The moonlight plays across the floor, thick like butter on a velvety darkness that surrounds the room. I count the panes in the window through their shadow on the floor. There are six rows, there are four on each row, that makes twenty-four panes on the main frame of the window and above there is an arched portion which has seven, a central semicircle surrounded by six little pieces. The floor is cold on my bare feet, perhaps I should have thought of socks, but what kind of thing is that to do when you’ve come out of bed to investigate. Despite my innate curiosity, an involuntary shiver streaks down my body, starting at the top and working its way down to my aforementioned bare feet, which shuffle a bit on the floor.
The movement of my feet frightens me a bit, I need to make sure that it doesn’t become aware of my presence. One could only hope that it hasn’t noticed my meticulous efforts when getting out of bed to be not just silent but stealthy. I mentally envisioned myself stalking a tiger in the bush on safari, I would imagine in such a case being silent would be of utmost importance. I should ask Uncle Pooh Bear about such excursions in the morning, odd that the thought to do so had not passed my mind until now. Hearing his descriptions of the wilds of Africa over morning tea, his bushy morning mustache, not yet waxed, skirting precariously over the edge of the cup as he spastically dips his biscuit in the front of the glass while simultaneously recounting his voyage would be a welcome escape from this.
Wait. How long had it been where I had been thinking about that and not the task at hand? What if I lost it? Oh, it’s ever so hard to concentrate when you’re so tired. Perhaps I should not have stayed up so late by the fire reading. Uncle Pooh Bear had gone to sleep, as he is oft known to do in the study after a nice dinner. Tonight had been extra sumptuous, with the new guests, one would expect such a thing, especially with the added festivity of the holiday. Pooh had supplanted his usual after dinner tea with something one of the guests had brought in a strange metal container that he for some reason kept in his boot. What a rather odd place to keep a beverage, don’t you think? After such a long travel, the guests had gone to bed early and Pooh and I had continued our usual evening ritual in the parlour. Pooh reading over the latest news, and me tumbling and stumbling over the newest treasure I’d discovered—leather bound, smelling of age, and with the most beautiful pictures in.
The book spoke of a far away realm, which I was hopeful for on nights like these, where the only thing thicker than the chill and the gloomy fog is the moonlight, which drapes itself over everything it touches, groping into the darkness like it is searching for something… oh yes, I was searching for something. I paused, allowing my eyes to shift left and then right, hoping to catch within them a glimpse of the source of that strange noise that had so lifted me from my sleep in my bed—such a safe, warm, cozy bed—which I had left to discover… what, exactly? I wasn’t honestly sure what could have possibly made such a peculiar noise; just that it was no noise which I had ever heard. Come to think of it, I was not even sure where the noise had come from within the room. I had stepped forward from my bed no less than three and no more than five careful, plodding steps, and had been attempting to use the long solitary strand of light from the sole window as a beacon in an attempt to divine the source of the noise.
Yes, yes, that makes sense now. And so, I peered across the strand of heavy moonlight and into… the darkness. At first I thought that there were nothing there, for I could see nothing, but then it crossed my mind that perhaps that nothing was too perfect a nothing, the darkness was too thick a darkness, and I began to have a pricking feeling from the nape of my neck that there could be something there, and perhaps there was. As I stared harder, longing to feel out the shape that I somehow just knew was there, that prickling feeling on the nape of my neck began to feel… cold. Colder than the room about me, and I noticed all at once a faint, very faint, but distinctly faint, chill.
That chill didn’t stop at my neck, but crept forward, wrapping around my neck and then I felt my body begin to stiffen, my breath involuntarily rushed forward in a crumpled gasp. The air left my lungs fast at first, but then slowly, expelling every bit of air until there was no more, and I felt myself begin to struggle as if I were under water. In the very corner of my eye I saw a curling figure shattering the cold with a mysterious magnetism, it rumpled forward, like smoke, moving at first with strength and now gingerly on in the dark, dissipating as it flowed through the air… the thick air… so thick… needed to breathe… needed the air… a breath, a breath, something there was in the dark before me that I still yet could not discern, though my eyes struggled and wrangled the darkness, and now I knew something behind me lurked. There was something here, and there, and what was…