#WhiHalloweenWriting

~ Darkness Consumes Me

"What the hell?"

Nyalima had awoken to the sound of forceful, boisterous knocking being carried into her highly sensitive ears.

She groaned in frustration as she attempted to drown out the incredibly irritating sound by burying her head under her pillow.

The poorly rested young adult had been having a terrible weekend!

On Friday, she accidentally deleted all of her pre-recordings of her favourite show, Insecure. On Saturday, her younger brother Gazima had accidentally spilled coffee on her only white cashmere sweater. Last but certainly not least, on Sunday, her best friend Jidenna Makena played a prank on her, which nearly resulted in her death. Seriously! He could have given her an actual heart attack.

As a result of all of that, she decided that she wasn't going to get up. Gazi loved to say that his older sister had chronic laziness, so she was going to just lay in her bed just to spite him.

To her utter dismay, both her mother and her overly active brother hadn't responded to the obnoxious reminder that they still had visitors, even in the middle of nowhere.

On their website, the Real-estate agents called Kitambo Gardens a forested sanctuary. Nyali preferred to call it an aggravatingly extensive separation from civilisation and overwhelmingly ominous when nighttime fell.

She groaned again and closed her eyes as she waited for the unwanted visitor to realise that they were not welcome.

After five minutes, the knocking finally came to an abrupt halt.

Chronic Laziness prevails again. Problem solved!

Within no time Nyali's eyelids began to grow weighty and only a few minutes later, she had drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

~~~

Barely twenty minutes later, Nyali's body had shot up with a start, her pillow dropping to the ground beside her bed.

She groaned as the sound of the knocking became more prominent.

Once again, she waited, and just like the first time, no one responded!

Such behaviour from the rest of her family unit was uncharacteristic. They wouldn't purposely ignore someone the way same way Nyali would. It was a trait she believed she had taken on from her late father, he wasn't a people person.

She bit her lip as she tried not to think about her dad. Fortunately and unfortunately for her, she managed to bring thoughts of her dad to an abrupt halt. But, that left her worrying about her mother and her brother.

What if something happened? What if mum fell off her bed and hit her head on the side table? Oh God! What if Gazi had an episode in his room? What if he had a fit and swallowed his tongue? What if they are both dead?

Her heart nearly froze when she considered all of the possibilities.

Not wasting any time, Nyali hastily reached for her phone and pulled it towards her.

A flash of white light immediately blinded her, causing her to shut her eyes and drop the phone on her face.

"Ouch!" She screamed as she rubbed her face furiously and made a move to pick her phone up.

Why does that always happen to me?

Now with severe caution, she briefly glanced at the time on her phone with her eyes slightly squinted.

Her heart began to drum faster in her chest.

There was nothing she could do to put a stop to the different scenarios popping into her mind and it made sense when no scene had a happy ending. Nyali had always been more of a pessimist than an optimist.

There is no way someone is here at this time.

Sometimes, her phone would randomly reset, it couldn't be fully trusted when it came to an accurate representation of the time, so she put it back on the table.

To ensure it was the correct time, she decided to check her digital watch and her wall clock. Unfortunately for her, it was.

First question. Why hasn't anyone answered the door? Second question. Who is at my house at this late hour? Third and final question. What does he, she or it, want?

So many other questions ran through her mind faster than Mayweather ran from Pacquiao during their match and that made her fail to notice the eerie silence that had fallen upon her home.

The knocking had ceased again, but this time, Nyali wasn't sure the whoever was outside had actually left the premises.

A situation like this was the exact reason she suggested that they got a guard and a guard-dog.

Living out in the countryside, away from civilisation wasn't easy, and a man or woman with a Bull Dog or whatever, would have sufficed. But, no!

Her stupid little brother was all like, "stop being so paranoid!"

A little caution has never killed anyone! But, a potential trespasser definitely could.

What if whatever is looming outside is the reason no one is being responsive? What if it killed my family? What if I'm next?

Nyali groaned at her the gruesomeness of her thoughts and decided that the only way to put her wondering mind at ease was to ensure her mother and brothers wellbeing.

She reluctantly yanked the blanket that clung to her petite body like a second skin and haphazardly cast it aside. It was still so warm in her bed that it took her a minute to finally push herself up.

As she felt the chilled air surrounding her, she regretted her decision to wear a nightdress and briefly regretted her decision to leave her room. But, spurring her on was the need to see her mother and brother safe and sound or she'd spend the whole night worrying.

As expected, Nyali's body wasn't fully awake yet.

With every shaky step, she stumbled over herself and it didn't help that she was probably the clumsiest human being ever to grace the earth, either.

When she finally got to her mother's bedroom without falling flat on her face, she released a sigh of relief. If she had fallen over, she wasn't sure she would have gotten back up. The poor woman was exhausted, but the sooner she got done checking on them, the sooner she could get back to bed.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed a note stuck to the door handle.

"Gazi has had a seizure! We're at the hospital. Don't worry sweetie, it wasn't severe or anything. I just want to get him checked out. Check the fridge for some food, if you're hungry—Love Mother."

As the words her mother wrote begun to sink in, her mouth went dry, and her chest constricted, making breathing difficult.

Yes, her mother had told her not to worry, but that did little to subdue her inner scenario monster. He was having a field week with Nyali. Honestly, she felt as though she was being forced to watch a horror movie starring her family that only she had access to.

She shook her head and tried to make sense of the situation, but she couldn't.

Her mother never left notes regarding Gazi's seizures! She always woke Nyali up, whether or not the seizure was serious. So, why didn't she wake her up this time?

What if something happens to him? I need to say goodbye if something goes wrong. Okay, wow Nyali! Don't think like that. Nothing is going to happen! He's in good hands. The doctors will take care of him!

And as the note said, it wasn't severe, she reminded herself to avoid having a panic attack.

Now is not the time to panic.

Seeing as she was still a little tired, she slowly shuffled to the living room using the walls to steady her jerky and unstable movement. Nyali thought about continuing her reading of Dagoretti Corner by Ngwatilo Mawiyoo until she fell asleep but decided instead on watching something.

She plucked the remote control from her coffee table and turned on her television.

With little enthusiasm, she commenced a lazy flick through the channels but at three o'clock in the morning there wasn't that much available.

After what went down with Jidenna yesterday afternoon, and just now learning that her brother was in the hospital, Nyali believed that she deserved a moment of peace. So, she closed her eyes, let her head fall back against the soft, black leather couch and she enjoyed the way the room's earthy tones managed to soothe her troubled mind.

