Critique welcome. A/N at end of chapter regarding updates, etc.
A Case of Frost
The flashing blue from the television was all that lit the living room. Then the credits ending the cooking program started rolling, and a finger hit the little red button on the remote, and even that light was gone. David Greenberg yawned, rolled his shoulders, and heaved himself off the couch. He stumbled sleepily through the darkness into the hall, taking care to keep his feet away from the corners of coffee tables and edges of rugs. It wouldn't do to wake his family so late at night. Last time that happened, Angela had spent the next morning talking to him in only annoyed grunts. David often wondered what had been going through his mind when he had agreed to marry such a light sleeper.
He made it safely to the entrance to his room, all his toe bones in their correct places, and braced himself for the inevitable squeak that would come with pushing the door open. He didn't make it that far, however, when a shuffling of fabric and a small voice whispering, "Dad?" came from his left.
"Mark," said David, watching the boy rub his tired eyes, "What are you doing up?"
"Can't sleep," came the groggy reply, "'M scared."
"Scared of what?"
"The monster under m'bed."
That was a new one, David thought. It had been years since such tales had frightened Mark. He sighed and put a hand on his son's shoulder, steering him back to his room. "Come on. Back to bed."
The light in Mark's room was already switched on, although it seemed to do nothing to relax the boy. He hid behind his father's legs, eyeing the bed nervously.
"Do you want me to check?" asked David, and Mark nodded.
David climbed down on all fours and lifted the edge of the blanket so that he could see under. Behind him, Mark made a scared little noise.
"It's okay, buddy. There's nothing under here. Come and see."
Mark joined David and peeked underneath the bed, calming down when he saw that there was indeed nothing but dust and a pair of dirty socks.
He nodded, and climbed up into bed. "But the monster," he said uncertainly, pulling the blankets up to his chin.
"No monsters," David assured him, "The monster under your bed isn't real. Okay, buddy?"
Mark looked much happier now. "Okay. Goodnight, Dad."
"Night, Mark. Love you, buddy."
"Love you too," Mark slurred, already half asleep.
David ruffled his son's hair before leaving his bedside, flicking the light switch on his way out of the room. He managed to make it back to his own bedroom silently, and Angela didn't wake when he slid into bed beside her. He was asleep almost instantly.
It was only a few short hours later when he awoke. The room was still dark, and at first he thought it was the darkness that had woken him. It seemed different than usual. Thicker, blacker, more crushing. He shivered, and curled himself into the blankets, trying to go back to sleep. Then he heard something. The sound of movement, rustling beneath him. Beneath the bed. Raspy breathing. A growling, rumbling voice.
"I'm 'not real', he says. Show him real."
Then cold fingers suddenly wrapped around his ankle and, before he could scream - though screaming certainly followed - they were pulling.
Pulling him off the bed.
Pulling him under.
A/N: I know it's a short start, but I would love to hear your thoughts! Like I said above, critique is definitely welcome.
About updates - I'll try and upload the first chapter proper as soon as possible! After that, though, life is gonna get crazy busy so I'm not sure how regularly I'll be able to update. So, in advance, sorry if I leave any potentially interested readers hanging, and thank you for bearing with me!
I hope that in this and the following chapters I manage to get all the American terms and figures of speech right. I've felt really weird every time I've had to type 'mom' or 'cellphone', but hopefully it's worth it. Let me know if I miss anything!
Thanks for reading!