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You wake in the middle of the night to a prickling sensation of being watched. Your eyes fart around the room, taking in all the silhouettes distorted by the all-consuming darkness. At first, you start to relax—nothing seems to be out of place, after all—when It shifts. A mass of shadows in the furthest, darkest corner—the one you swear was the product of imagination and a coat rack (neither of which you have)—slowly unfurls, the pervasive squelching and popping of maladjusted joints and contorted flesh struggling to maintain some sembalance of structural integrity as the creature, impossibly tall and sickly thin, hunches over in a madman’s spiral across your bedroom. You are almost thankful that it remains so hard to see, especially since what few details you do manage to discern make you wish you hadn’t. Cracked and slippery-shiny red bones, limbs scattered in angles that shouldn’t be allowed to exist, exposed tendons and ligaments marred with haphazard clusters of waxy patches of rot and broken slivers of torn skin. The gaunt and impossible frame stretches outwards, inch by inch, the periodic contortions of Its visible spinal cord accompanied by gut-wrenching little ‘pop’s, as Its head gets closer and closer, slowing as Its fave hovers right above your own. Empty sockets on a broken, wholly skin-free, glistening, cow-like skull bore into you, not just looking but seeing you through the blankets and the shadows and the clutter; through the layers and the walls and the lies, It is looking at you and It is telling you. The entity leans in, the end of Its maw nearly pressed against your ear, and it cracks open Its jaw, all the way back, impossibly wide, tearing through the slimy, translucent layer of film you hadn’t noticed was sealing it, and it whispers with a voice that is not a voice so much as it is a primal sensation of a thousand beetles skittering about inside you in a messy, off-beat cacophony of intersecting staccatos, and It says but one thing to you with this voice that is not a voice, It gives but one warning before you shoot up in your now-empty bed in your always-empty room, once again free to move and to scream, three simple words that will haunt you for the rest of your days.

“It’s Brittney, bitch.”