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The Man in the Corner

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Light was now absolutely certain that there was a man in his room.

The brunet rolled over in bed, facing away from where he saw the sliver of a shadow, just hidden from the moonlight coming from his window by the sweep of the curtains. He let out a faint sigh, making it sound like he was still asleep, trying to buy time to think of what to do.

This had been happening for three nights now. For three nights, he had been seeing that strange ghostlike apparition standing around in the corner, just out of sight. Light had tried switching the lights on the first time he thought he saw him, but the minute the darkness dispelled, so did his ghost. On the first night, he had dismissed it as being a nightmare or a trick of the shadows. That morning, he had checked the corner and frowned. There was nothing there, no furniture, no clothes, nothing that could possibly look like a human being crouched uncomfortably as he stared at Light’s sleeping form.

The second night, he wondered if he was losing his mind with stress. He was definitely stressed out a lot nowadays, a side-effect of going to college with the people he was keeping around him. He did like people worshipping the very ground he stepped on (who didn’t?), but there were limits to everything! He couldn’t remember the last time he had walked without having a certain blond model who had obviously bribed her way into the course hanging off of his arm, blatantly and unrepentantly breaking his personal bubble.

Anyway (damn it, there was an intruder in his room. He would not be distracted by thoughts of Misa Amane!), anyway, the second night he had jumped to the light switch as quickly as he could, and he had managed to catch a blurred shape vault out of his newly opened window. He had rushed to the windowsill as fast as he could, but there was nobody on the pavement below, nobody sprinting away as fast as they could (and especially nobody dragging a broken ankle behind them. They had thrown themselves off the first floor!). That morning, Light had spent a good ten minutes reinforcing the lock over his window, drawing a line of salt along the sill and hiding a kitchen knife under his pillow.

Now, lying in bed on the third night since the silent spectre made his first appearance, he listened carefully to the sound of the wind whistling in through his window, which must have had its lock unlatched somehow from the outside. Obviously, the line of salt would have been disrupted, which would be his proof in the morning that he wasn’t dreaming this, no matter what happened next (if he survived what happened next).

There were only two options as to who this person could be. He could either be some sort of super-prepared stalker who jumped out of windows way too easily, suggesting a burglar (or something more sinister)…or he could be a ghost. Light hadn’t completely dismissed that option.

Whatever it was, the brunet was glad the spectre had chosen the same corner to lurk in as he always did, because that meant his plan would work.

The teenager took a deep breath, half-lidding his amber eyes and hoping to God it was a ghost and not some sort of violent stalker who would turn on him, because he hadn’t informed his father or anybody. He was being a bit of an idiot about this, but he didn’t want to be embarrassed in case this was all in his head.

With a mighty yank, he pulled the cord he had laid discreetly by his mattress and clambered out of bed, brandishing his kitchen knife in his sweaty hands. The cord had been linked to the window (rather than the light switch, as he had initially planned), sending it sliding shut and the lock latching back in place through the spring trigger he had set up.

The spectre banged into the glass and bounced back, confused. The rattling of the windowpane sent Light’s heart beating at an almost painful speed. It was a dark shape, it seemed to be wearing a black hooded sweatshirt over its hair. Its limbs were too pale in the moonlight.

A stalker, then. Fuck, it wasn’t a ghost. Light held the knife up in shaking hands, stuck between attacking the creep and calling for help. He hadn’t planned it out so far, he hadn’t expected himself to not be imagining it.

The spectre slowly turned towards him, and he saw that the man’s face was covered by a black scarf, his eyes barely visible under the rim of the hood and glimmering ominously in the light.

The brunet’s hands were trembling so violently he could barely keep hold of the knife. He could just try attacking him in this state, this impassive, chastising figure staring him down.

Looks like he was going to call for help after all.

The teenager had barely managed to turn and wrap his hand around the doorknob before the figure caught him by the hair and wrenched him back. He opened his mouth to scream for help but a hand clamped over it. He was dragged back to his bed and thrown down on his front onto it, the hand still over his mouth. Desperately, Light slashed behind him with his knife, tearing through some fabric and hitting skin. He flicked his wrist, trying to get in as deep as he could, but the man had taken hold of his wrist, squeezing it to force him to let go of the weapon. Light wouldn’t, though. He jerked his hand free and swiped it back where he judged the figure to be. He hit more skin and stabbed brutally at it, but the grip over his mouth and the weight holding him down didn’t loosen in the slightest.

“Calm down, I am not going to hurt you.” A soft voice came, and Light cried out in a panic. He stabbed back again but the stalker had seized his hand once more, this time wresting the knife from his scrabbling fingers.

