In that foggy intermediate state between sleep and wake, the dream starts. No. Not a dream.
Unease, a tingle at the base of the skull, finds a spot and waits. The unease creeps along the spine, quick and determined. When it gathers its strength, it transforms itself into fear. The fear is a living thing, which detaches itself, now a beast. The beast has tentacles. Each dreadful tentacle coils and uncoils, nearly touching, not touching. It stays just out of the field of vision. Only detectable by a shift in the air.
The heart squeezes, blood races through constricted vessels. Each breath comes in short, shallow gasps. The eyes slam open. To nothing. Darkness. Solitude.
A gentle breeze sighs through the open window. The cicadas hum. It’s the only noise.
Except for the pounding of the heart. And the crackle of the unquiet mind.