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It started when I was eleven. I remember my age easily throughout the nightmares, due to the fact we moved so much. Whichever house I dreamt in, was usually a different year of my life.
I always struggled to sleep, my mother took me to Dr. Gartner many times. I was just told that I had a very active imagination, while this was true, it provided no solemn relief for the nightly experiences.
The first night I saw the hairy man, I was leaning out my bed reading a Beano annual at 3AM, because as usual I couldn't sleep.
I should state, I heard him before I saw him. I heard his wiry haired feet skitting about the carpet like dull Velcro. The fear that went down my back was, as I discovered soon after, a feeling that I was going to have to become accustomed to. I was terrified to sit up, I only darted my eyes to the left, and just caught a glimpse of a disgusting hairy foot darting out of my vision. I hoped that for some insane reason my father was playing a prank on me for being up so late. But I knew that wasn't it. I wanted to lift the quilt off my head and feel the sigh of relief that I was overtired, my mind needed sleep after all.
And yet I heard him shuffling, shuffling and breathing. It was like I could hear how warm and sickly his breath was. I gagged as I pictured him close to my face, what did his face look like? Why was he here? I had to know, but; I am not brave. I don't just swallow and I'm suddenly full of adrenaline like in the movies, no. I cowered until I was sure I could make myself run.
I sat up so slowly, I pulled the quilt around my neck, as if he could be behind me somehow, I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to see his face, to satisfy a sick, sticky curiosity inside my twisted young mind.
It may be worth noting that this is quite possibly the first time I argued with myself inside my mind, perhaps this is what caused the voices, they started chattering, fast and slurred at first, but quickly became clear. They told me to look, not look, hide myself and sleep. How could I sleep? I digress.
Sitting up grasping the quilt across me and around me, forming a chrysalis of sorts, whatever good that would do, it made me feel safer. I leaned forward, trying to peer at him. He had such thick fur, such long legs, why was he on all fours? I wouldn't find out. I would listen to to the chattering in my mind, my new voices of reason, my new friends?
I laid down in my cocoon, his pattering of feet softly and swiftly flapping on my carpet. I could hear his breathing, I could sense his warmth. I wondered about his eyes, would they be human? What else could they be. I edged my sweating hands to the edge of the safe space, feeling for the edge to see my new acquaintance. I wondered then if he could speak, was it a he?
Peeling a small part of the shield up that I had pathetically created for myself, I saw the air in front of my eyes was clear, a small relief, if just for a moment. Moving the shield up just a little more and I saw his fur, his heaving body as he took his breaths in so deep, so heavy and fast. He looked at me, and I screamed.