~~~

Thirty minutes later, the unexpected sound of a knock on the door startled her, making her body jolt awake. She stretched her neck, turned around to glance at the door and sighed.

This again?

When the knocking began on the windows around the living room, out of sheer fear, her eyes started watering.

"Who's there?"

She cleared her throat and repeated the phrase in a more confident tone of voice.

The lack of an answer knocked the air out of her lungs, and she panicked. The same thing happened to her yesterday afternoon when Jidenna tried to scare her to death for his entertainment, this time she was at least ninety percent sure it wasn't her borderline psychopathic best friend.

"I'm not kidding around, I will phone the police right now, and you'll be very sorry."

Hopefully, that would persuade the offender to back off and leave the house alone.

Silence ensued after she had made the comment about the police.

That could mean two things. The creep could be considering leaving, or that he, she or it, was monumentally pissed off by the fact that she had the audacity to suggest involving the law.

A chill went up her spine; she believed it was the later.

"Can't you take a joke, Nyali? I told you that you were paranoid! Sometimes, I seriously think you should be on medication."

Nyali knew that voice; it belonged to the same person who had nearly killed her yesterday evening, Jidenna.

"Nyali? Are you still alive?"

At the thought that she wasn't going to be murdered, a sigh of relief escaped her parted lips. However, the relief was short-lived. She felt as though she was being baptised in a pool of anger, and her blood began to boil.

"Jidenna?" She asked, even though she knew that it was him.

"Yes, it is I, your night in shining armour."

Her fingers tightened into a small fist.

"Are you fucking kidding me, dude? I will cut off your balls, and if you're still alive, I'll tie you to a chair and stuff them down your throat." Her voice sounded strange, harsh and guttural. Her voice possessed more aggression than it ever had before. Not to mention the fact that she had sworn, she never swore. Ever.

"Ooh, swear words? Badass! You're feisty when you're angry. I kind of like it. It's sexy. To be honest, you are turning me on."

She could feel her face starting to flush from embarrassment. "Jidenna Makena, you have a girlfriend. Act like it!"

"I'm just kidding, jeez! Can you let me in now? It's cold outside." He said in a singsong voice that was way past off key.

Nyali laughed and then clapped a hand over her mouth. She was supposed to be angry with him.

