Mystery and suspense
| It was pitch black. She hadn’t moved a muscle, except for her eyes to spring wide open. Something was amiss. She was a heavy sleeper, yet something had rattled her senses enough for her to be instantly awake and alert. The deafening silence was so loud she could hear the train roaring as her heartbeat sped out of control.
She felt that she wasn’t alone and to move would bring untold anguish and terror. As her eyes grew accustomed to the blanket of darkness, she could begin to pick up details of items in the room. She didn’t dare move her head, or anything else for that matter. She knew something was in the room with her. She just didn’t know who or what.
Then she saw him out of the corner of her eye, a menacing shadow in the corner. Her heart skipped a beat. She didn’t make a noise, not even to draw in a ragged breath. In fact she had stopped breathing the instant she saw him. Utter silence. What should she do? She was alone in the house with no weapons to protect herself.
She couldn’t make a run for it, for he was right next to the door. She would have to run by him to get out of the room. She had no options. She could wait there silently for the attack, if one was to come. The terror had built to such a crescendo that she wanted to scream. Would that help? Who would come? Loud music didn’t even reach the ears of a neighbor, how would a scream? She would wait him out. She would react to his action.
She lay there not moving for what seemed an eternity. She now had to strive to keep her breathing at a low even keel as if she were still asleep. No easy task. He hadn’t moved a muscle either. The tension in the room could snap a red oak as if it were a mere twig. She had to move. How to do so without startling the intruder was the problem.
It was all or nothing. The nothing had been torturing her for what seemed to be hours. She rolled over as if stretching in her sleep, turning so that her back was to the intruder. If he was going to make his move, it would be now. She lay prone, barely breathing again, straining her ears for any sound of movement.
That is how she welcomed the day, still staring at the wall with her back to the door. Was he still here? If she moved, would he then strike, bringing all of her fears to life? Or had he left with the cloak of darkness, slipping silently through the house?
It was time to make or break. This was life or death, as she saw it. She had to do this right. Perhaps take him by surprise. She slowly moved as if stretching in her sleep. Once in position, she sprang. She went from laying in bed to standing upright on it, facing the doorway.
Nothing was there. No sign of another. Nothing was out of place. Cautiously she began to explore the house on tip-toe. She was still so frightened, she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t go past the kitchen to explore the back porch and other bedroom.
She ran back to her bedroom and hurriedly dressed, never taking her eyes off of the doorway into the living room. As quick as she could, she threw all that she would need to get ready for work in a bag and hurried out the door. She would get ready at work. She couldn’t stay in the house another minute.
It had been a hectic day at work. Two people hadn’t shown up leaving them very short-handed. By the time she got off, she was totally exhausted, and had forgotten all about the night before.
Something kept creeping into the back of her mind, making her feel like she was forgetting something as she got ready for bed. She just couldn’t make that something come into full view. What was it that she was forgetting? The doors were locked, the lights were out. Oh well, if it were that important she would remember in the morning. With that thought in mind, she crawled into bed and was out like a light.
The next thing she knew, she was wide awake. She instantly knew what she had forgotten, for now it was replaying itself again. The same experience as the night before was in fact happening right now. How could she have forgotten something so important?
He was back. She was in the same predicament as the night before. Held captive, with no protection once again. Why had she let this happen? She could have prevented this. Why had she been so careless? No need second guessing now, for he was here. In the room with her, back in the same spot. She once again was not going to let him know she saw him. She couldn’t afford for him to know that she knew he was there. That might set him off and provoke him to launch his attack.
She lay there in silence. She was so focused on him and her breathing, that she couldn’t here a sound outside the house if she tried. Nothing was penetrating this cave of darkness, not sound or light. Would she survive another night, trapped here with him?
Could this really be happening two nights in a row? Random thoughts now began to race through her mind. She had a vivid imagination, could this all be a part of that? Could she be making this all up? Could her fear of the dark be sparking this whole scene? Could she take the chance to find out?
If this was reality, how could this happen, step by step, instance for instance, just like last night? If this were her imagination, she should go into writing horror stories, for she was scared out of her wits.
Once again she repeated the scene from last night, re-enacting the same script, clean through the jumping movement to startle the captor that wasn’t there. She felt silly, silly and tired. Yet, she still couldn’t bring herself to enter the back porch. Had this all been a bad dream, or had someone been in the house with her, watching her?
Like the day before, she had to scramble to get ready for work. Now weary from lack of sleep, as well as stressed out from all of the tension from the two nights before, she left in a hurry for work. She was so exhausted; she didn’t register the noise of the back door shutting as she herself shut the front door.
Once again work had zapped all of her energy. She was on auto-pilot as she crawled up the steps and unlocked the door. She stood in the doorway, not entering. She had left every light on in the front of the house. She stood, illuminated against the dark behind her. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Quickly, she jumped the step into the house and slammed the door behind her.
Safe! Or was she? The feeling she was being watched returned. The uneasiness of being alone in the house was invading every pore. She broke out into a cold sweat. She had been standing in front of the door staring into the rest of the house, eyes darting to and fro.