How had he been so careless? How had he not planned this out better?

Light writhed and kicked out at where he had determined the stalker to be, shrieking as loudly as he could. “Don’t you fucking touch me! Don’t you dare!” His words were muffled, but the hand still tightened its grip over it.

The voice sounded affronted. “I told you I won’t hurt you.”

Light whined, trying his hardest to bite into one of the man’s fingers, but his skin seemed to be made of stone, it was impossible to move against it. “Let go of me! Let me go!” He wriggled, trying to twist his mouth free. “Help! Help me!”

“Yagami-kun, you are not in danger. Please calm down.”

Light shrieked as loudly as he could, and he was suddenly flipped onto his back, the air shocked out of his lungs. The hand replaced itself over his mouth and the man half-sat on him, his eyes gleaming black pearls under his hood.

The stalker’s free hand gently flicked some hair out of Light’s eyes. “Please be quiet, Yagami-kun. I promise you I won’t harm you.”

Now on his back, Light was in the perfect position to get in a good shot at the masked man’s face. It would have to be the punch of a lifetime, he had to fucking smash the man’s nose in, kick him across the room, fetch his knife and possibly, hopefully, get in a few near-fatal stabs before he ran to get help.

The brunet let out a nervous whimper, getting the creep’s attention to his face.

“I’m sorry for frightening you. I swear I didn’t mean to.” The intruder had the nerve to sound concerned, his fingers hovering over Light’s forehead as if making his mind up about something.

The teenager curled his hand into a fist and drew it back, putting all of his strength and weight into it as delivered the blow straight at the stalker’s nose.

Light gasped, a jolt of pain running through his hand. It was like he had tried to smash a brick wall, his knuckles stung, they may even be bleeding for all he knew. The stalker was entirely unaffected, still as a statue as Light tried to get in another strike, this time to the curve of the man’s neck. A stone wall, a pillar of fucking marble, the brunet’s hand dropped to his side, throbbing with pain.

What was happening to him? Did the stalker drug him or something? Why couldn’t he hit him? It was a simple concept, and it wasn’t like Light was weak or frail in any way, he was a tennis champion for God’s sake.

The teenager whimpered again, but this time he wasn’t pretending. He writhed where he was, blinking away mortifying tears of absolute terror. “Please, please don’t hurt me, please.”

“I said I won’t. You are the one trying to hurt me.” Was that irritation he heard in the creep’s low timbre? Was he fucking dreaming?

“You’re the one sitting on me! You’re pinning me down, you’re in my room! Let me go!”

The man appeared to deliberate on that. “I can see how this can all be…unsettling. But if I let you go, you will alert your entire family to my presence.”

“I won’t, I won’t, I swear.” Light shook his head, trying to squirm again, but the stalker’s grip only tightened around him.

“I don’t believe you, Raito-kun.”

Light’s eyes narrowed as he studied the shape. “Who are you?”

The stalker sighed. “I didn’t mean for things to go this way, Yagami-kun. I’m sorry. I’ll release you now, and I’ll leave out of your window. Don’t worry, I won’t return. I…” He dipped his head. “Please don’t scream. I do not wish to alarm your family as well.” Those glimmering black eyes bored into his. “Again, I’m sorry.”

Light found himself nodding slightly and caught himself, staying as motionless as he could until the man finally released his mouth and backed away. The brunet considered calling for help, but instead opted to sit up straight, licking his lips and rubbing his sore knuckles.

The man, true to his word, ambled over to the window and unlatched it, shoving it up, letting in a gust of cold wind. He looked back at Light’s tense posture on his bed and ducked his head as if ashamed. He seemed to open his mouth, about to say something, but changed his mind, turning back to the window.

Before Light could comprehend it, the man was suddenly gone, a blurred shape vanishing from the sill. The teenager scrambled out of bed, leaning out of the window and craning his head to spy the road outside, but there was nobody there, no black form ambling along, nothing in the shadow of his bare, deserted front lawn, nothing behind the fences (that he could see under the dim orange streetlights).

He could still be there, hiding in a corner somewhere, watching him, and evidently the teenager’s locks did nothing to stop him.

A more logical person would have called the police, or even fetched his father’s gun from their bedroom, but it seemed Light wasn’t that logical after all. He pulled out the chair from his desk, dragged it so it faced the window and sat there, knife clutched in his hands, swearing to himself that he would not run this time, he would face that fucker down if he tried coming back.

Oh, just let him try coming back.