Another blistering day had passed. The coolness of Aaron’s room would almost have been a refuge for him, if not for the stifling air of melancholy that clung to the walls. He lay stiffly in his bed, exhaustion seeping from his bones all throughout his body and mind. One more week and the bleak exam season would be over and done with, he mused. Then he could relax and enjoy his remaining few weeks at home before university started. For the moment, however, it seemed as if it was going to be another sleepless night. Another night of silence punctuated only by the jarring ticking of the clock on the wall, and his own disjointed thoughts. Another night.
His mind began to wander, as it so often did. Thoughts of the tiring day, of his family, of the vicious attack that had happened down the street. The scheming, conniving criminals had been observing the house for some time, waiting for the precise moment to strike- that’s what the police had said. How long had they watched for? Days? Weeks? Perhaps they were still watching. He heard that they would send children to do their dirty work. Children like Daisy.
Daisy, of course, hadn’t understood the gravity of what had occurred; jewellery and laptops didn’t hold as much value to a five-year-old as her beloved Mr Teddy did. She hadn’t been told the whole truth, though; only that bad people had taken things that didn’t belong to them. There was no sense in scaring her. Aaron envied her. He envied her innocence; how unaware she was of the dangers that lurked in every shadow. He envied her ability to sleep so soundly, as if resistant to all the evils contained within the world.
Aaron could sense a gaze upon him. Telling himself it was just his excited imagination, he rolled over, in an attempt to dissipate some of his uneasiness. It didn’t work. The unnerving sensation only worsened as the seconds ticked on mercilessly. It surrounded him, viscous- almost jelly like- oozing around him, as if it were some malicious wave trying to drown him; to steal the life out of him; to squeeze every last drop of security he felt in his own home, his own bed, and evaporate it away into nothingness.
Gulping dryly, Aaron chanced to glance up. It was a futile effort to regain some composure and control of his fragile nerves. He saw a narrow slice of moonlight peeking through his curtains, creating the distorted, exaggerated shadows of his bed, his desk, Mr Teddy. He faced the opposite direction. More shadows. His shelf, his wardrobe-
Aaron’s breath hitched in his throat. His heart pulsated ferociously in his ribcage, reverberating throughout his entire being. He lay frozen, pathetic, his previously frenzied brain now completely blank. He blinked. Once. Twice. Three times. The figure remained unchanged. It was a static, ominous presence. It was small; Daisy-sized.
“Daisy?” His voice trembled. The figure came towards him.
It was not Daisy.
Raum Inam is an artist.