The Darkness

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Eight

She didn't like the way her teddy bear was staring at her.

Switching off the light had proved impossible. There had to be a power shortage all around except in this house, because she couldn't see any lights on in her neighbours' house, and there was no street-light gleam to be had either. She'd only lasted a few seconds before she'd been forced to turn the light on again. How on earth could it be so dark outside?

Now, two hours later, she was still seated upright in bed, staring at her teddy where it sat perched on her bookcase. She'd tried, at first, to distract herself by reading, but her eyes had kept on being drawn back to the teddy's beady black ones, and she couldn't shake the impression that they were even blacker than they used to be. But that was ridiculous: black was just black, wasn't it?

The teddy bear seemed to... No. No. It did. It shifted.

She sat there, paralysed, as the teddy straightened and put out its paw towards her, it stretching longer than it had any business to do, longer and longer, till it touched the bedclothes. When that happened, and she felt it beginning to tug at the sheet, she brought her book down on it with all her strength. The paw recoiled like a slug touching salt, and a low, guttural, somehow liquid moan came out of the teddy's still-smiling muzzle. It got up and made to drop off the bookcase, but she shot out of bed, leapt to the window, threw it open, snatched up the teddy and flung it out. The last she saw of it was that paw, making a grabbing motion toward her. She couldn't hear it land on the grass, but that was probably only because she'd instantly slammed the window, jerked the curtains shut, and sunk to the ground, shaking like a leaf. She looked around and froze.

One of teddy's eyes was lying on the floor.

And it was black.

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