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The Tiger

‘The Icy Darkness’

There it was again. Probably just the cat. He liked to run around at night. I looked over at the clock on my night table. The hands on its circular face pointed to 12:26. If I couldn’t get some solid sleep, then tomorrow wasn’t going to be a good day. I rolled over, hoping that shifting positions would make it easier to drift off.
I jumped. It had sounded like the noise had come from just outside in the hallway. That was way too heavy for a cat, more like someone smashing the wall with the heel of their hand. I flipped back over and sat up, facing the door. I leaned forward a little, straining to see the door. It was cracked. I always closed the door before I went to sleep.
Right as I turned away, I thought I saw something dart past outside my door. Goosebumps spread over my arms. My scalp prickled. The door shifted slightly, moving as a slinky shape slithered into the room. I was paralyzed with fear, sitting stock-still upright on the bed. Something light hopped up onto the blanket at foot of my bed. I then realized that the dark shape was my cat, Bagheera. I laughed to myself, amused that I was so afraid of my cuddly pet.
I beckoned my hand at her, trying to coax her over to curl up in the warm spot on my lap. However, uncharacteristically, she remained perched at the foot of my bed. I began to try again to get Bagheera to come over, but all of a sudden she shot up and puffed her fur. She hissed loudly before sprinting to the ground and out the door. I sat there confused. Bagheera never hissed at me like that.
It was then that I felt the touch of icy fingers lightly running down my spine. I froze. There was a soft creaking sound, like a weight being lifted off old floorboards. Slowly, I turned, half-expecting to see something waiting there. There was only my headboard. I shook my head, disappointed with myself for being scared of absolutely nothing. I turned back around and glanced at my clock to see how much time I had left to sleep. 12:26.
I did a double take. The second hand wasn’t moving. Maybe it was stuck? I reached to grab the clock and gently shook it, hoping to dislodge the tiny metal arm. Immediately upon contact with the metal casing, I felt its freezing touch. It felt like clock had been stored in a refrigerator!
I nearly dropped the clock from shock, surprised at its temperature. Why was it so cold? It was then that I felt the temperature in the room drop, so much so that my breathing produced a white cloud in front of me. I knew that it was winter, but there was no way the room could have cooled that fast. I heard the slow creaking sound again that I had heard earlier accompanied with the soft shuffling of thick fabric being moved.
I flicked my eyes upward to see the spot on the blanket where Bagheera had been sitting bunched up, like an invisible hand was grabbing it. Slowly and almost painfully, the blanket was pulled over the end of the bed, falling softly to the floor. I sat looking at where it had fallen off, my heart in my throat. Pale white fingers, barely visible in the dark, inched their way up from the floor as I watched, paralyzed.

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