Power Outage By D.I. Jolly
There’s something you don’t know about nightmares. Something terrifying, and true. Emily knew it, but still, she sat huddled in the corner with a candle, her only friend in the darkness.
“Hello?’ she said. ‘Who’s there?”
Her breath made the light flicker and despite her best efforts to stay strong, a few tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I’m… I’m not afraid of you.”
She said, hoping to sound confident. All around her the darkness pressed into her little bubble of candlelight, pushing at every flicker, patient enough to wait for the candle to die, but never willing to relax.
“I know… you know. Don’t think I don’t.”
She wanted to stand, to make herself look strong and brave, but her legs began to shake at the very thought of leaving the candlelight, and as if on cue a window in the darkness burst open letting in an ice-cold wind. Emily quickly cupped the small flame with her hands, blocking out most of the light but keeping just enough to be safe. Meanwhile, the wind whipped through the room, hissing and laughing through gaps in doorways and under cupboards. And then, distant at first but definite she heard a voice. It sounded strained, like a harsh whisper lost in a storm.
“And what do you think you know?”
Every word brought a shiver, an accusation, and another spit of venom.
“You don’t know anything.”
“I do, I do too know something.”
The wind and the darkness seemed to mix and whip through the room now together, making the flame dance and duck down, almost going out. But Emily crept in closer to protect it.
“You know nothing!”
Spat the wind and darkness, and then a sound like breathless laughter began to fill the room.
“I know the truth!”
Cried Emily into the wind, but her voice was quickly carried away as the laughter grew louder. Then all at once, it stopped and the darkness was still, and deadly silent. The room itself seemed to freeze and not even the flame dared move. Then the wind rushed at Emily and her little bubble of light, screaming so loud that her cry of fear was never heard. It hit the bubble and crashed like a wave on rocks, and Emily screamed, and this time it would have been heard if there was someone to listen.
“Then show me!’ Bellowed the wind and darkness. ‘show me what you think you know!”
Emily’s whole body began to shake with fright and from cold but her little jaw set, and with tears in her eyes she took her hands away from the flame and pushed herself to her feet. Shoulders back and chin forward she stared into the wind and darkness, even as the flame died beside her.
“I know that you’re just wind, and darkness, and that you can’t hurt me! And I know, I know that you’re afraid of me!”
The room suddenly burst into sound and life as the wind and the darkness started throwing around the chairs and the cups, and the tables and even the little candle now that the flame was gone. But none of it touched Emily.
“Who told you that? Who told you that!”
Screamed the wind and darkness as it rushed towards her and once again crashed like a wave, but this time it was on her inner light and not the light of the candle. And as it crashed, it broke and the sound of her scream burst through banishing the nightmare and leaving just Emily, sitting up in bed breathless, heart beating loud, and not a monster in sight dared come near her. Because there’s something you don’t know about nightmares, something terrifying and true, but Emily knows.