My name is Johanna and, if you’re reading this, I love you.

ceiling-fan-1333756_640I need some help.  I have these… dreams.  Only, they’re not dreams.  They’re more like nightmares but I see them in the dark.  The worst one happened last night and now I’m not sure what to do.  I’m terrified.  I’m terrified that, if I go to sleep, the demons will take my baby.  I don’t know if they’re really demons, I don’t know if it’s just all in my head, I don’t know if I’m going crazy, and I don’t know if I can take this any longer.  I’m writing this and putting this up here to see if anyone out there can help me.

My baby is seven months old and her name is Marguerit.  Since she’s nursing, I took her to bed with me, like I always do, and she nursed for a bit and fell asleep.  I tried sleeping but, as usual, I just lay there thinking about the day, the future, whether or not I needed to go stock up on more diapers for Marguerit, the usual stuff.  I was so tired.  The kind of tired where your eyes burn.

I felt a little cold air hit my arm that I had outside of the blanket holding Marguerit.  I immediately opened my eyes because there should be no cold air in the house.  The ceiling fan was running but that wasn’t where the air came from.  It came from the end of the bed or the door into the bedroom.  I was instantly awake as my bedroom door is directly across the living room from the front door.  I glanced into the darkness of the living room and could vaguely make out that the front door was closed.  There is a side door to the house but I know it was locked when I went to bed.

Silently still, I listened to the darkness in my house and the gentle woosh-woosh-woosh of the fan above my head.  My husband, Clarence, gently snoring next to us.  There was nothing unusual.  No creek of the floorboards, no whining of hinges of doors being quietly shut.  Silence accompanied by the feeling of an eerie presence in the room.  This isn’t the first time that I’ve felt that presence.  My pulse began to quicken as I looked all around the room, terrified of even breathing to give away mine and Marguerit’s location in the bed.  And then I saw it.

It came up slowly from the end of the bed but, as soon as I saw that charcoal black fabric, I knew he was here.  The demon rose up, into the air with his ragged cloak billowing softly and the air tasted almost musty.  He doesn’t have a face but.. those eyes!  As he ascended over the top of the bed, I was paralyzed in fear.  Why was he back?  What does he want with me?  Why won’t he leave me alone?  It had been years since I’d seen the cloaked demon and I’m more terrified now than ever.

Once he reached his full height over the top of us, I sharply inhaled because I could no longer fight the urge to scream.  Immediately, he swooped down and stole my Marguerit.  He lifted her into the air with such speed and slammed her into the ceiling fan with a force so powerful, I was afraid she would shatter and rain down over the bed.  I watched in horror as he threw her broken body to the ground off the end of the bed.

Screaming, I launched myself into the air and somersaulted off the end of the bed; trying to find my poor baby’s body in the dark.  I’m feeling the rough carpet with my fingers, desperately searching for her body, screaming for my husband to wake up, calling for Marguerit.  And then I feel it.  Her onesie under the end of the bed.  I can feel that all of her bones were broken.  I’m screaming hysterically and calling for my husband to WAKE UP!  I pull my only child’s damaged and mangled body out from under the bed and press what’s left of her to my chest.  Why did this have to happen to me?!  Why did he take my child from me?  He could have taken me all those years ago but he comes back just to destroy the one thing I truly can’t live without?

I hold Marguerit to my chest, screaming her name, crying, rocking her.  Please, my baby, please wake up.  Please cry, gurgle, anything to let me know you’re still alive.  Please be okay!  I hear Clarence now.  He’s finely awake but he keeps yelling at me to get out.  Why would he yell at me to get out of the room?  He keeps saying that Margeurit is fine and that I need to get out of the room.  I don’t understand and in this moment I hate him with all of my heart.

And then I hear it.  Marguerit cries.  But not in my arms, no, her crying is coming from the bed.  I’m stunned into silence long enough to actually listen and process Clarence’s words.  Marguerit is fine.  She is safe on the bed and he has her in his arms.  It was just a dream.  Just a night terror.  My baby is fine and I need to either acknowledge that I am awake now or get out of the room so that I don’t hurt her.  I am awake.  I’ve always been awake.  I’m shaking and crying and the adrenaline is too much for me to be able to move any more than just crawl myself to the doorway and turn the light on so that I can see that she is really there and she is really okay.   She is really there in Clarence’s arms and she is really okay.  It’s okay, it’s all going to be okay.

So, now I’m here.  I can’t sleep tonight.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to sleep in my bedroom again.  I don’t know if my baby will ever be safe in my house or even near me.  I could have easily crushed her myself when I launched myself out of that bed.  I need some help.  I’m torn and struggling.  If I kill myself, she grows up without a mom.  If I don’t, I might accidentally kill her.  I don’t know what to do.  What if the demon with the ragged, charcoal cloak and those eyes comes back?  I’m terrified, I’m exhausted, and I’m afraid to get near my Marguerit.  If that thing isn’t a demon, what could it possibly be?  If this is all in my head then that means I’m crazy but I’m not supposed to be old enough to be crazy.  I have no one to talk to except my husband and he doesn’t know what to do, either.  I have no family, no friends.  So, if you’re reading this, I love you.  I love you for sharing my pain and understanding what’s happening to me, if even only a little bit.  I love you for making me feel like I’m not so completely and utterly alone.  Can anyone out there help me?

 

If you enjoyed this story and want to know more about Johanna Parks, I’ve written a novel about her called Discernment.

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About lacysereduk

Writer, reader, video game lover, and Batman.
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