Tears gathered in the corner of her eyes as she began to laugh. This had to be her imagination. Why would anyone break into her house two nights in a row to stand and watch her sleep, let alone come back a third night? She was acting like a scared child. Enough was enough. She crossed the room and turned on the stereo. The silence was irking her, it was bothersome. She was listening for noises that just were not there.
With the music playing she began to calm down. She settled into her routine for the night. A quick snack of salsa and chips washed down with a coke, then some reading before getting ready for bed. She was just getting out of the shower, when she heard the noise that hadn’t registered earlier in the day; that door from the back porch almost noiselessly being shut. She heard it plain as day, as she should have earlier.
She stopped and waited. Nothing made a sound. Was she in the house alone? She sat listening for what seemed like an hour. Nothing moved. Hah! Her imagination, it got the better of her again. She scrambled into her sleeping attire, which usually consisted of an old pair of shorts and a ragged old shirt. What ever she heard, if she heard it,would be in the front room by now. She cautiously crept through the bedroom to peek into the living room, just in case.
Still nothing was there. She had to quit reading horror stories. She needed another genre to start reading. This one was playing tricks on her mind. That was the only explanation she could come up with. Yet she hadn’t convinced herself of that answer. She was still certain, someone was in the house with her, and there was no escape, for they were in the front of the house, near her only exit.
She couldn’t endure another night like the one before. She was only in her early twenties, but she knew if she had to suffer like the last two nights, she was sure to die of a self-induced heart attack. No heart could endure the intensity of the last two nights. She couldn’t conceive of such a thing.
She left the light on. In fact come to think of it, she had left every light in the house on. Well, except for the one on the back porch, she still hadn’t ventured out there. She crawled onto the bed and sat cross legged in the middle of it, facing the doorway. She stayed in that position until daybreak the next morning.
She was exhausted. Three nights of hardly any sleep and still, here she sat, in the middle of the bed watching the bedroom doorway that led to the front room. It was nearing noon now. Certainly who ever was here had long left, even if she hadn’t heard them go. It had to be safe to get out of bed.
Not bothering to change out of her attire, she crept off of the bed and began to sneak toward the front door. She silently opened it and snuck outside. A feeling of relief washed over her. She had survived another night. She walked out into the front yard and turned facing the house.
What had scared her? Who had been in the house with her? She had to find out. There were only a few hours left before the darkness slithered back. She knew she wouldn’t survive a fourth night, the exhaustion alone was sure to be the end of her. It was time to investigate. She had to take measures to prevent another night like the past ones, and to do so she had to find out once and for sure, if this was her imagination acting out.
She stared at the house illuminated in the sunshine. It was a single level home, but did contain a basement with access only from outside. It was simple in structure. You opened the door to a large living room that ran the width of the house. Two doorways, one to the left and one to the right, ventured from there. The right doorway led to the bedroom which had the only access to the bathroom. It was a dead end. The doorway to the left went right to the kitchen which was very small. It had a door that used to be the back door, until the addition was put on the house. From this door, you could go to the back porch which housed the laundry facilities, leading to another room, and an outside door.
She began walking around the house. As she got to the back door leading to the house, she noticed the basement door lock had been opened. The brass padlock was shut to look like it was locked, but it was not. She had never opened the basement door. She didn’t even have a key. She had no idea as to what was even down there.
She had to pass the basement to get to the back door. Her neck began to tingle. The back door was not locked. She knew this, because the door wasn’t even shut. She couldn’t move. She was frozen in time, staring at this door that was cracked open. Someone had been in the house with her, and maybe was still there.
She needed a weapon. Something she could use to protect herself. She looked around. The shed stood open just next to the house. She ran over and looked in, empty. Nothing in there, just as it had been when she moved in. She started to back out, when she noticed the rake leaning in the back corner. The handle was broken. She hadn’t ever seen it before, and chided herself for missing it. She could have used that earlier in the year for yard work.
Grabbing the rake, she ventured toward the house. Stepping lightly onto the back porch, she crept toward the back room. Empty. She turned and raced back to the door and bolted it shut.
Now her curiosity was getting the better of her. She ventured through the house, and still found no signs of an intruder. The basement was calling to her. She grabbed her house keys and silently snuck out the front door, locking it behind her. Rake in hand; she once again approached the basement. Glancing around, making sure she was still alone, she pulled the padlock from the door.
Holding the rake in front of her as she toed open the door, she began to enter the dungeon. It was dark and gloomy. No light filtered into this vast black hole, past the doorway. She inched forward a few steps further raising the rake as you would a bat.
Bang, the door slammed shut. It was pitch black. She hadn’t moved a muscle, except for her eyes to spring wide open. Something was amiss. She was a heavy sleeper, yet something had rattled her senses enough for her to be instantly awake and alert. The deafening silence was so loud she could hear the train roaring as her heartbeat sped out of control. Yes, she had been dreaming, but now she was living the reality. Would it play out the same? Had her subconscious been telling her, warning her, of things to come? She was about to find out.