The time is 3:00 am and I can’t sleep. Everywhere I look, there are faces staring back at me. There’s one in the doorway, frowning and baring its teeth. Above it sits a disembodied mouth, grinning as wide as the Cheshire Cat. Below, there is a pair of eyes with no face, wide and bloodshot, and refusing to blink.
There’s a face right above my head, hanging from the ceiling by tendrils of exposed flesh and tissue. I refuse to look up and see it again, but I can feel a slow steady drip of blood on my neck, and I know it’s still there.
The faces cover every inch of the four walls surrounding me. Some are inquisitive, and some of them don’t seem as frightening as the others, but all of them look like they’re waiting for me to close my eyes.
I blink quick and look around to make sure nothing happened in the half-second my eyes were shut. None of them seem to have moved, but as if copying me, they blink all at once.
In unison, every pair of eyes opens again and focuses their gaze on me. “Leave me alone!” I yell.
Lips peel apart and then a singular, awful screaming fills the room. “We will never leave!” they reply.
This has to be a nightmare. If I just close my eyes and wish myself awake, then the faces will leave. I pull the covers tighter against my body and dig my toes into the bedsheets. As a kid, this always worked, so it has to work now.
I close my eyes.
There in the darkness, another face is waiting for me. A face like my own greets me with a smile. I try to open my eyes again, but there is no going back.
It opens its mouth and the sound of my own voice shrieks, “Wake up!”