There was a soft breeze that caused chimes to tinkle, just enough to be audible. Much louder were the dogs barking through the night at nothing but shadows and slight sounds. These and other noises drifted through the pale light of the moon. It wasn’t quite enough light to see by, yet just enough to be present. Everything was muted, as though the world waited expectantly on something to break the stillness.
The child’s scream could be heard over the nighttime sounds, drowning out the chimes and causing the dogs to keen softly. His parents were quick to rush into the room. They looked haggard. There had been too many of these outbursts with no resolution in sight. Something was wrong and both were powerless to stop their son’s pain.
There was no definable reason for the terror. Nothing was apparent to the physicians, psychologists, or psychiatrists. He was a well-adjusted child, but something was locked into his mind preventing sleep from being undisturbed.
They talked quietly to him, trying to project a calming influence on the tormented child. This time took a while until he smiled weakly and professed to feeling better. None noticed the commotion from under the bed. It was raucous with violence as a suggestion. What was happening lay beyond their ability to perceive.
As the parents were preparing to return to bed, a small figured was hurled from beneath the opposite side of the bed. Although the sound of it’s impact against the wall was not apparent to their ears, all three looked in that direction. There must have been a sound outside, all agreed, but none could put a source to the sensation.
The figure slowly began to reach a kneeling position, gasping for breath. It was in fact a she, partly suggested by her clothes and a subtly hint across the face. She pushed her scarf back from her eyes, two glittering stones reflecting the night light nearby. A strangled cough passed her lips before she spat out a wad of fluff, never once taking her eyes from the bed. A rasping, grating noise drifted out, mocking her failure. She promised to end that malicious sound, to drive it away.
Her name is Marley, and she fights nightmares.