"Firstly, your attempt at singing was laughably off key. Secondly, you deserve to freeze for being a jerk."

"There is no need to be so mean to me!" Jidenna yelled, feigning hurt, which irritated her. "Come on Nyali, what's with the cold shoulder?"

She refused to respond to his idiotic question. Apparently, he was trying to make her angry enough to swear again. "What are you doing here?" She asked, instead of cursing him out.

"I wanted to ensure you were alright." His matter-of-fact tone of voice only made her blood boil more. She had never been so angry with someone in her entire life.

Nyali rolled her eyes. "Oh, I see! You said to yourself, to ensure my best friend is okay; I'll try to scare her again? That makes so much sense. You're a genius," she said in a dry, sarcastic tone. "There's this space-age device commonly referred to as a phone, Jidenna. You could have just called me!"

"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, Nyali."

"I'm a hundred and thirty pounds of chocolate skin and fragile bones. Sarcasm is my only defence," Nyali shot back.

Jidenna laughed, and that made her smile despite her failed attempts to remain frosty. "I don't think you're fragile. You're a very strong when you need to be!" He declared.

Nyali folded her arms across her chest. "You're good at that!"

Nyali could see right through his attempt to change the subject. He was her best friend after all.

"Good at what? I'm afraid you're going to have to elaborate. I'm good at a lot of things."

She didn't respond when he bragged about himself, besides she couldn't deny what she considered a fact. "You're good at changing the subject! Why didn't you just call?"

"Apparently, not good enough," he groaned in frustration. " I had to see your face; you know to make sure that you were okay with my own eyes. Look, I am sorry about what happened yesterday afternoon and what I did tonight. I just can't think straight when it comes to you."

"What? What do mean you can't think straight?"

Jidenna took a huge lung cleansing breath. "Nothing! I don't mean anything. Look, my goal here is to let you know that I'm sorry. Please, just open the door. At least just let me see you and then, I'll go. Please."

Every time Jidenna said the word sorry, Nyali's resolve melted like ice cream on a sweltering hot day in Dubai.

She didn't know what it was about her best friend, but she couldn't be angry with him for more than five minutes.

She heaved a heavy sigh. "You should have just called. You know how paranoid I am, at least then I wouldn't think you were an escaped convict trying to kill me or something." When he didn't give her the reaction she expected, she laughed. "Can't you take a joke, Jidenna?"

He chuckled uneasily. "Of course I can."

Nyali cocked an eyebrow up. "You're weird."

"That's part of my charm! Seriously though, Nyalima please let me in. The cold is honestly getting into my bones."

"Yesterday you said you'd never use my full name, whether or not we were still best friends. What's changed?" She joked.

"The fact that I might die from frostbite. Just open the door." He demanded in a throaty tone that almost sounded like a growl; it startled her.

Someone's got a little bit of a temper; she thought as she moved towards the door.

"Cause baby it's still cold outside," he sang.

"Better, but you're still off key," she informed him. "You may be good at a lot of things, but singing is not one of them. The world just doesn't have enough hearing aids to go around." She laughed heartily.

"Ha-ha, you're hilarious! Have you ever considered being a comedian?" He said in a sarcastic tone.

Nyali giggled. "Someone told me that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit."

"Whatever," he scoffed.

"You know that joke was funny, don't hate," she retorted as she slowly opened the door.

The full moon shone up high in the fluffy grey clouds, and that created an eerie ambiance that made her shiver.

The cold breeze surrounded her body, making her shiver as she for her best friend.

The long oak trees casted shadows over the vast yard, and that made her feel extremely uneasy.

Someone or something could be hiding in the shadows, waiting to claim the next victim.

_Me! Oh, my gosh! I hate being outside at night and Jidenna knows that. Why is he playing these games with me? _

"Jidenna?"

I swear, if he's hiding in the shadows so he can jump out and scare me, I will hurt him!

To some girls having their best friends being scare them might be cute, but for any reasonable person like me it was not only creepy, it was scary and unacceptable.

Upon hearing a twig break close by, her heartbeat picked up speed.

"Seriously Jidenna, this isn't funny! I will never forgive you if you're messing with me again."

The grass in garden had yet to be cut. It was long and green, hissing with crickets and spattered with blood red poppies.

Her chest tightened when she heard the heavy tread of boots on the gravel drive. Nyali could hear her breathing get louder when she heard the sound of sloshing gravel again; it was closer this time.

