The initial idea for this story was inspired after reading Hina88's "Incubus" which can be found on AdultFanFiction dot Net as
The initial idea for this story was inspired after reading Hina88's "Incubus" which can be found on AdultFanFiction dot Net as well as FanFiction dot Net. I had no idea what an incubus was, so I while I read the first part, I kept thinking of what type of "monster" it might be. So, it inspired me to write this. There will be different "monsters/creatures" in this fic.
Thanks again to Hina88 for letting me use the "idea" even if it's so different from "Incubus." Her fic still inspired this one. This story is dedicated to her!
I also blame four other factors for this story: lL0tus for scaring me as she forced me to watch horror movies (you know how easily I get spooked!), the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series (by Laurell K. Hamilton) which has got my mindset heavily geared into the supernatural, Stephenie Meyer's latest book, Breaking Dawn, for fueling my over-active imagination, and my own childhood memories deciding to suddenly resurface in inspiring the creation of this story.
Please note: The first couple of chapters are done from Sasuke's young point of view. The tone of the story will mature as he does after the time jump.
Special thanks to Ladelle for reading over the first chapter!
Afraid of the Dark
Chapter 1: Monsters
"There's a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?" – Signs by M. Night Shyamalan.
When light fades to darkness, many things fall asleep. Young Uchiha Sasuke knew that. He also knew that when darkness fell a lot of things also woke up, some of those things more frightening than others.
It was late, and Sasuke was still awake, wishing he had fallen asleep. He also hoped that those frightening things that woke up with darkness wouldn't bother him.
Even though midnight had since passed where Sasuke lived, the light from the street lamp in between his and his neighbor's house still glowed, making shadows appear in Sasuke's room. Wind rustled the leaves and made the high branches creak outside his third story window. The shadows of the tree branches swayed along with the creaking, ghosting over his bedroom walls, dancing eerily.
Even with the light of the street lamp, Sasuke thought the room was too dark.
Not that he was going to admit that to anyone though, especially not his father. Sasuke had turned six just three days ago, and his father and mother had told him that he was old enough to go without his night-light now. Actually, his father had been trying to get rid of the thing since his fourth birthday, but his mother had stood her ground, sticking up for her youngest son. However, when Sasuke had proudly professed that he was a grown-up kid now that he was six (something his older brother had snorted at) his father had said that to prove it that the night-light had to go.
So it had gone, right along with Sasuke's sense of protection.
He was afraid of the dark, but he didn't want anyone to know (though he knew his mom did). At least she hadn't told Itachi. Itachi would laugh at him and tell him what a foolish, cute little brother he was. Sasuke knew Itachi liked him and all, but he didn't like Itachi thinking he was foolish especially now that he was a grown-up kid!
Yet Sasuke knew he wasn't foolish. He had a very good reason for being afraid of the dark, but he thought Itachi wouldn't believe him. His mom hadn't believed him.
Sasuke had only ever shared his fear of the dark with his mom. He'd told her about the secret reason he feared the dark, and after her disbelief, he didn't bother sharing his secret with anyone else. It still sent chills racing through him when he remembered the horrifying creature.
The mere thought of it made a shiver run through Sasuke, and he curled up a bit tighter under his covers. Shaking, he clenched his bed sheets, forcing himself not to think of the monster. He wished he'd never seen the thing; he wished he could forget it, but he couldn't. He knew it was real even if his mom hadn't believed him. She'd soothed him and told him it was a bad dream. She had promised him it wasn't real.
Sasuke knew better. There was a monster.
He'd only seen the monster once, but that one time had been burned into his mind for good. Sasuke had gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As he walked down the hallway on the way back to his room with the sound of the toilet still flushing behind him, he had felt something cold coming towards him from behind. Just as he reached his room the coldness had gotten shockingly stronger. Fear had gripped him, but he had still turned, as though automatically, as though the thing had forced him to. Sasuke could still remember the shape of the monster, the coldness that seemed to suck the life out of him, even from way down the hall.
His frightened eyes locked with the monster's glowing ones.
