Pretending To Sleep

The floorboard by the bed creaks. Soft footfall moves away, growing quieter and quieter until… Another creak. This one is more of a groan. A throaty groan that means they are at the door. There’s a hole there, maybe. A big hole that has since been hidden by wood. That’s why the creak sounds like a groan. It’s the sound a person makes when they’re stepped on.

Now they’re at door, what comes next is closing it. It’s a quiet sound, a little whoosh and then a click. The whoosh barely ever heard. The click is. The click means it’s safe to open your eyes. The click means it’s safe to move. You have to be quick, though, because they might come back. Sometimes it’s safer not to move at all. Especially when they might be listening.

The click is taking a while. If you can imagine that person in their hidey-hole, imagine them holding their breath. Imagine them with the weight pressing down on them, becoming more unbearable with every passing second. They’re waiting for the click. Or rather, the moment just before the click when the weight eases away and the door is pulled shut.

Click.

A hiss of breath. A sigh of relief, maybe, for the weight is gone. Or just the sound of a silken dressing gown moving across the floor.

Don’t move yet. Don’t look. They might still be there. If they hear the wet sweep of eyelids lifting, they’ll be back. Go to sleep. It’s bedtime.

Wait just a few seconds until the light switch flicks. Now move. Slide further under the covers, into the warm dark, where no one can hurt you. Especially not the body under the floorboards, who scratches and moans.


Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

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