"J-Jidenna is that you?" She moved off the porch and scuffed towards the garden gate, making sure to not to go too far.

"Big mistake!" The voice of doom whispered in her mind, catching her off guard. "This is the end of the road for you!" It said, in its eerie, cold tone making her shiver. "You are going to die today, Nyalima Ganizani," it said before she heard the sound of her best friend's voice calling her name.

A sigh of relief escaped her parted lips.

Thank God he's okay.

She still felt uncomfortable with the whole situation, so she waited near the gate for him to call her again.

"Over here, Nyalima." Her heart skipped a beat when he called a third time. His voice seemed to be raspier. "Nyalima, come and play." A laugh followed his strange demand. "My apologies my fair lady, you prefer to be called Nyali, don't you? Nyali, come and play."

When she made no attempt to go and play, Jidenna repeated himself, "I said, come and play!" He growled, his voice emanated from his chest.

Without wasting any time, or asking any questions, she made a dash for the porch.

Adrenaline pumped through her blood as she quickly climbed the stairs and jumped into the house, slamming the door closed behind her.

Just as Nyali attempted to lock the door, it was kicked open with a force that made her stumble backward clumsily. She struggled to stop herself from falling by flailing her arms and grabbing on to the leather coach.

Her throat went dry when she met the eyes of her assailant. She wasn't looking into Jidenna's serene taupe eyes! No, Nyali was standing face-to-face with the local convict she wrote an award-winning psychology report on. He called himself Scythe because that was his weapon of choice.

Nyali's breathing quickened the longer she stared at the convicted killer in her living room.

His long wretch platinum blonde hair was dripping wet; his oily wrinkly white skin was dirty, and his timber wolf grey eyes were icy and emotionless as they bore into her russet ones.

Her heart thumped away in her chest, her body shook, and her terror filled eyes were as wide as they could stretch.

She swallowed thickly when he took a small step towards her. There was a bitter taste in the back of her mouth and when she tried to breathe, her breath was coming out in ragged gasps.

She didn't know what to do and could barely think over the rising tide of cold fear. The thing that terrified her most was the fact that he was covered in blood from head to toe. The light from the television shown, it illuminated the scarlet stains that covered his orange overalls. Nyali was sure that he had killed quite a few people to escape from Prison and that made her feel faint.

To make matters even more unbearable, he smelled like he needed a bath four months ago. It was truly vile, and it triggered her gag reflex.

As she watched him pull a knife from the back pocket of his jeans, her throat constricted.

Blood was pumping, and she could hear it pounding in her ears. Every muscle in her body screamed run, but she remained frozen. It was almost as though someone had stuck her feet to the wooden floors with nails of terror.

"Please don't hurt me," she begged.

Scythe responded by sauntering closer with a sick smile on his old wrinkly face.

With every step, the smell got worse, and her fear heightened. Now, her body was shaking like a leaf in a full-blown hurricane.

"Any last words, Nyali sweetheart?"

"Please! Don't hurt me!" She wanted to be strong and stand her ground, but she also didn't want to die. Not today, not like this! "Please! Please don't do this to me."

Her eyes scanned his every move as he got up close to her. He pressed the side of his knife on her face.

"Too bad I don't have my Scythe!"

"Please don't," she gasped when he traced patterns on her face with the sharpest edge.

"Beautiful," he muttered as he rubbed the knife against her lips.

Her mind refused to register his words. She was too busy concentrating on holding her breath and avoiding shaking.

"I could consider leaving you alone. The thing is you'd have to give me something in return."

"Anything!" She noticed what he was hinting at when he used his knife to trace patterns on her collarbone. She suddenly became aware of how short her nightdress was and how close his body was getting.

"Money, and a car? Done! There's no gas, but an auto shop that sells some a few kilometres down the creek. And, of course, I won't tell anyone I saw you." She decided on pretending that she didn't get his hint.

He better be sure the minute all the policemen and all the FBI agents in the freaking country will hunt him down the moment he leaves.

"I want you," he strolled towards the window overlooking the balcony. "I've got a thing for black girls."

She almost never cried, but his words made tears roll down her cheeks. "Please no," she begged. "Please!"

"You have a choice; it's either you give me what I'm asking for, and live. Or I forcefully take it, and you die. Choose!" He ordered.

She chose the third option, which was to run.

While he was looking outside, with his back was towards her, she ripped those metaphorical nails out of her feet and sprinted to her bedroom.

