You know when there’s a power cut, and it’s pitch black, outside and in? You’re freezing because you forgot to shut the window before you went to bed, and memories come flooding back to you of a similar incident when you were about six.
But then you were too terrified to get out of bed and do anything about it because you thought there was a skeleton hiding underneath, waiting to grab your ankles with its ice cold fingers and drag you into the dark depths below as soon as your feet touch the floor.
The fears of your younger self suddenly fill you again. The dark suddenly seems suffocating, and you try to think of something else.
You think back to a story you were told about someone’s dogs who were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, and you worry about the fact that you’ve had your detector for almost a year past the expiry date and haven’t got round to getting a new one yet. You start thinking about canaries, and shudder.
A bloodcurdling scream outside your window makes you jump. It sounds like someone being murdered.
You creep over to the window and peer out, but of course, you can’t see a thing. Stories of banshees and serial killers run through your head. You run back and jump into bed, hiding under the blankets until you fall into a fitful sleep, ruled by nightmares, until finally you wake in the morning, drenched in sweat and terrified that the house is burning down.
You tumble out of bed, and stagger to your feet, reaching for you glass of water, only to realise it’s empty.
You cross to the window and look out, thinking of the crazy things your mind came up with during the night. You remember the screams, only to obviously a fox now, when the sun is shining.
You turn away and head to the bathroom, ready to step into the shower and wash the last traces of your nightmares away.