I look in the mirror after washing my hands and see morning hair all wonky up front and a huge red scrape across my nose.

Another at my chin.

I itch my back under my shirt and feel a row of raised scratches.

I wonder if it was the wildcats.

Or maybe the talons that grasped for exposed skin.

From the looks of things, I put up quite a fight while I thought I slept. Apparently covered the left side of my face valiantly, protected my torso.

I don’t remember it clearly, but I think I fell to the dust in the fetal position when I saw the pack of overwhelm scurrying from every crack in the house. Clearly, all the clawing anxiety could reach is my back.

During the day, I think I see them, and I speak scared words at their darting shadows, and they retreat for a while.

But they’ve been doing their work at night this week.

While I try remembering my safe hiding place.

This piece is a free-writing exercise for a Tuesday feature called “Just Write,” hosted on a beautiful blog called The Extraordinary Ordinary. I do this on Tuesdays whenever the mood strikes. You’ll find my first go-round here.