Wasting no time, she closed the door and locked it.

"I like games! Are we playing hide and seek?"

She ignored him, grabbed her phone from the side table and hid inside her closet.

"Answer me, Nyalima!" When she didn't answer him, she heard the sound of glasses smashing. "Answer me damn it," he demanded in a guttural tone that sent shivers down her spine. "Marco," he called out, waiting for a response. "You're supposed to say Polo. You're not good at this game baby!"

"I warned you about the door!" The voice of doom taunted her. "Your mother and Gazi will find your lifeless body in a pool of your blood!"

If an innocent bystander saw her sitting in her closet like this, they might mistake her for a child with phenomena and a neglectful family.

"If that's the way you want to play the game, that's fine with me. I'll rape you, and then, I'll kill you. You made your choice!"

Tears continued to roll down her face freely, and she to bite her lip to stop herself from wailing like a banshee.

In a moment of raw panic, she did the only thing she could think of doing, and that was to dial the emergency line.

Thoughts of her fleeting friend filled her mind. He left her a lot; his name was Hope. He filled her entire body as she waited for an answer.

You've got to be kidding.

The call didn't go through. It cut every time she redialed the number; clearly she was a descendant of bad luck Brian.

Another option popped into her mind: her mother. If Nyali couldn't get through to the police, her mother could do it on her behalf.

She took a deep breath, pressed speed-dial number one and waited.

Her mother picked up after the third ring, "Nyali is there something wrong? I left a note on my door in case you woke up before we got back!"

"Something is wrong," she managed to choke out between sobs.

"Remember what I told you, take a deep breath and speak slowly. You have all the time in the world."

That was what she didn't know; her daughter didn't have much time. In a matter of minutes, she could die.

Nyali sucked in the chilled air. "This is going to sound far-fetched, but I'm just going to go for it. Do you remember the psychology report I wrote on Scythe?"

"Of course," she said. "What about it?"

"He's escaped from prison!" Nyali declared. "He's trying to kill me, mum. Well, rape me and then kill me; his words not mine."

When the words came out of her mouth, she couldn't believe them herself. How did she expect her mother to believe her? It was just like the story of the little boy cries wolf. It wasn't as though Nyali told tales or anything, but this just seemed a bit out there. Too bad she was telling the truth about this. Hopefully, her mother would see that.

"We shouldn't have left you!"

She believes me! Thank God!

"Call the police," she whispered.

"Why are trying to steal attention from your brother?" There was unmistakable venom in her mother's voice that made Nyali instantly started tearing up again.

"Excuse me?"

"Why do you always do this? Your brother is sick, and all you care about is getting attention. You're such a brat!" Her had never spoken to Nyali like this before and it made her simultaneously angry and sad.

"Why don't you think about someone other than yourself for a change?"

Nyali had spoken too soon and counted her chickens before they had hatched.

"Such a spoiled, ungrateful, little brat you are!"

Hearing her mother talk about her like that made her angry enough to forget that there was a psychopath attempting to end her short life in the most aggressive way she could ever imagine. She forgot that she was in hiding, and she yelled at her so-called mother.

"You've always loved Gazi more than me, and I guess you always will. Luckily for you, I'm going to be dead when you come home. If I'm lucky, I'll be with dad in heaven, and we can watch over you together!"

Nyali ended the call and allowed the phone to drop to the floor. She heard her bedroom window shatter, and she knew that there was nowhere to run or hide.

The enemy pulled the closet open. He grinned at her and said, "I win! Game over, beautiful."

Nyali didn't see him pull out a knife, but she felt a sting emanating from her left thigh.

She managed to suppress a scream by biting her lip savagely.

"Just scream for me." His lips pulled into an arrogant smirk when he recognised her struggle. He wasted no time putting more pressure on the knife, forcing it to dig further into her leg.

She could only watch as the silver blade carved its way inside her leg, digger deeper as a scarlet blush began to spread on the inside of her nightdress.

Nyali was extremely clumsy, and that meant she had experienced a fair amount of pain in her short life. No amount of suffering could have ever prepared her body for this kind of physical pain.

When Scythe twisted the knife back and forth, she couldn't fight anymore!

A strangled scream cut through the air.

"I knew you would be loud darling, well done! Your kind always is!"

He grabbed her mahogany coloured hair and dragged her into the living room leaving a scarlet trail behind her.

"Any last words, beautiful?"

