It started on
a winter night in 1977. The rain had drizzled on and off for three
days, and the constant patter on the windows had finally stopped.
Lying in pink flannel sheets, Danielle pulled herself into a ball,
curls falling across her face as she squeezed her eyes against the
dark. Every noise reverberated in her brain and sent her pulse drumming.
She tossed and turned with each creak, every whisper. When she heard
the groan of the floor in her own room, she bolted upright. Heart
pounding, she squinted into the dark. A scream stopped cold in her
throat when she saw him.
He stood almost as tall as the door. A dark hood covered his face,
allowing her to only make out the shadows of his deep-set eye sockets.
Long sleeves draped past his hands, hiding what she was sure were
his long, sharp claws. The metal bed dug into her spine as she clenched
the covers in damp fists. He stepped forward. A tiny whimper escaped
her lips where she had tried to scream. She buried her face in the
covers and cried. The room grew silent. She forced herself to look
back, her eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness. He melted into a
robe hanging on the back of her closet door--his head the hood of
her green terrycloth bathrobe, his eyes nothing more than shadows
in the fabric’s folds, his arms the robe’s sleeves.
Wiping her eyes, she turned on the porcelain fairy lamp that sat on
her bedside table. The room was cast in a pale amber glow. There was
no man. Instead, the room was just as she'd seen it in daylight--the
small desk under the window, stuffed animals and scattered toys left
from that day's play.
Danielle went back to sleep, but for many nights afterwards, she saw
that man return. And others.
Now grown, Danielle left that bedroom and traveled across the country
where she studied pre-med. She spent ten years in a career in finance,
but the man in the dark never quite left her alone. Finally, Danielle
realized that man was her calling. Now, she spends her days (rather
than her nights) in an office where she stares at the blinking cursor,
dreaming of that man and others far creepier.
She lives with her husband, who is careful never to lurk in dark corners
of the bedroom, and her two children. They split their time between
San Francisco and the northern Rockies. Danielle is currently working on the second book in the Rookie Club Series.