Justin Lo


The curtains were hanging there, completely motionless, their velvet texture barely evident in the exceedingly dim light.  A single four-watt nightlight in the back corner, shielded by a dirty, yellowing plastic cover, and the small red dot of the security system: those were the only lights on in the house.


I was careful to walk only on my tippie-toes so that Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t wake up.  Only a few more steps and I would make it to the bathroom.


I was in and out in the blink of an eye.  Then I stood there in the doorframe of the bathroom, my wet fingers still touching the switch I had just shut off.  My eyes were discombobulated, and I stood there in a daze.  I shook my head to try to get those spots to go away.  And then, out of the fuzz, I realized I was staring at the right window.  It was just an ordinary window; I knew that it overlooked the back garden where we grew the tomatoes.


The glass looked particularly cold and slightly fogged up, and I felt a strange urge to walk towards it.  I took one quiet step, then another, then I suddenly tripped on a small volleyball I had left on the floor, sending me off-balance straight up against that window.  My nose was hovering just hairs above the glass surface.  I could feel it drawing away my heat; the window was fogging up with my breath.


Startled, I took a step back and then shivered, goosebumps starting on my lower arms and then spreading like a wash over me until it reached my feet.  In that window, I saw it.


Four cold, disembodied eyes just outside, so faint one would barely make them out.  But staring, staring without blinking.  Staring at me.  Threatening to rip off my clothes, threatening to snap at my throat and slit it with the shining disks of their irises.


Terrified, I tore myself away from the window and ran, not looking back to see if the eyes were following me or not.  I just bolted down the hallway and threw myself onto my bed, under the covers.  Mommy woke up and walked over to my room to find me huddled under the blanket.  But as I heard the light switch flick on, I suddenly felt another shiver.  I felt another presence besides my mother.  Something far colder coming from the direction of the window again, this time, my room window.


Don’t tell her about this.


I breathed heavily and Mommy yanked the covers from over me.  For a moment, in her place, I saw an apparition, a strange grimy, writhing creature.  I screamed.


And then everything was back to normal.  I told her that I had had a nightmare.  It was the first lie that I told to my mom.  She comforted me, and after she left, I shut my eyes tightly, leaned forward, and shut the curtains on my room window.  Taking a deep breath, I lay down on my bed and fell asleep.