AM

I woke to darkness. I'd been waking in the middle of the night often, heart pounding, skin moist with cold sweat from nightmares I couldn't remember.

I slowly looked around the room. What were mere objects by day, were terrors by night. What had been my coat, hanging innocently on the foot of my bed, was now a demon, lying in wait for my breathing to slow. I must have barely escaped with my life. What was a closet this morning, was now a portal to Hell itself; I could almost see the creatures crawling out, thirsting for my soul.

I breathed in, closing my eyes. If I couldn't see them, it was almost like they weren't there. Until I heard the creaking, the strange noises from outside. My heart raced. I pulled the covers over my head, much like I'd done as a young child. It offered a false sense of security-in the end, a blanket isn't much of a defense-but it was all I could do.

I lay in terror for what must have been an hour, until sleep finally seemed to be returning. Slowly, I drifted away, but not before hearing one last creak of the floor boards.

I needed to invite a guest over.

In the morning, when daylight had begun to fill the room, I smelled something odd. Something sickening. But, not feeling like looking into it, I grabbed some clothes from the dresser and put them on, then left the room to make myself breakfast.

Later that day, I had a friend over. We weren't particularly close; we had only known each other for a couple weeks. He was pleasant enough, so I invited him to my home for lunch.

As he ate the spaghetti, he seemed to slow; he began to speak less, eyelids drooping down.

"Feeling a little sleepy?" I asked.

He couldn't answer; this was because he was unconscious. I smiled. I gently picked up the man, tiptoeing out of the kitchen and through the hallway.

An hour later, I slowly lifted the man's head from his shoulders, careful not to get any fluids on the floor. Treading lightly, I walked to my room.

I walked into the closet, and added one to the pile of offerings. I smiled again. As long as they were satiated, I would be safe.