Nancy cried out in her sleep. Partially paralyzed vocal cords produced a sound more similar to a yodel than a scream, but it was enough to wake her husband, Phil.
“Hush. Babyluv, you’re okay. You’re safe.” Phil placed a hand on his wife’s chest. Her heart worked furiously thrusting bone and soft tissue against his open palm at rapid, irregular intervals. “You’re okay.” he repeated. Nancy—head pivoting wildly from side to side—uttered a series of unintelligible syllables followed by four deep, gasping breaths. She opened her eyes and sat up.
“What was it this time?” Phil asked, propping himself up on one elbow. In the dark, his wife sat with knees pulled to her chest and one finger, crowned by a mangled nail, tracing the outline of her chapped lips.
“Something. In the shower. I don’t know. There was soap in my eyes.”
“Yeah. Sorry I woke you.”
“Don’t worry about it, love.” Phil rolled out of bed.
“Where’re you going?” Her voice was high and filled with concern.
“I’ll be right back. I’m just going to get a glass of water. You need anything while I’m up?”
“Try and go back to sleep.”
“Mkay.” Nancy became a curved outline beneath the sheets.
Phil padded down the hall and flipped a switch, flooding the bathroom in yellow light. He voided his bladder, washed his hands, and downed two glasses of water. While inspecting an ingrown chin hair, Phil noticed the shower curtain flutter. He looked to the window. Closed. He looked back to the shower curtain reflected in the mirror.
It fluttered again.
“No.” Phil said, fighting the panic trying to clawing its way out of his skull.
Call the police, it screamed. A priest. An exorcist. Call anybody, but don't just stand there. And whatever you do, don't pull back the curtain.
“I won’t be sucked into another one of her paranoid nightmares. Not again.”
He turned and threw back the curtain.
It was Phil’s turn to scream.