The rain pattered on the single-hung window, As I lay awake on my satin bed sheets; Sleep had no desire to stay, So I wait, observing Darkness.

The downpour roared as the storm grew heavier, Throwing more diversion towards peace; Temporary madness overwhelmed my emotions Resulting in aggravated moans produced From my chap lips.

“Sleep,” a voice whispered; Its warm dampness and rancid odor Struck my face like a bullet. Instantly, I jolted from my mattress, Engulfed in terror and sweat; “Whose voice chills my heart?” I asked the entity, Determined to discover its motive for Entering my home. The reply I receive is nothing more Than a deafening silence.

I relaxed back into my false slumber, Wary of the blackness around me; My chest pounded a frenzied opus, Its beat matched the tempo of the storm’s chaotic Monsoon. As quietness amplified, My pulse grew louder; Goosebumps tickled my spine; Vibrations, which originated from both Fear and the ice air, took over My arms and legs.

“Sleep,” a voice whispered; Have I gone mad? Am I asleep, constructing horrific Visuals for my brain to suffer through? No soul is before my eyes, Yet, its presence mocks me. “Reveal yourself!” I cried. “Torture me like a warrior and display Your disgusting face!”

“As you wish,” the tormenter states. I brace myself, ready to meet My foe.

“All we asked for was a simple favor, To make it easier on your spirit. Bear in mind that You have created a path that Avoids a swift, merciful demise.” At that second, my mind was dreadfully obsessed by The idea of a ‘we’.

Shadowy arms penetrated the fibers of the bed; One arm turned to two, Two turned to five, Five to ten, Ten to thirteen. The phenomenon grasped every Movable limb I possessed, Shackling me to the bed like a starved prisoner. I fought back in hopeless effort, Freedom kilometers away from possibility; Within me, fright ignited to a level which No human has ever experienced.

The shower thickened to a hurricane, Engraving broad cracks into the window’s glass; Earth began to sway and shake From rain’s intensity. The wind, once soft as cotton, now Howling a violent hymn to the world.

Men with flesh the color of shadows Faded onto the floorboards around me; Their colorless eyes focused on mine While they approached. “Stand back!” I shout. “Stand—,” Another hand crawls out and presses itself Against my mouth; The skin tastes of smoke, As does its smell.

There is no escape. There is no alternative. There is no choice but to accept my failure.

“Don’t give up,” a gentle, mysterious sound emits. “You can survive the odds.” My conscience created a doubt toward the request, Then trust overran doubt. I’ll never know why, but somehow I Believed in its promise. I wriggled, I struggled, I thrashed about with Herculean will; Suddenly, the vice enclosing my jaws Broke into fragments of stone. The men of shadows drew back in fear, Fainting away as they reversed.

No longer able to support the weather’s aggression, The pane shattered to shards, The framework splintered into oblivion. Water splashed a wicked tone as it Dove through the window sized opening.

In an attempt I forced so much that it Wired my teeth shut, And shed blood from my gums; I ripped several flesh-made cuffs to rock. The remaining gripped me tighter, Desperately holding me down. The adrenaline that coursed through me Barely managed to fracture their embrace. My left arm sprung loose, Then my right arm followed suit; Soon, my legs were liberated, signaling Total unbound control. The shadowmen gazed in disbelief; “How?” one uttered. “This isn’t possible. Not even the devil has such strength.” In unison, all of the shadowmen asked…

“What are you?”

I shot out of my bed in a fit of panic, Inhaling summer’s air with deep gasps. Was my suffering just a nightmare? I turned my attention to the right, and saw A mild drizzle patter on my unblemished windowpane.

Great relief washed over me. My head comfortably collided with pillows’ surface; Inscribed on the ceiling, a message appeared, Supplying me with joy.

“You are free.”