When we're no older than children, we dream of talking animals with smiles kind and wide, guiding us through adventures that make sleeping worth something grand. We sleep and sleep, and at night we go off to dream more. We ask mom and dad to read us goodnight to fuel our dreams with magic and wonder, ending the gift with a soft kiss and wish of goodnight. Sometimes they lay beside us nights after an unpleasant dream to guard us from the demons that devour our young minds, laying with us until we fall fast asleep. And then there are the nights we forget to tell them of our nightmares, and then there we are in our beds sleeping with the lights on bright with the covers over our heads and our backs to the closet doors. On those nights we wish we were young enough still to call for our mothers and fathers, begging them kindly to lay with us until we fall asleep. On those nights we cannot fade into the land of our dreams, for on nights like these we cannot help but dream about what our minds hide within the shadows of smiling, talking creatures of bright and friendly colors.

It is nights like this, nights of unrest and unease that I cannot help but crawl out from under my covers with the lights down dim. I fear not my mind for I am young; a small, aspiring artist with worlds tied gently by words as they rest beyond my imagination's tongue. My bed separates my demons from my artistry, the wooden floor beneath me my stage as I have a pen at hand upon gentle paper. It may be late, it may be dark, but I am not terrified for I have light. Light in a colorful room, decorated by brilliant insects of spring and horses like any young child's room should be; friendly and inviting to the imagination. It does no harm to my head and hand, my pen dancing along on the paper as I decorate the white parchment with inked words; scribbling out some only to replace them with more. I've have pinned under my small forearm the front cover and previous pages of my marble notebook so that it does not dare close upon my effortful work, laying gently upon my stomach as I kick about my feet with thought. I wish now that I had food of some sort with me, for I had opted to chewing my tongue to strengthen the power of my thoughts. I am a storyteller, I should know better than to write with an unsatisfied stomach.

Though my open door I hear the floorboard creak, distracted momentarily by the introduction of the bright hallway lamp, catching the sight of my mother as she disappears through the doorway to my mother's room. I know not the time of night despite the moon's light casted down upon my front yard as apparent through a quick glass through the window from my floor spot on the other side of my purple dressed bed. I go back to work, able to hear every word my mother camly says to my little brother in the room next door, but I don't pay it too close to mind. I had already lost my train of thought, which frustrated me greatly. But I said nothing of it, lifting my pen from the paper and putting it off to the right of the book so that I could read over what I had for my art so far. I traced my place as I read with my index finger as I had learned in school, listening to the silence that befell every part of the world aside from my mother and my brother in the room next door. He was only three years younger than I, practically an infant. His words hardly made sense even as I ignored most of the conversation.

Then my finger reached the last word scratched into the page by ink, recollecting my thoughts as I collected my pen started to write again. I returned to a comfortable position on my stomach and off my knees, licking my lips so that they were not dry as I wrote feverishly. Stopping only when I heard another sound; yet again another distraction. But this one alarmed me. Not because it was from the direction of the window-- my room is a long fall's distance away from the driveway below. No, it wasn't the wind, the world outside my room was still. No, but it was something else; something I constantly feared. I would dare never open it without a light, or without the sun to cast rays through my window. I thought I had remembered to block it. I remember always to block it. I never let it have the opportunity to even adjust itself. But here it was.

I let my eyes linger upon the leftmost wall, eyes trained warily on where front wall met the left beside the large window. The corner was vacant, but that wasn't what I feared, no. But a little to the left was where I feared. For there it was, the closet door. How silly a fear it was, a closet as shallow as mine is. Why, it only bore clothes behind its shut door. Right?

I couldn't tell what was off for a moment, this pit in my abdomen growing wide as I felt my stomach tie itself into knots. My stomach was a pretzel by the time I sat up, watching that cursed door as I took notice to how it had been cracked open even if only slightly. I never dared leave that door open, not even if I didn't place the door back with a click. No, I always clicked it closed. I stood, hesitating on my heels as I dared think to go to it and force it shut. If I did dare to, I would make sure to throw everything in my room in front of it. That was my plan. But something else happened, something haunting. It would be a blessing to say I saw it coming.

Dread overcame me as I watched this haunting menace leave from the now open door. It glowed a terrible green, dressed almost like a Scooby-Doo villain. It would have been comical to say the least had it been fake and a figment of my imagination. But this was not nearly a dream. No, could it have been all make believe? All that was between me and that monster was my purple cladded bed, and though it floated my way it decided to go around. Now I was caught, my heart in my throat as the only thing I could do was run. At first I couldn't get myself to lift my feet, anchored to the hardwood floor behind my notebook. All I could do was watch it move in this fit of paralysis until I finally freed myself. It had already reached the foot of the bed on the opposite side of the room by the time I fled.

I only knew of one place I thought I would be safe, for the stairs led to nothing but an open room with furniture that would get in my way. No, I had to find my mother. I had to find her because she would protect me from such a beast like she always does. Demons like this only exist in my head, I know, so she would save me like she always does.

Taking a sharp sprint straight into my brother's room, I dove down. There my mom still was, and now I had her by the legs, holding on to her for dear life as I crawled back to standing upon my feet. I was safe now. Nothing would hurt me, and that thing will never leave my room. I knew it. It was trapped only inside my door. I was so sure of myself as I watched that door, panting hard as if I had run a marathon. I was safe. It was gone. But that feeling of dread still remained as I held onto my mother, confused as she was though she held me too. Me, her eldest child. There was no exchange of words as I held her for the shorts moments following the chase. And then I saw its ugly form break the opening of my brother's doorway, it grew so close, and I could do nothing to escape it as I froze in place.

And with a sharp pinch,

everything rang red.

We were no older than children, the lighter dreams of talking animals with wide and kind smiles replaced by obscure and distorted tales of the subconscious mind. Nothing existed to guide us, no parents there to protect us from the demons within our head. There was no kiss, nor wish goodnight, but a deafening sense of dread to last the flight. Another link on a chain of recurring nightmares. A fear in which reigns over our happiness; our bliss condemned into a darkness that no one could endure. No longer does our parents lay beside us, no longer do they protect us. Even on the nights we don't fail to tell them of our nightmares nothing changes; for sharing or none, there is only one on that hardwood floor which is us. Us scribbling away before becoming victims of our own minds. Unpleasant dreams are as they seem, covers over our head or even the lights on bright-- on those nights we wish we were young enough still to call for our mothers and fathers, begging them kindly to lay with us until we fall asleep-- our dreams are the victims of our reality. On those nights in which we cannot fade into the land of our dreams; on nights like those where we cannot help but dream about what our minds hide within the shadows of creatures of bright and friendly colors, is where the darkness dwells. Where everything, but nothing, is safe after all.

A fear is a deep psychological belief that something or someone is dangerous and a potential threat to a person or people's wellbeing. Strange that such a fear could be something such as a closet...