Deadlines are the worst.

The customer had been clear about one thing: the new website was going online at the end of the week, and he better made sure it was ready.

Being a freelance web-developer could be tough, especially when you were buried under unrealistic expectations and a list of ever-changing features.

He hadn’t slept in days. All he’d been able to do was to nod off for a few hours at his desk.

He wasn’t sure how many cups of coffee he’d drank today.

Hell, he wasn’t sure about a lot of things anymore. This entire job was messing with his head.

“Freaking hell,” he cursed as yet another memo arrived in his inbox.

There was no freaking way he’d make it if things kept up like this. Yet, what was he supposed to do? He needed the damned money.

And so, after a few more minutes of resting, he continued his work.

He was just trying to wrap his head around a certain PHP-function and the resulting dynamic Html-block when he heard something.

For a moment the house was quiet but then he heard it again, the creaking of a door.

“Daddy, come quick,” his daughter called out from down the hallway.

In an instant, he was off his chair and out of the room. Yet, for a moment, the strangest feeling washed over him. Something about this felt wrong.

Yet, when he saw no hint of Clara and the wide-open door of her room, he pushed the feeling aside.

“Clara?” he called out but got no answer.

When he entered, the room was freezing, and the window was wide open. The window, why was it open?

Quick steps led him to it, but when he stared outside, nothing was out of the ordinary.

“Clara?” he called out again, but there was no hint of her. The bed was empty, so was the closet and the rest of the room.

He’d just crouched down to look under the bed when he heard it again.

“Daddy, come quick.”

It sounded exactly like before.

Sweat broke out all over his body as the strange feeling came back. This time he knew what it was.

Clara was with her grandparents. Marie had taken her to spend the week at their place so William could finish his project undisturbed.

Slowly, his entire body trembling, he turned to where the voice had originated from.

What he saw was a disgusting, spidery creature. Its limbs were too long, too damn long. Two of them were still holding on to the ceiling where the thing must’ve been until now.

Its head was nothing but a skull with paper-thin skin stretched over it.

Multi-faceted eyes focused on him, and when the abomination saw William’s terror, it giggled.

It’s grinning face shot forward and came to a halt mere inches in front of his own.

“Daddy, let’s play,” it whispered in his daughter’s voice.

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