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Before Dawn – by Tyler
Nick sat up sharply, his eyes snapping open. Sweat soaked through his shirt, and his heart thundered in his chest.
He blinked several times in an attempt to calm himself. He had been dreaming… but try as he might, he could not remember it. The only remnant was the raw terror that still pounded through his veins.
Shaking his head, Nick threw off his fraying sheets and rolled out of bed. His leg hit his bedside table, shaking several metallic miniatures. What time is it? He thought sleepily. He glanced at the clock, which read “3:10.” What? Wh…? Why? It was much too early for him to get up. The moon was new, shrouding the world in shadows.
Nick stumbled to the door of his room, swatting at the light switch. It clicked, but nothing happened. Argh… power’s out. He did recall hearing a few strong drafts of wind the previous night.
He reached a hand blindly to the side, scrabbling for his flashlight. It clicked on, and cast a pale beam of light upon the floor.
Nick squinted and walked carefully out of his room. Shining the light before him, he thumped down the staircase and loafed into his small kitchen. Deciding that he should save the cold air in the refrigerator, he opened his cupboard and grabbed a blueberry muffin.
After collapsing onto his leather couch, he bit into the pastry. As he ate, the tired man wondered what he was going to do in the hours before work.
A dull knock on the door startled him.
Crinkling his forehead, he shone the flashlight at his watch. 3:15. What in the…? Nick pushed himself off the sofa and staggered to the door. Suspicion sizzling in his mind, he peered out the peephole.
A yellow streetlight illuminated his well-kept lawn and chain link fence. The asphalt beyond was clear… besides his, there were no other cars in sight. Could it be Polly? No… she went on vacation this week.
Scrunching his eyebrows together, Nick quietly turned the deadbolt. He twisted the brass doorknob and slowly swung the door open.
There was no one.
“Hello?” Nick called, against his better instincts. “Is somebody there?”
All was silent and dark.
Just to be sure, he stepped out onto his deck, scanning the area with the flashlight.
Shaking his head, the confused man swung his door shut. He mumbled to himself, turning around.
His flashlight cast a large circle of light against the wall on the other side of the room.
Wait… what…? He narrowed his eyes. In the center of the light was a dark figure, a shadow. Oh, it’s just my shadow… Something about that wasn’t right. He slowly moved the light to the left, until it no longer shone on the silhouette.
Nick moved it back.
The figure was gone.
A stabbing pain drove into his chest, and a sound like the wind blew into his ears. He dropped the flashlight, crying out and falling to the ground. Moaning, he blacked out.
Nick sat up sharply in his bed. He peered around with wide eyes. Sweat soaked through his shirt and his sheets.
He tried to think back to his dream… for some reason, he couldn’t remember it. All he knew was that it had been terrifying.
Nick blinked his bleary eyes and glanced at his clock. 3:10… hmph. Way too early…
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