Sasuke had backed up in fear. His back met his bedroom door. Sasuke moved further back, the door moving with him. He hadn't latched the door properly, and he suddenly stumbled into his room, the door swinging open wide. The light from his room flooded into the hallway. The light from his precious night-light caught the monster by surprise. Grayish looking arms came up to block its face to protect it from the light. It had hissed at Sasuke, a sound so terrible that he still had nightmares about it. But it didn't attacked Sasuke. Instead, it kept its arms in front of its face and had fled, tearing down the stairs, knocking a picture frame from off the wall.
That was how Sasuke had known the monster had been real; the picture had been lying on the steps the next morning.
The glass hadn't broken or cracked like it would have in one of those horror movies that Itachi always loved to watch (though Sasuke hadn't known that the covering of his parent's photo was actually just plastic which was why it hadn't shattered). When he had seen the picture still lying on the steps the next morning he had told his mom about the monster and told her that the monster had done it.
She had soothed him and told him monsters weren't real.
She also told him it was okay if he had accidentally knocked the picture down and that there was no need to make up stories. If Sasuke hadn't been so scared of the monster, he would have been mad that his Mom thought he'd done it and was telling lies.
From then on Sasuke tried not to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. A part of him feared that the monster would be out in the hallway again. A part of him wondered if the monster only came out at night after he had flushed the toilet.
The few times he couldn't hold it in and had to pee really bad in the middle of the night, he had made sure to leave his bedroom door wide open, the light from his night-light visible from down the hall. Of course, Sasuke had also made sure to run really, really fast back to his room as soon as he had flushed the toilet.
As he got older, he got smarter. He just didn't flush if he peed in the middle of the night.
He'd been four the first time he'd seen the monster. Two years had since passed, and he hadn't seen the monster since. Maybe he had scared it away, or maybe his mom had been right; there had never been a monster in the first place. Or maybe the monster was one of those that only certain people could see. And maybe not flushing the toilet was keeping the monster from coming back.
Still, as Sasuke lay in bed, trying to keep his eyes closed, trying not to watch the way the shadows of the tree branches looked like long fingers stretching out to grasp him in their clutches, he tried to remember that there was nothing to be scared of. There were no monsters under his bed. The shadows were just that, shadows. Creatures didn't live in his closet, and the noises he heard were just the house settling. Of course, it would help if he knew what his mother had meant when she said the house was "settling," but he trusted that his mom knew, and that was enough for him. As long as he didn't flush the toilet in the middle of the night he was safe from that monster too. He should be perfectly okay to fall asleep.
Not to mention he was really tired. He had hardly slept since the night before his sixth birthday three days ago.
Sasuke hadn't been able to sleep very much the first night and hadn't been able to sleep at all the second night. The first night Sasuke kept seeing ghostly shadows dance across his walls. These shadows hadn't been present before due to the brightness of his night-light, so the new and unusual shapes kept catching Sasuke's attention. Sometimes they looked like long fingers reaching for him.
Other times they looked like the shapes of people moving outside his bedroom window, which made Sasuke fearful of flying monsters. Only when the light of morning came did Sasuke finally managed to curl out from underneath the pile of blankets that had been much too hot at the end of July even with the central air conditioning running. He'd finally slept when morning light had come.
Sasuke's mother had come in to wake him at the usual hour, 8:00, but she had known immediately that her son hadn't slept well. Her son was usually already awake before she came in, but instead, her little light-sleeper was hard to rouse from dreamland after his first attempts at sleeping without a night-light.
Uchiha Mikoto petitioned her husband, Fugaku, for the return of her son's night-light. He had merely tsked at the idea, saying that Sasuke had only spent one night without it, and that it would just take a little time for him to get used to it.
The second night before bed, she had pulled the window shade down in Sasuke's bedroom all the way, explaining to her intelligent young son that if the room became pitch-black, he would not see any shadows. No shadows would mean that it would be less scary than seeing those long shadows of the tree branches, right?
It had been much worse for Sasuke. In the pitch-blackness of his room, his eyes wide and fearful, he could hear so much better. With the lack of sight to focus his attention on, his sense of sound enhanced, he could hear things that he had never remembered hearing before.
What was that noise from above him? What was that sound from down the hall? What was the creaking noise at the top of the step?
