Horror and Thriller Fiction posted December 1, 2023

This work has reached the exceptional level
Many things can happen at Night.

The Night

by Barry Penfold

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.


The night is near and the moon is full. I sit in the corner of your room, waiting for you to return. I know you, and you have played with me, but not knowing it was me.

Waiting is not always my forte. I like immediate action and messy results, like a driver rounding a corner only to meet a semi trailer on the wrong side of the road. Death for sure but before that so much more.

Tonight though I will watch, waiting, and smile as the light drains from your room with the knowledge that nothing will stop the sun falling and the night invading. The moon will not be your saviour but your tormentor. I will make sure of that and you will see me, only as you can see me. I am not defined by one type of appearance,I can only be described by you. You are the only one that can feel me. Others have had and will have their chance later.

It is always pleasing to know that there is nothing you can do to stop me entering your life. Easy stuff for me. However, there are times when I am repelled. It is not a physical strength that will stop me, more an inner strength. I am not sure you have such strength despite our previous meetings.

Our first meeting was some four years ago. Do you recall the walk along the ridge of a large quarry?You chose a path that was not well worn and dangerous. Inadequate shoes did the rest. Remember? The slip and fall to a ledge some 30 feet below. Not nice. Your thoughts turned to the worst and the movement of your leg created an instant pain. How do you get out? The night was not far.

You begin to yell. Will anybody hear you? Unlikely, especially when you left the beaten track. I heard you, and moved closer. Little by little I invaded your thoughts. Questions raced through your mind. You may not get out of here. After a few nights of cold and hunger you will wish you were dead. I could make that wish come true. There was no doubt I was looking forward to the kill.

But this time, life provided one of those moments. The rescuer arrives, out of the blue, and your relief is evident. I move away as your relief drives a bout of independent thought. No room for me.
The rescuer is upbeat and well equipped. A mobile call places you in the high priority rescue queue.
Bugger. Ripped from my grip at the last moment.

Now I want to re-visit you. Toy with and confuse you, terrify you and leave you no room to wriggle out of my reach. I will capture you and lay you on my table to devour at my whim. It will take time, but time is really nothing to me. The battle will be entertaining. No luck this time will save you. As I have no real compassion, your only hope is you. By the way let me introduce myself.

I am Fear.

Ha Ha, seems as though we will meet soon. Content in your world, and why not. You and I could not live together but we do bump into each other quite frequently, and in various forms. Like anxiety, because you are late for your date with your new girlfriend. Fear involves an uneasiness that rises and subsides like a thermometer. The more fear you conjure up the less able you are to control your emotions and think correctly.

But enough of the history and theory, you are about to enter the front door. Another surprise awaits as you reach for the front foyer light switch. Talking of switch, perhaps this is the time to hear from you. I will introduce you as Tony. Your real identity is of no real consequence but what you experience will be quite significant. So go for it, I have work to do.


Tony looks to the night sky as his hand explores the foyer wall just inside the door.
"Shit, no lights"

The entry foyer is pitch black and the search for a source of light is probably futile. I need to get to the kitchen. A flash of light appears and disappears.

"Crap what was that?"

Suddenly, there is a crash of something metalic.There is the light again. Someone is here. My mind is racing. My heart rate is rising quickly and despite my eyes beginning to adjust to the dark, I feel very vulnerable. Like a lamb to the slaughter. Whoever is in the house no doubt has a knife or a gun. Perhaps I could run out the way I came?

Wait, that is crazy. Tony you are a man, I say to myself. Focus. Deep breaths. I begin to take deep purposeful breaths. One breath in, one breath out. One breath in- oh shit the light again. Going up the stairs. My breathing becomes shorter. My chest is squeezing tighter, my legs paralysed and my brain a little more dysfunctional. I had been here before. What to do? What to do? Curl up into a fetal position. That's it. It is as if numbness wraps you in a tight bind. Cannot move.

Perhaps the intruder will leave. Pick what they want and be satisfied with their booty. A loud bang and another, worry me. What could be happening. No voices, indicated to me that there was only one person. I was lucky last time. A rescuer from nowhere really. No chance of that here. But, what else did I do that helped change the paralysis. Could it have been yelling. Yelling out for all I was worth. Anything but lie there. Not letting the numbness suffocate me. Now was no different. I had to make noise and move.

I recalled a cricket bat in the hallway just past the kitchen entrance. It would be a good thing to have. I needed reassurance. So, I begin to yell "Move" and louder again "Move". No surprise element now. One more "Move" and there is a slight release of the numbness. Enough for me to begin a slow crawl into the hallway. You cannot imagine the comfort of actually being able to discern the shape of the cricket bat leaning against the wall. The numbness again loosened its grip, enough for me to stand and get to the cricket bat quickly. Oh it felt good.

"Coming to get you, you bastard".

Another few steps and I was at the base of the stairs. A sliver of light slid down the hand rail, making me take a step back. The simultaneous banging in the bedroom made me crouch but not cease my mission to confront the intruder. Again, the numbness released me more and I quickly stepped up to the landing.

The bedroom door was just off to the right and the door fully ajar. A figure formed towards the bottom of the bed. Now was the time. I gripped the cricket bat more tightly and it was poised for a strike. No mistakes.

Without further hesitation I charged.

"Take that" and again "Take that" as I struck the figure not once, but multiple times.

I am surprised how easy it is to strike the figure and of the lack of resistance offered. I could not let my dominance be lost. I must have hurt the intruder as there was no movement.

"Oh shit, maybe I went too far."?

The answer was soon to hand. The room light came on and in an instance the reality of the situation was upon me.

"Bloody Hell. What have I done."

It was a disaster scene. There were broken bits of who knows what all over the floor. My wild foray to secure victory over the intruder had only managed to destroy a bedside lamp, a clothes rack and a good corduroy coat. My cat Cheeky sat on the clothes dresser, smiling, yes, smiling at my work. The moon continued to host its light show.

Clearly, my imaginations of intruders, lights, murder and robbery were purely that. Imaginations created through fear. I certainly unblocked it and for that I was proud. Fear is more than a feeling. It locks you into a thought pattern that eventually spirals you past a point of no return. Oh how lucky was I. My own rescuer and feeling good. Despite the mess, this was a victory


I am Fear. Still sitting in the corner, very much disappointed. Tony has risen to the occasion and repelled me from his character. Temporarily maybe, but the crucial thing here is that he is more confident now and has his own method of facing his fear.

The often used saying "Face your Fear" has potency. So give it a try, especially if you do not want me entering your life. For me, well I still have a lot of work to do. While there was no victory for me today, there will be other days and plenty of other people.

Tony rules for now.

Secrets of the Night contest entry

So many things hide in the night.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by cleo85 at FanArtReview.com

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