a/n- Prompt: Many things get the hair on the back of my neck up, but nothing more so than...

Prompt from the Labyrinth Forum writing contest. Enjoy!

But before- a quick yahoo answer (lol) describing what an incubus is, for reference.

"Okay, First a little history on the term, the term incubus comes from the Greek tradition of "dream incubation" which was a method used in the temple of Aesculapius. In the temple sick patients would perform a cleansing rite, pray for a cure and then sleep awaiting a dream to be sent which would be interpreted as instruction on a cure.

The spirit which brought the message of how to be cured was in Latin called an "Incubus" and this is where the term came from. Later when the Christian religion started to come into power all things Pagan were demonized or absorbed into the religion. The Incubus was then demonized as were most things Pagan." ( answers .yahoo question /index?qid =20101113171556AALPaIw)

UPDATE 9-9-2013- Added dividers.


Many things get the hair on the back of Matthias' neck up, but nothing more so than the dark.

The dark is a heavy blanket over Matthias' bedroom. The night covers fine details and just leaves the suggestion of objects' outlines. As Matthias shifts beneath his covers and wills himself not to fetch his nightlight, his eyes are drawn to these blacked-out objects. A hanger on his doorknob turns into a woman's collarbone. A lamp to his right becomes a looming kidnapper. The blinds on his window transform into the serrated blades of a serial killer.

Matthias shifts beneath his blankets again, buries his face in the pillow and sighs softly. His hand fumbles out from beneath the covers and flicks on his bedside lamp. The sudden light throws his features into focus.

He's an adult. Not a child. His face is broad and open, dark eyes set into a light face, with hair the color of chestnuts. The bags under his eyes make him look older than his true age- 27- but his mussed hair and slightly frightened expression gives him the look of a terrified child.

I promised myself I wouldn't turn on the light, Matthias thinks to himself, pressing his back against the headboard and staring up at the ceiling. With the lamp's light, the room looks positively harmless- there are no creepy crawlies lurking around, no kidnappers, no serial killers. Just softly dim corners and warm blankets and wide, spacious walls, decorated with nothing in particular.

Matthias covers his face with his hands and decides to give up. The light will stay on tonight. With shame weighing down his heart, the man slips beneath the covers and falls into an uneasy sleep.


Red numbers on the bedside table read 3:52 A.M. Matthias' feet tangle up in his blanket and he jolts awake. Sweat sticks his clothes to him. It feels like an absolute furnace.

His eyes snap open and reveal dark.

His hand grasps at the knob on a lamp next to his bed, but nothing happens. The bulb appears to be blown out. "Jesus," Matthias gasps weakly, shutting his eyes as his hand presses across the bedside table. His fingers search for his phone. The dark behind his eyes is a little better than the dark in the room; it doesn't hide creatures, doesn't hide nightmares, doesn't cover up intruders.

His fingers grasp something. With haste they tap against the thing, looking for a button.

The thing grasps back.

It's five fingers wrapping around Matthias' suddenly clammy wrist. He gives a shout and his eyes snap open. It's someone. Someone has come to get him. It's finally happening, it's happening, he knew it would knew he would

It's dark and Matthias can't breath. The thing has come again, wrapping around his middle, fingers scorching hot in his hair. Sour breath steams against his neck and he cries out, afraid.

"'S alright," the monster slurs drunkenly against the young boy. Matthias cannot get free. He is too small. He is too weak.

The bed is hot, too hot, he is dying.

The fingers are hard against his wrist as Matthias forces himself to look at the thing.

Matthias doesn't open his eyes. He doesn't want to see the monster's face.

It's something with deep yellow eyes and

This happens every night.

its mouth is turned down in a sharp frown. Matthew screams and shoves the lamp on his table off. It smashes on the floor and Matthias jumps off of his bed and twists a foot in his efforts. He's already crossed the room and grabbed the door knob before he realizes that he didn't grab his phone.

He's suffocating. He is going to die. He hates sleeping. He hates being awake. He hates the night that lets this monster hide and attack.

The door opens just as the thing grabs his ankle. Matthias kicks out and doesn't look back. The thing jerks him backwards and he falls, sprawling out on the floor, heart beating against his skin, he will die.

He's fallen against his front and the thing shoves him so that he's on his back. The thing forces his eyes open with its tan fingers and looks at him.

"Christ, kid," the thing says, frowning with its mouth full of fangs. "You're a mess."

Matthias can't breath, and his words are like the gasps of a drowning man. "Please- let- me- go," he hiccups. The thing shakes its surprisingly human head and sits down on the floor, letting go of Matthias' eyes.

"Can't do. I'm here to feed." Matthias yells and tries to stand, but he's wobbly and he falls, with some effort he manages to finally crawl towards the door, which snaps shut.

"Not feed," the thing amends, "more like drain. I'm an incubus." The thing groans in frustration and shakes its head as Matthias kicks at the door. "Not an incubus! I'm an, a- I'm- I feed off of bad emotions."

Matthias' hands wrap around the knob and yank. Nothing happens.

"You're like a siren, kid. Your feelings are screaming across the entire neighborhood. It's disturbing some of the more psychically perceptive neighbors. They don't know it, of course," the thing amends as Matthias slowly turns his head towards it. "The disturbances manifest as nightmares. But you're poisoning others, with this whole thing you have going on. Poisoning them in ways you understand and don't."

"Let me go," Matthias croaks weakly. "Please."

"Be quiet."

"No," the thing says, resolute. "No. I'm sorry."

The thing keeps speaking- it has a Southern accent. It says to get some sleep and that it will come tomorrow. Matthias spends the night locking all of his doors and pushing heavy objects in entryways. When morning comes, he calls off of work sick.

He sleeps during the day.