I knew as soon as I laid eyes on this tiny, dumpy lakeside house in Winona, Minnesota that something was horribly wrong. The house just radiated unease and for a split second I hated my mother for bringing me here. I was so taken aback by this sudden wave of rage as I slowly approached the house that it stopped me dead in my tracks. My breath hitched but the anger left as quickly as it came. I shrugged it off as I continued to cross the lawn and stepped up to the porch.

My mom had said, "Oh this place is fantastic! A bit of a fixer-upper, but it has a beautiful view of the lake. I promise you'll love it!"

I scoffed at my mother's words as I looked past the peeling paint and pushed the creaky door open. The house was incredibly dusty, causing me to sneeze after I had crossed the threshold. I heard my mother's footsteps behind me.

"Alright, honey, pick your room!" she exclaimed with a wide smile on her face.

She breezed past me with a box in her arms and set the box in the living area. I turned on my heel and walked up the stairs and took the first door on the left. It was an open room with a little closet and a big window facing the lake. I walked over to the window to look out at the lake when I heard the closet door creak open. I looked over my shoulder and saw a peculiar flash of movement. My stomach began churning and I swallowed nervously as I stepped closer the the cracked open closet door.

I swallowed my fear and pulled open the door. I sighed. Nothing. The closet was empty. I turned back around and went back downstairs to begin moving boxes up to my room. I could already tell the night was going to be long.

A few days passed without incident. We managed to unpack everything in just about three days. I spent my days just hanging around the house. It was the middle of summer and I didn't know anyone in town. So, it had been about a week after we were settled when something really freaky happened. I had been laying in bed, trying to fall asleep. I had been awake for hours. When I was right on the edge of sleep, I heard my closet door creak open.

My breathing stopped. My eyes flew open and suddenly the darkness of my bedroom was crushing me. I wasn't sure why, but a severe feeling of dread coiled in my stomach and I wanted nothing more than to be out of this house. I sat up and screamed. A real ear-piercing screech. To this day, I will never describe what I saw at the foot of my bed. A being, a monster, stood there, it's face a grotesque mass of flesh. It was so horrendous and everything a face shouldn't be.

The monster seemed to smile. The skin around the region I assumed was it's mouth was turning up at the corners and it's lips parted so I could see sharp, rotten yellow fangs. I began to sob. My mother quickly burst through my bedroom door and turned on the light switch. As soon as the lights turned on, the monster was gone.

"Baby what's wrong?" my mother asked looking terrified.

I just cried harder. I was so scared. Eventually I just couldn't cry anymore and my mother just rubbed my back to soothe me. How could I tell her that this... thing was in my room? She would think I'm crazy.

Eventually I whispered, "I think it was just a nightmare."

"Oh, well... are you alright now?"

I nodded and my mother gave a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek. After she left, I tried to sleep. But I couldn't. That monster was so close to me that I could've touched it. If I had just stretched my arm, I would have brushed its arm. Eventually, exhaustion overtook me and I feel asleep.

The nights following were excruciating. I was afraid to sleep every night. One night, I awoke to a figure next to my face. My breath stopped as my eyes adjusted and I saw what was standing next to my bed.

"Mom, what are you doing?" I asked rubbing sleep from my eyes.

She didn't answer and my eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Why was she just standing there? A minute passed. My mother and I just stared at each other and I saw her eyes weren't... aware. They were glazed over. After that long minute, my mother turned around and walked out of my room. I had no idea what to do. I just tried to settle back down to sleep.

The next morning, I asked my mother if she remembered what happened last night. She looked very tired. Like she didn't sleep last night. She just giggled a little bit and said my dreams were just getting weirder. The next three nights passed quickly, the house eerily quiet, and my mother acted more on edge and confused.

On the fourth night, I awoke to my mother standing in the doorway. I asked what she was doing but she didn't respond. She cocked her head to the side and slowly inched forward. My mother smiled then, a wide smile that showed all of her teeth and then licked her lips. The voice that came from my mother will forever haunt me.

"How about a game? You've always liked hide-and-seek. Are you ready? 1...2...3..."

I shot out of bed and shoved past my mother. I ran down the stairs and could her mom's voice following me.

"9...10! Ready or not here I come!"

My mother's slow, deliberate steps began coming down the stairs. I panicked. The nearest door was to the basement. I threw the door open and quickly hopped down the stairs to hopefully find a place to hide. There was a small closet on the far side of the room. I dove in and sat huddled against the wall. I slapped a hand over my mouth to keep my breathing calm as I heard footsteps on the basement stairs. I heard something strange on the steps. Step... step... thud. Step... step... thud. Was my mother dragging something? Did she even have anything when she was in my room? I was so afraid I couldn't remember. The footsteps ended at the bottom of the stairs and started up again. Except now there was a steady scrape along the hard floor of the basement. The footsteps and the scrape were accompanied by humming. My mother was humming a joyful little tune as she stepped closer to my hiding spot.

Suddenly, all noises stopped as my mother planted herself in front of the closet. My eyes widened and my breath stopped all together. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, her steady footsteps started up again and then faded along with a terrible scraaape along the floor. A minute turned into five. I sat there wondering how I was going to get out of this. Then, I heard breathing and felt hot air on my neck. I pushed myself out of the closet, into the darkness of the basement.

I stumbled along the wall, frantically looking for the stairs. Until a long pair of arms snaked around and grabbed my middle. I could smell the putrid breath and felt the hot air. I let out a bloodcurdling scream.

"Found you."