There was nothing but silence. Nothing. Nothing except the delicate warmth of my own shallow breaths, rhythmically masking the familiar squeak squeak squeak of hardwood planks beneath my unpainted toes as I padded down the my pitch-black hallway.
It was 2:30 in the morning, when cozy southern suburbia lay fastened in their bed sheets after another hard days work, the dogs kicking from their dreams of mischief to the purr of an over-worked and under-appreciated air conditioning unit. The air hung motionless and placid around me, as though a snap of my fingers could erupt visible shock waves throughout the house.
I dared not interrupt the peace as I descended through the staircase, watching my reflection on the stairs as though each step were a polished lake, and I was walking on its delicate water. Moonlight danced into the house, gently swaying to the ballade of pine branches through the window as though searching for a partner to waltz with. It cast magnificent shadows onto my family’s communal living space; once humble dining chairs becoming labyrinths of perplexity and mystery.
I paused at the bottom of the staircase, slipping my hand into the fuzzy pockets of my plaid pajama pants and taking a seat on the bottom step. A warm, silky force bumped into my shoulder blade and I jumped a foot into the air from the unexpended company, my heart leaping a million times over in my chest.
It wasn’t until after I sprinted with heavy foot steps back up the stairs and swan-dived underneath my navy bed quilt, alerting the dogs and eradicating the nightly serenity that I realized that my cat had followed me, quiet as a church mouse.
I guess I’m still a child at heart, scared of what lurks in the dark.