Two red eyes, stare at me malevolently from the darkness, unblinking, unwavering, heartless.
I know in my heart they've been there, lurking throughout, but during the halcyon days, I have been able to put them out of my mind, my thoughts, almost convincing myself that they were gone, resigned to the fact they no longer had sway over me, that they no longer had relevance for me.
But I knew, in my heart they would be back. I knew I was not free.
So now I find myself locked into a optical stalemate, unwilling to break the gaze for fear of....well...for fear. Thoughts of Dr Who; don't blink, DO. NOT. BLINK. No wonder that episode had such resonance, plumbing such a primordial fear.
Maybe if I back away, slowly, carefully close the door, they will give up, go away, find some other place to haunt, some other person to torment. It has to be worth a try?
Fingers close on the edge of the door and so slowly, begin its arc, all the time maintaining a mantra of smooth...smooth..don't rush...don't slam...
Finally, the door is closed. Not shut fast, but close enough. Or not. For I find myself filled with the need to check. Are they still there? Do our fears only exist when the door is open? Are they no more than the light in the fridge?
I won't look.
I don't want to. Please don't make me.
But I know I must. I must confront those two red eyes and know, once and for all if they are truly back.
I crack the door, just enough to dart my head forward, to see without being seen, and immediately wish I hadn't.
They stare back at me, confirming my deepest fears, knowing now, all doubts and uncertainty banished, replaced with the certainty of cold, of darkness, of pain, of the struggle to remember the days of light and laughter and warmth.
The red eyes stare at me, silently mocking me with the knowledge. The knowledge that winter is here and my central heating and hot water have come on.