She calls it a nightmare.
"It's just a bad dream," She says. "Come back to bed."
"It wasn't," I answer, hearing the madness in my voice. "It was real."
"Just come to bed," She repeats, already drifting back to sleep.
But I still feel my heart pounding, still taste the bile on my tongue, still feel the fear that has overwhelmed me. I can still sense the horrors of that "nightmare", still see the pale face of the Man in the Shadows, still hear his voice in my ear, feel his breath on my neck.
I lie back beside her, reaching out to hold her close. I hear her breathing as I nestle in against her, feel her heartbeat against my wrist.
But still I don't believe her, no matter how hard I try.
The Pale Man is waiting for me, hiding in my dreams.
I try to stay awake, to keep my eyes open, but despite all effort, they close and open into the darkness, staring into the Pale Man's smile.