St. Louis, Missouri, 1985 — “Mommy! Daddy! Help!”
At the panicked shout, William and Laura Taylor bolted out of bed and into their five-year-old son’s room.
“Henry, what’s wrong?” William asked, jade green eyes darting around the room. “Are you hurt?”
Laura flicked on the light and went to their distressed son, who instantly latched onto her. “Did you have a bad dream?” she asked, her hazel eyes concerned.
Henry shook his head and pointed at his closet. “Someone’s in there! You gotta see, Daddy!”
William walked over to the slightly open door and moved aside the hanging clothes. “There’s no one here, buddy,” he said. He shut the door and joined his wife and son on the bed. “It was just your imagination.”
“But there really was someone!” Henry insisted. “He was big and scary and he had a gun!”
William frowned. That sounded incredibly specific. Almost too specific, he thought.
“Honey?” Laura said. “Are you okay?”
William snapped out of his trance and looked at her. “Huh? What?”
“You have a weird look on your face. What is it?”
“Nothing,” he said a little too quickly. He ruffled Henry’s brown hair. “It was just a bad dream, bud. You’re safe.”
Henry sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve. “Are you sure?”
William smiled a little. “Yes, I’m sure. It must’ve been a nightmare you had.”
Laura kissed his head. “Goodnight, Henry. We love you.”
After his parents had left, Henry remained awake for several more minutes. “Hello?” he called out timidly. “You better go away, Mr. Bad Guy!”
Henry buried himself under his covers. Maybe Daddy was right and it really was just a bad dream. His eyes drifted shut and he was fast asleep within seconds.
The closet door swung open a crack, yet no one came out.
©H.S. Kylian 2018
(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)
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