The room is dark. Tom nestles closer to Kelly's soft body underneath the sheets. She breathes softly by his ear. Her chest rises against him as she breathes. His eyes are closed, not because he is tired, but simply because it is what one does when trying to sleep. It won't help of course, it never does. He hasn't slept for four days.
But that's not unusual.
There is a soft click, like an animal's nail on tile, followed by a scrape. It came from his right. Tom closes his eyes tightly and starts to caress Kelly's back with his left hand. She feels nice in his arms and he likes the feeling of her skin moving back and forth under his fingertips.
There is another sound, a small furry animal scraping against the wall, from under the desk. His hand pauses it’s stroking.
"You're not there," he says quietly. It sounds feeble though, more an assurance to him self than a statement of fact.
It had been a good night, well better than most. He forces his mind to ignore the sounds and tries to think about the movie they had seen earlier, when the sound comes again from only a few feet away.
His eyes refuse to stay open. They open slowly, he begins to scan the room for the source of the noises. The room is practically pitch black, but his eyes continue to seek out the source of the noise.
The large shape of his dresser looms at the foot of his bed. Over to the right his desk is pushed up against the wall. His eyes move over it, continuing to the open closet.
Hiding behind the door, Tom can just make out a light outline of a body about five feet up the edge of the door. He can only see it as a slightly darker blob in the general darkness, but its there. He can tell that it is watching him.
"Your not real, go away," he says, a little too loud.
Kelly stirs and lifts her head, "What's wrong, honey."
Failing to hide the panic in his voice, he hates her seeing him likes this, he replies, "Nothing baby, just go back to sleep."
Groaning slightly she says, "What time is it?" She notices that the alarm clock is not in its usual place.
"I'm not sure, I threw the clock off the bed stand a few hours ago." Looking over he can see the faint glow of the alarm clock. It is facing down into the carpet where it landed.
She sits up in the bed and says "Well, what time was it then?"
"Three or so," he says.
She gets up and out of the bed and heads toward the closet to get the clock. He sees her walking right up to where it is standing. He tries to cry out a warning but all that he can manage through his fear and shame is a garbled shout.
Kelly looks at him and he knows that she must be able to see the fear in his face, "What's wrong, honey?"
He cant help but flick his eyes toward the closet and pulls them back to her quickley.
"Just," he takes a long pause seeming to be searching for words. "Just stay in bed with me, keep me warm."
Rolling her eyes, she turns back for the clock and he sees the shape move closer towards her.
"No!" he cries out.
"What?" She is annoyed now, he can hear it in her voice.
He fights for words again and finally gives in to the part of himself that wants to look strong for her. "There's a Lurker in the closet."
Kelly turns quickly and looks into the closet. He hears her gasp slightly then sigh to herself as she shakes her head. "Baby, there is nothing there and you know it."
"I know, I know. It's just that it's a little difficult to convince yourself that something isn't real when it’s standing in plain view watching you," he says.
"Wait, you mean you actually saw one for once, not just one hiding behind a corner?" she asks.
He can hear an edge in her voice. She knows that he’s never actually seen it in detail. He never sees them really, just the edge or shape of them hiding.
"Well, no, but," he stammering and tries to force his mouth closed.
"I can't believe you’re afraid of something that you can't even really see. You have to see the irony of it all. You're afraid of your own hallucinations, but you only hallucinate little glimpses and edges of things," she says.
"Just because I can't see the whole thing doesn't mean I don't know what it looks like or it's any less frightening," he says.
"Yeah, yeah, their the size of a person, but they're all black, 'blacker than darkness',” with that her voice takes a plainly mocking tone, “and you can never see more than a glimpse because they hide behind things watching," she says.
"You don't have to be so mean about it," he says. "I can't help that I see them."
She moves to him and puts her arms around him, its comforting, "I know, I'm sorry, but you know that Dr. Jacob says that the more you think about it the worse you will be. You have to stop thinking about them and actually get some sleep."
"It's hard," he sighs. "I want to sleep, but I just don't feel tired. Then I start to think ‘what if they are real? What if my insomnia isn't creating them, but giving me the ability to see them?’"
"Tom, if you don't stop thinking like that you are never going to be cured, the more time you give them in your mind, the more power they are going to have over you. I don't want to have my boyfriend in a nut house."
"I know. I'm trying," he breaks off as he catches movement, this time a shape moving behind his desk.
Not even bothering to look she says, "God damnit, it’s fucking late, and I'm too tired for this. Just go back to sleep."
"You know what I mean. If you see anymore just ignore them."
"But . . . what if?"
"What if nothing. They are not real, and the more you think about it, the harder it's going to be to calm down."
He doesn’t reply, instead just lies back down and closes his eyes. She’s quite as she lays down and tries to cuddle, probably feels sorry for her harsh words. After a few minutes, she begins to drift off, but before she does, in a sleepy voice she says, "No matter what you think is happening, just refuse to believe it, it's not real."
Lying with his eyes closed, Tom is again feeling her sleep beside him. Telling himself that there is nothing to worry about, nothing to worry about, there is no such thing as a lurker. They can't be real. How could a monster remain undiscovered for so long.
What if though . . . he thinks.
No, he squashes the thought, no I will not think about it, he says to himself.
What if the only reason no one had heard of them is that everyone that sees them is believed to be mad.
A shallow sound like the intake of breath comes from the closet.
Nothing there, nothing there, he thinks.
Another noise, the nail click, comes from the dresser, followed by a soft shuffling of feet on the carpet.
Maybe they get thrown in nut houses, trying to warn people about the monsters in their homes, he thinks.
He keeps his eyes jammed shut, just repeating to himself nothing there, nothing there.
The sliding noise of a foot on the carpet comes again right next to his bed, an intake of breath from the foot of the bed, and then he feels it. A slight tremor in the bed, as if someone had bumped into it.
Not being able to help himself any longer he opens his eyes only to see five dark shapes looming over the bed.
He shuts his eyes quickly, puts his hands over his face and starts to say aloud "Not there, not there," growing louder and louder.
So loud that he barely hears Kelly say in a sleepy voice “Tom, what’s going on.”
He just continues with his litany trying to convince himself that none of it is real.