"Don't do this! Please." She was going to beg if she had to. Screw being powerful, the blade stung more than she thought it would. She wanted to stay alive. "I-I'll do whatever you ask."

"Of course you will. A corpse doesn't have free will!" He laughed manically at his sick joke as he thrust the knife into her other thigh.

The metal sliced through her skin with little effort and dug straight in.

Instantly, she cried out in pain and felt the effect of the knife. A searing burn flared up from the thigh, consuming her in torment and making her mind go blank.

Scythe toyed with the knife as he pushed it further into her flesh with little remorse shown in his blank timber wolf grey eyes.

Nyali began to scream as her nerve endings sizzled from the inside out.

The first cut is the deepest you say? Well, Scythe clearly hasn't stabbed them! Will I make it out of this alive?

Another loud, ear-shattering scream soared through the air as she struggled to move away from her tormentor, but he pinned her down by pressing his dirty, muddied boot on her arm.

Pain nerves had risen to a new level when the evil man jerked the knife in a bit further. Her vision blurred again as tears lined her eyes.

"Stop," she whispered. "Don't kill me!"

He ignored her begging. "You have an exquisite face, so I'm not going to ruin that."

What a sick bastard.

"I don't want to kill you. You're charming, more so than all the others I've had. It would be such a waste to kill you." Coming from him, it sounded more like an insult. "Unfortunately, you said no!" He suddenly yanked the blade out, smiling when Nyali groaned in pain. "I don't do no." He ripped her blouse open, revealing her black lace bra and chuckled manically.

She would have tried to cover herself, but she was too busy writhing in pain.

He taped the knife on her chest and traced light patterns. "I really wish I had my Scythe!" He sighed. "Maybe next time, Nyali?"

He knew very well after this there will be no chance for next time. "This is going to hurt you a lot more than it will hurt me," he whispered in her ear sending chills down her spine. "Are you ready to die?"

She spat at his face as one last act of defiance. She was going to die, so why the hell not?

"I'll take that as a yes."

Just as he was about to plunge the knife into her heart, Nyali heard something loud in the distance. She knew this would sound crazy, but it was almost like her mother's voice. It sounded as though she was shouting something. That couldn't be right because her mother was at the hospital with Gazi.

"Wake up, sweetheart." The voice said again. "Listen to me Nyali, wake up!"

Wake up?

Nyali tried to open her eyes, and she still saw Scythe towering over her. But, something about him seemed different.

He was almost like a shadow of his former evil self. The previously menacing figure had started to fade away right before her eyes.

"Wake up!" Nyali heard the voice repeat more clearly now.

As soon as Scythe's entire body was gone her body shot up with a start; she was drenched in sweat and crying. Her mother was sitting next to her in a chair, running her hands though her curly hair.

"Mother?" Her voice broke as she hugged her. "He was trying to kill me."

"It was only a nightmare sweetheart." She rubbed her daughter's back as she sobbed in her arms. "Why don't you eat something?" She handed her a tall glass of warm milk and Oreo cookies.

Nyali practically inhaled the cookies, they were her favourite. "What time is it?"

Her mother glanced at the watch on her petite hand, "Nine thirty."

I've been asleep for five hours. That entire nightmare took place over the span of five hours? Holy shiii... Talking mushrooms.

"Do I still have to go to school," Nyali asked, hoping something good could come out of this mess. She knew that Jidenna was going to skip the first day of school as usual, so why not try her luck.

Knowing her mother as well as she did, she knew the answer already. It was most likely leaning towards a solid no. Still, it didn't hurt to try.

"No, if you feel like you want to rest you can." Nyali's eyes widened in surprise. "Listen, I thought I almost lost you! You were screaming, and thrashing. I just don't think you'll manage to sleep very well tonight," her mother murmured. "Do you want to talk about it? Your nightmare I mean?"

"No, thank you! Maybe later?" Nyali had no intention of relieving the details of that nightmare tonight and she hoped her mother would honour her wishes.

"Later it is. Go back to sleep, if you can!" She said as she began to stand up.

Her mother must have noticed the terrified reaction lining her daughter's face because she quickly sat back down on the chair and grabbed Nyali's hand. "I'll be right here, just go to sleep."

Nyali nodded and allowed the intricate movements of her waterbed rock her back to sleep. Before she knew it, her eyes began to close slowly. Now, she felt a lot safer with her mother in the room. Soon enough darkness consumed her.