There was knocking, at first. I remember that part clearly. By the time I woke up that night, I was halfway across the floor, sliding slowly on my pajama bottoms toward the open maw of the closet, one inky tentacle of darkness encircling my ankle. I growled out one of the curse words my mother tried to beat out of me.
I just hate being disturbed while I'm sleeping.
I was not about to give up and go quietly, however off guard I had been. I flung my arms wildly in the dark of my studio apartment, looking for something to slow my progress. My knuckles slammed against the leg of the ugly dining room table my mother, the self-styled psychic, insisted on leaving in the center of the room. That ugly table was also very heavy. My fingers grappled and gripped instinctively. I rolled over onto my stomach and reached out with the other hand, so I could use both hands. My slow slide was halted.
The tentacle around my ankle pulled gently. I tried to pull myself toward the table, to get a better grip. I held on as tightly as I could, as a fierce tug on my leg told me that my fight wasn't over yet. Another hard tug, and this time, the heavy table moved, just a little. That was all the encouragement the thing in the closet needed. A second tentacle oozed out of the closet, the sound slimy and wet on the hardwood. It wrapped around my other ankle, and then I was dragging the table toward that rectangle of darkness.
I didn't have much time.
Then the table bumped into something, and a lamp fell over onto my back. I didn't think, I let go of the table and fumbled for the light switch before I was dragged beyond the stretch of the electrical cord.
Screams of pain erupted from the closet as the light struck the tentacles around my legs. They shriveled as they released me and slid quickly back into the closet. I got to my feet, pointing the lamp's light in the direction of the closet until the screams subsided into a quiet that was somehow more disturbing. I left the lamp on, sitting as close to the closet as possible, and shut the door with a loud slam. I pushed that heavy dining room table against the door, for good measure. I silently thanked whatever deity out there that I heard the knocking and woke up in time.
Then I staggered back to my bed, asleep again before my head hit the pillow.