The sound of his door squeaking made him jump in his bed, and he sat there, clutching his covers, wishing he could see if anything was around him. His body was paralyzed with too much fear for him to get out of bed and turn on the light or to walk to the window and raise the shade to see if there was anything in the room.
He hadn't slept at all that night because by morning he hadn't been able to tell when light had come since his window shade was so thick that it truly kept out all light.
Finally, on the third day, he'd decided to try to sleep without the window shade pulled down. His mother had told him that they would replace it with blinds to see if letting in a little light in would be better than letting in no light at all. Sasuke had a feeling that it wouldn't matter, but perhaps he just had to get over his fear. There was really nothing that would hurt him, right? Monsters weren't in his house, right?
Convinced that perhaps he was just being silly, and convinced that as a six year old he was much more grown up than being a five year old, he finally began to drift off to sleep. His body was tired, and he could feel his eyelids drooping; he could feel his body getting heavier as his mind began to grow blissfully peaceful.
Sasuke jolted wide-awake at the sound. His heart hammered fast at the sound of the noise, and he sucked in his breath holding it in as he listened for the sound again. His eyes flew to the window, and his body relaxed ever so slightly when he realized that the noise was coming from outside his window. He froze for half a second as he heard the clink come again, but he relaxed even more when he was actually able to identify the dull clinking noise.
He knew the sound well. There was a storm grate in front of his neighbor's house, almost directly under the streetlamp. The neighbor's yard had lots of white, decorative round stones covering the front part of their property where a lawn should be. It apparently meant much less yard work than having a lawn as his neighbor had told him once. Even so, the smooth stones were too tempting not to want to pick them up and throw, and what better practice than to throw rocks through the open storm grate?
Sasuke knew it was late, and it was still dark without his night-light, but the sound of someone throwing rocks past midnight made him climb out of bed and walk over to his window. He pressed his face against the glass of the window. It was cooler than normal since it was so close to the central-air vent, and Sasuke breathed on it to warm it up some. The glass fogged, but he wiped it off so he could see out of it again. Craning his neck for a good angle, he looked to see who was throwing rocks.
It was easy to see who was making the noise. The boy throwing the rocks sat on the curb directly under the same street lamp that gave off the light to make shadows come into Sasuke's bedroom window. The boy had blond hair and looked like he was wearing pajamas. The boy kept throwing the stones, making clink after clink after clink as the white stones disappeared through the grate openings and down into the sewer below.
Sasuke looked at the other boy in annoyance. The boy had woken him up just when he had been ready to fall asleep!
After a minute of watching the stones disappear, Sasuke noticed that the other boy was crying.
Sasuke frowned, watching as the boy would take a handful of stones from behind him, one by one tossing them with a clink in between the metal bars of the storm grate. His other hand periodically wiped tears away from his face or used his arm to wipe away the snot dribbles running down from his nose.
Normally Sasuke knew that boys shouldn't cry, and if this boy was six, not five, then he was more grown up now too and really shouldn't be crying. Still, Sasuke couldn't help but feel bad for the other boy. He looked so sad and lonely.
Forgetting about his fear of the dark, forgetting that he ought to change into something other than pajamas, Sasuke walked out of his bedroom, down the steps, and to his front door. He unlocked the door with a loud click before opening the heavy door and walking outside.
He turned immediately to see that the boy had jumped up, his full attention turned toward Sasuke. Apparently the other boy had heard the door open even from across the street.
"Stop throwing the stones! You're too loud. I was sleeping," Sasuke grunted and padded down his front walk, feeling the smooth surface beneath his feet. He noted that it was much cooler to walk barefoot now than it had been during the day, so he walked on the street, which was normally too hot to walk on barefoot on the black pavement in July, over to the other boy who stood staring at him, almost fearfully.
As Sasuke got closer to the other boy, he looked less fearful. Sasuke stopped several feet from him, tilting his head to the side. He'd seen people act like this toward his father when they weren't sure what to make of him, and he remembered what his father had done, so Sasuke mimicked him.
