The Nightmares

The wind howled outside; something else howled, also. Sven shivered, cold even though he was wrapped in a blanket and beside the fire.

The door to his hut rattled. Sven gripped the broom handle – he’d attached an old iron nail to the end of it with a roll of duct tape. Iron, he was sure – he couldn’t remember where he’d heard this, but he was sure – would protect him.

(Iron is drawn from the ground, it’s solid; and it’s melted and purified by human ingenuity. Iron is a product of civilisation.)

A tssss came in under the window-frame. Improperly sealed. Sven’s teeth chattered.

A scritch-scritch-scritch scratched against the door. Sven felt sick.

‘God preserve me,’ he said, and the words were hollow.

(In another time, or spoken by another person, such a plea could have been successful.)

Tss, tss, tss, laughed the wind, or something that sounded much like the wind. For a few seconds there was silence.

And then slowly, slowly, the door handle turned. Sven was certain he’d locked it. He was certain. Still, he stood up and raised the broom handle. The door was locked. His hands were shaking.

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