Jesse’s bedtime ritual was a dreaded affair. The end credits to the 7:30 PM show, each footfall upon the stairway to his room, each stroke of his toothbrush, signalled a second closer to lights out. He would try his very best to extend the time between his mum saying ‘Right, time for bed!’ and his final, final glass of water, but nevertheless, and no matter what new excuse he contrived, he would find himself tucked in with only the sliver of the passageway light creeping in under his door to offer some comfort.

Some nights were worse than others. Some nights, It didn’t come at all. Recently, however, he’d found the Thing’s nightly visits to be more frequent, and his apprehension of nightfall had intensified accordingly.

His parents, of course, didn’t believe him, and thought that the Thing was simply the product of too many horror movies, videogames, and comic books. He was left alone to deal with It, night after terrible night.

And tonight was no different.

He heard his parents switch off the TV, and make their way up the stairs to their bedroom. The moment he dreaded came as they flicked off the passageway light and left him in complete darkness. Jesse frantically tried to adjust his eyes, as the house took on a lifelessness all too familiar to him.

A little time passed.

As usual, his near nightly terror begins with a creak in the passageway. The step is almost pensive, as though the Thing is testing to see if It’s movements had been heard.

Jesse held his breath, terrified of making a sound, and his heart began to race. His ears, now trained to pick up even the slightest movement, heard another soft creak, and another, as the Thing made its way slowly and carefully, to his room.

Finally, his blood pounding in his ears, with an almost imperceptible creak, he heard the Thing slowly push upon his door. Jesse could not imagine what it would feel like to be more terrified.

A crouched figure appeared in his doorway, and menacingly crept towards the foot of his bed. Jesse slowly raised the sheets over his head; to look upon the Thing would be too much to bare, even though he could still feel It standing there and watching him. He dared not move in fear that it would snatch him up.

He was so sure that tonight would be the night that the Thing would finally get him, but nothing happened.

Except… a sneeze?

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