Brenda jolted awake, slipped on her robe and rushed through the house, up the stairs and into her daughter’s room.
The little girl lay motionless in the glow of her nightlight.That was odd, Brenda thought and then walked across the hall to her other daughter’s room, where she found another little girl asleep in the glow of another nightlight.
Brenda went back to bed.
“What was the matter?” Kyle asked.
“I don’t know.They were both asleep.”
“Did she really yell for me?’”
“Yeah.She really did.”
“That’s a first.They always want you.”
It was the same routine, except she reversed the order of the rooms.She got the same results.Both of the girls were sound asleep.She was in the hall, when she heard her daughter again.
“No!I want, Daddy.”
She went into the room the voice had come from and still found a sleeping little girl.She shook a little shoulder.
Kaily opened her eyes and looked confused.“What, Mommy?”
“Are you having a bad dream?”
Kaily thought for a few seconds and then said, “No.I was dreaming about swimming under water.I could breathe, like a fish.I want to go back to sleep now.”
She kissed her daughter and left the room.
She sat up.“You go this time.”
“She’ll just want you when I get there.”
“Then I’ll be waiting in the hall.”
Kyle rolled out of bed and led the way upstairs.He looked into the first room, moved down the hall and looked into the second.“Both sleeping.”
“This is weird.”
“Just my daddy!”
Kyle moved to the room it had come from.He looked in and looked out.“It just got weirder.She’s still asleep.”
“Just you this time,” Brenda said.
“All right, but this time, I’m waking them both up and seeing what they’re up to.”
Brenda watched his silhouette go.She might have turned on the lamp, but she hadn’t wanted him to see how hurt she was.She tried to tell herself they wanted protection, not comfort, which was why they were calling for him instead of her.
She heard his footsteps moving above.Then she saw the shadowy figure.It appeared in the open doorway.
Now she wanted to scream for him, but she couldn’t.The thing in the doorway had some kind of power over her.She got out of bed against her will.She was led through the house and quietly out the back door.She was led into the woods.Kyle must have talked to the girls for a while, because by the time she heard him shouting for her, his voice sounded very distant.
“Your husband is such a light sleeper,” the thing said in a dignified male voice.“I never would have gotten you past him.”
She wanted to ask what he was and what he planned for her.He must have had access to these questions in her mind.
He said, “I am a creature of the night, an incubus of sorts, and my powers only work on the opposite sex.The energy inside you, a loving mother, is very positive and very nourishing for me.”
He stopped her body from moving, then turned around and touched her.She felt her energy begin to drain immediately.
“I can drain as much as I want.I would have left you enough energy to call out, but it took you four times to get it right.It takes a lot of energy for me to keep a little girl in a nice dream while I borrow her vocal chords.Now you have to get lucky.There are many wolves in these woods, and they’ll sense that you’re helpless.Maybe your husband will get here first.Maybe the wolves will.”
He did as he said he would.He drained her to a point of paralysis.He then left her alone.
She could hear just fine.She heard Kyle’s voice again, but heard it fade off in the wrong direction.Then she heard the branches move and the panting of another creature of the night.
Bio: Joshua Scribner is the author of the novels Mantis Nights, The Coma Lights and Nescata.His fiction won both second and fifth place in the 2008 Whispering Spirits Flash Fiction contest.Up to date information on his work can be found at joshuascribner.com.Joshua currently lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.