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The wind whistled through windows as the storm continued to shake the old house. Clara Swain pulled the covers tightly up to her neck. Her fingers dug into her palms through the cotton material as she held on, hoping it would protect her. The aged boards of the staircase creaked painfully. Clara’s heart sprinted at the sound.

She did a mental check. Rubbing her feet together, “socks, check.”

Noting the discomfort of the jeans, “Pants, check.”

She could feel the leather belt cutting into her side. Her pants wouldn’t leave her thin frame so easily this time.

“Two blouses, check.”

It was cold out and she’d hope it would be enough to keep her warm. Tonight she would be brave. Tonight she won’t lay in fear, wondering if he would get her. She would run! Out into the night if she had to. She’d keep company with the lightning and the rain. She wasn’t afraid of getting wet. Water dried up after a while. Some pain could last forever.

The great oak cast an eerie shadow across her room. Something was lurking in the moonlight.

“Who’s there?” Clara croaked. Her voice held hostage by fear.

The floor creaked again,but this time it was frighteningly close. Too close. A bone shattering chill crept into her body as the room door flew open. It came thumping over to her. It’s steps were quick.

Clara sat up quickly, pulling her knees to her chest.

“Go away!” She yelled.

Her heart raced toward a finish line nowhere in sight. It hopped up onto her bed.

Suddenly she began to breathe again.

“You silly girl, Roxy! You frightened me.” she said, relieved.

The big dog licked the girls face as if to comfort her. To reassure her that everything would be okay.

“Get in. Come on.” Clara beckoned the dog, throwing the covers aside.

All snuggled up to her golden retriever, she was certain no monster could get her now.

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