It was the silence that woke him up, not the scream.
I was in a deep slumber diving further into my Dreamland when I heard faint sounds, but I assumed it was just part of my dream. Then, I felt cold hands on my arm that had me jolting awake.

My gaze met my 12-year-old daughter, Michelle towering over me.

"Michelle, what is it. Daddy is tired. It's...."I paused as I tilted my neck to look at the clock hung on the wall, "past 2"

She looked down at her feet timidly, knowing I already knew what she was going to say.

Every night, she comes to my room, saying something was in her room bothering her. One day, she even said it was her late mother.

"Daddy, it's... she's in my room," she said, her voice trembling.

I tried to reassure her it was just her imagination.

"But, daddy. Can I sleep here?"she begged.

I refused, telling her the bed wasn't big enough. I shared my own experience of losing my father and how everything was terrifying but it all went back to normal with time. She seemed to accept it. I raised but then planted a soft kiss on her forehead before she left.

I went back to sleep, then a scream pierced the night from her room.

At first, I thought she was just overreacting probably over a roach, but the silence that followed was oppressive, I fought and fought to go back to sleep but I had a hunch and a sense of unease that made me wake up every 30 seconds.

After arguing it to myself, defeated, I got up and headed to her room.

As I entered, the atmosphere seemed to shift, and I felt sinister eyes on me in the darkness. My cold feet a stark contrast to the floors beneath it. I reached for the switch and the lights flickered not giving me a chance to view the room.

I reached for the curtains and raised it letting the moonlight illuminate the room. The eerie cold breeze that came in through the window and grazed upon my skin had me quivering in terror.

I turned around, that's when I saw it - blood on the floor, and the words "THE SCREAM" painted in blood. My heart raced as I saw Michelle's body lying nearby, seemingly dead. I tried to scream for help, but my voice was trapped in my throat, only a silent choke that punctuated the silence escaped my lips. I was paralyzed with fear, immobile, only shivering in fear.
© -Heppie Leo