"Uchiha Sasuke," Sasuke said, reaching out his hand for a handshake. The blond boy looked at him, looked at his hand, and then looked back at Sasuke's face as he reached out his own hand to shake Sasuke's.
"Uzumaki Naruto," the boy, Naruto said. They shook hands briefly before they dropped them to their sides awkwardly.
"How old are you?" Sasuke finally asked curiously.
"Five and three quarters," Naruto said, tilting his face up slightly. He looked like he was trying not to cry.
"So you're still five then," Sasuke said, with a knowing nod.
"I'm five and three quarters," Naruto repeated, sounding more stubborn and looking a little less gloomy now that he had to defend his age. Of course Sasuke knew, as all kids their age knew, that being five and three quarters meant that they were better than just five year olds, but Naruto wasn't six yet. Sasuke was six.
"I'm six. You're crying. If you were six now, you wouldn't be allowed to cry," Sasuke said knowingly. Naruto frowned at him, wiping the tears from his eyes.
"I wasn't really crying. I was pretend crying," Naruto said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" Naruto continued, looking around him as though Sasuke's parents would materialize from nowhere. Sasuke frowned, not liking how this boy tried to sound older by asking him parent-type questions.
"You're out on the street with no parents around. You're going to get in trouble."
"You're out on the street with no parents either!" Naruto pointed out. Sasuke pointed a thumb to his chest.
"I'm six," Sasuke stated.
"Well, still!" Naruto pouted. Sasuke made a sound of irritation. Naruto didn't seem to know that there was a big difference between five and three quarters and six. Some kids didn't know how big a difference there was.
"Shouldn't you be at home?" Sasuke asked. Not answering right away, Naruto sat back down on the curb and pulled his knees up close to his chest.
"I can't go home," Naruto whispered, and he sounded really sad again.
"Why not?" Sasuke asked, sitting next to Naruto. Itachi had always told him that older kids should take care of younger kids. It's what the older kids did, so Sasuke took it upon himself to make sure that Naruto got home okay. He was being a good grown up kid! If he could do this, then perhaps he would feel better about sleeping without the nightlight.
"They took my mom," Naruto whispered, scrunching his legs up tighter against his chest. "And they took my house. I don't have anywhere to go. And I want Mom back," Naruto said, his voice getting higher pitched as he began to cry again, burying his face into his knees.
Sasuke didn't know what to say. He frowned. People couldn't take houses. People could take other people. That was called kidnapping. Sasuke could even spell it. Itachi had taught him. But Sasuke had never heard of house-napping. He didn't think you could move a house like that.
But still, Naruto was upset. His Mom had been kidnapped, and Sasuke knew that when people where kidnapped you had to call the police. But he didn't think that Naruto had done that. If he didn't have a house, he probably didn't have a phone to call the police with either.
"Who's 'they?'" Sasuke couldn't help but ask, suddenly looking around him. If there were bad guys that had taken Naruto's Mom and Naruto's house then maybe they would come back for Naruto like in the movies. Feeling suddenly scared, Sasuke wondered if they would take him too.
"The monsters," Naruto whispered. Sasuke, who had been looking around for bad guys, suddenly whipped his head around to look at Naruto.
"M-monsters?" Sasuke asked breathlessly. Naruto looked up at him, and half-sighed half-sniffed.
"You don't believe me. Mom didn't believe me either, but they took her," Naruto explained through a hiccup as tears still streamed down his face.
"No-no! I believe you, but are the monsters after you now?" Sasuke asked, looking around him again, more terrified than before.
"I don't know!" Naruto sobbed again. "I thought you were one of them at first! But you came into the light, so I knew you weren't one," Naruto said, wiping tears again.
A feeling of coldness swept through Sasuke. "They" were afraid of light just like the monster from his house!
"Do they have gray skin and glowing eyes?" Sasuke asked. Naruto looked up at him, his face frozen in surprise.
"How-how do you know that? Have you seen them?" Naruto asked, looking around them too as though he thought Sasuke might have seen one lurking in the next yard over.
"I saw one, once," Sasuke said, half-afraid though half-relieved that someone else had seen the monster too. "It was scared of light," Sasuke explained. Naruto nodded.
