Tristan Michie

She woke in the darkness, other than the soft sound of David's breathing the room was in silence. Slowly her eyes became accustomed to the dark, sleepily they roamed the darkened bedroom. What had woken her? She rolled onto her back, from the corner of her eye she could see David's silhouette, he was resting peacefully.

Rose often woke during the night, sometimes due to nightmares but usually for no apparent reason; it had always been that way. As a child she rarely slept through the night, not until her teens did she experience the benefit of a full nights sleep and even then it was never a regular occurrence.

Rain started to fall outside, she could here the soft pattering of rain drops against the window, sometimes accompanied by a gust of wind. The TV had suggested a storm was approaching earlier in the evening, the weatherman telling the nation the usual dreary news; rain, wind and more rain. Rose longed for the warm days and the long summer evenings, for some reason she always slept better in the summer months. Her and David would sit in their garden for hours in the evenings; drinking wine, reading books and watching the sun set. But that was in the old house when all they had to worry about was themselves, they were a family now and she wouldn't change it for the world but she looked back on those days so fondly, sometimes in her dreams she found herself back at that house, those dreams were always the best.

She looked over at David's shadowed form, his chest slowly rising and falling. Sometimes he would gently snore, other times he might mutter and whisper to himself. During these times Rose would always listen, desperately trying to determine what was being said, sometimes she heard her own name, sometimes it was their son who was being spoken about but she could never make any sense of what was being said. Tonight David spoke of someone else, a strange foreign name which at first she couldn't quite understand. Jerico Cardenas she thought David was saying, not a name she had heard him use in waking life, but an odd name to make up for a dream. Rose lay next to David, listening to his dream ramblings while looking at his shadowed face. An odd thought came to her mind,

I can make out most of the room now, yet I can't see any features on my husbands face.

David's muttering started to take on a more urgent sound, his dream had changed, perhaps slowly turning into a nightmare. If he grew any more agitated she would wake him. She found herself staring into the shadow that was his face, it was as though she was sharing the bed with a wraith; a darkened shadow of a man.

Outside the rain continued to fall, it was now smashing against the windows, it was heavy on the roof. David's mutterings and whispers almost sounded like they were communing with the rain, a deep conversation outside the limits of normal consciousness, discussing the beginnings and ends of all things. Sometimes during Rose's night time insomnolence strange thoughts would pass through her mind...

Finally she began to feel sleepiness starting to take hold, slowly washing over her body. She turned her head to David and kissed him on the head, he stirred slightly at the sudden contact, murmured and fell silent. Rose closed her eyes and waited for sleep to take her. Slowly she began to drift off, slowly drifting down to the depths of sleep; the rain outside still hitting against the window but now seemed so far away. Her body slowly fell, deeper and deeper, everything so far away. She had fallen so far into sleeps soft embrace even David's shouting couldn't bring her back.

David is shouting...

Rose's eyes opened with a jolt, someone was running up the stairs; fast and heavy. The door swung open, the light from the landing blinding her, her heart beating so fast she felt faint, adrenalin pumping around her body making her shake uncontrollably.

"Rose! Get out of the bed! GET OUT OF THE BED!" David screamed at her from the door.

David is at the door?

The sudden, horrific realization that David was stood at the bedroom door screaming at her and not lying next to her in bed froze her to the spot, she could see someone next to her, the same someone who had been next to her for sometime. The same someone she had kissed on the head minutes before. The same someone who was now starting to sit up next to her. Even with the light from the landing flooding the room, the figure next to her remained a shadowy silhouette. It wasn't until she felt it's icy breath against her cheek and it's black fingers creeping towards her neck did her scream erupt.

Rose sat huddled on the floor, naked and crying. David tried desperately to calm her down, desperately trying to reassure her it had been a nightmare - a terrible nightmare.