. The afterimage of light had faded from my eyes, but I knew exactly where that dresser was and I continued to stare in that direction. At that moment, I realized what I had seen while looking under the bed. It was my flashlight. The strange light made it appear to be beside the dresser, but it was actually under my bed.
Staring toward the mysterious dresser, I lowered myself down beside my bed. I reached an arm under the bed and felt around for the flashlight while trying to keep my head above the bed so not to move my line of sight from the dark spot where the dresser stood.
I couldn’t reach the flashlight. I didn’t want to take my eyes off that spot, but I needed the flashlight. I took a deep breath and focused on making my body stop shaking. I ran a hand through my hair and stood on the balls of my feet. With a nervous energy coursing through my veins, I threw myself flat on the floor and scrambled beneath the bed in search of the flashlight.
Despite my waving arms, I found the light with my face as I crawled deeper under the bed.
I rubbed my cheekbone under my right eye with my left hand where the flashlight bumped me and picked up the flashlight with my right. I pressed the button and turned on the flashlight as I backed out from under the bed. As soon as my head cleared the underside of my bed, a slow rumble began. The dresser lit up again and began to shake more violently than it had before.
I was facing the dresser as the flash went off. What I saw made me want to scream, but fear gripped my throat like a vise, preventing any sound from escaping. It wasn’t the shaking, glowing dresser that made me want to scream; it was what I saw beside it. I was mistaken earlier; it wasn’t the flashlight I saw. The flashlight gave me a clearer view this time; there was someone standing there.