"That's why I'm under the street-lamp," Naruto said, pointing at it. Sasuke nodded in understanding before looking back toward his house. He shivered, glad that nothing had gotten him when he walked over to Naruto, but now unsure of how to get back to his house. "I have a flashlight," Naruto said, understanding that Sasuke wanted to go back to his house. Naruto reached into his pocket and pulled out a green flashlight that had a frogmouth opening where the light emerged.
"We can go back to my house," Sasuke explained. "And then we can call the police and tell them about your Mom being kidnapped," Sasuke said, already planning on telling Itachi that he wasn't foolish and how much of a grown up he was being.
"We can't call the police," Naruto said suddenly. Sasuke looked at him. "It's really late. They're probably all asleep right now."
"I didn't mean right now, I meant in the morning," Sasuke half-lied. He hadn't thought about the fact that the police would probably be sleeping. It was really late after all. He had meant right then, but what Naruto said had made sense. The police might be angry if they called so late, but he didn't want Naruto to know that a five and three quarter year old had thought of something that a six year old hadn't.
"I can sleep over?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah, but..." Sasuke trailed off, feeling less and less grown up all of a sudden. "They took my nightlight away because I'm grown-up now," Sasuke said sheepishly. There was no need for Sasuke to explain that his "they" were his parents.
"We'll just sleep with all the lights on. Much safer that way," Naruto said, wiping his eyes again.
"Okay," Sasuke agreed. Naruto clicked on his frog flashlight, and the two of them made it back to Sasuke's house. Sasuke led the way with Naruto close behind him. Even so, Sasuke couldn't help but go extra slow, listening for monsters as he walked back through his house, up the steps, and into his bedroom. He quickly turned on the light in his room and closed the door.
Naruto stood standing with his back almost up against the wall.
"Under the covers, harder to find us there," Naruto whispered.
"Right," Sasuke whispered back. Sasuke got under the blankets first, pulling them up over his head, Naruto slipping underneath the covers a moment later.
Sasuke had expected it to be hot underneath the covers, but Naruto, who was shivering, shaking, and still crying, felt strangely cold. He wondered if he was sick, but it didn't matter.
"You're cold," Sasuke whispered to Naruto under the blankets. He couldn't see him that well, but he could feel Naruto's hand still clutching the frog flashlight between them as the metal flashlight bumped against Sasuke's hand.
"You're warm," Naruto whisper-sniffed his response. Neither said anything for a few minutes before Naruto finally whisper-sniffed, "Good night."
Sasuke felt Naruto wrap his arm around him, and Sasuke let him. Since Sasuke was a grown-up kid now, he knew that kids cuddled up against grown-ups when they were cold and scared. Naruto was both. (Sasuke was scared too, but he didn't let Naruto know that.)
Sasuke, feeling better with the lights on, hiding under the covers with his new friend Naruto – because of course they had to be friends if they were fighting (well, sort of fighting) monsters together – fell asleep almost immediately.
When Mikoto entered her youngest son's room the next morning, she half chuckled as she noticed all the lights on in his room. The chuckle died in her throat as her eyes swept the room, landing first on the covers that had been thrown off the bed, and then onto the bed itself.
The sight on the bed made her freeze in her spot. She clutched her chest, seeing not only her son but also another boy lying on the bed –
Both smeared in blood.
Children believe in fairy-tales. They believe in monsters too. ~ Jelp
Next Chapter: Just the Beginning
Sasuke's fear of monsters-that-appear-when-flushing-the-toilet is stemmed from my own three/four year old imagination. I really thought a monster would appear if I flushed the toilet in the middle of the night and didn't get back to my bedroom fast enough. Sadly, it never occurred to me just to not flush the darned toilet. Ah well. The whole monsters-are-afraid-of-light-thing also was something that made me rely on my own night-light to prevent monsters from getting me. I didn't get rid of my night-light till I was seven because I thought a lot of monsters were afraid of light just like people were afraid of the dark. Haha.
A lot of Naruto and Sasuke's reasoning in this chapter came from my own childhood reasoning. It's hysterical to remember what I used to think when I was a kid! Hope you enjoyed the chapter! ~ Jelp