Chris jolted from his armchair at the sudden sound of a smashing glass in the kitchen. Cautiously but swiftly he recovered the remote from the armchair pocket and muted the TV. The silence that followed deafened the house. He could feel the weight of fear on his shoulders, his heart rate increasing. With slow and heavy steps he went to investigate the blackness of his lonely house.
Standing at the kitchen doorway, his left hand fumbled for the light switch. He flipped it but the darkness remained. The light bulb burst. He nervously scrambled his iPhone from the right pocket of his pyjama bottoms and turned on the torch. The cold, bright light, emanating from the device, cast long, eerie shadows on the kitchen walls. The light bulb was intact, so were the kitchen windows. There were no signs of broken glass. Chris felt a cool tremble trickling down his spine.
The autumn wind roared outside, knocking against the nearby window. He could feel a frosty gust of bitter wind shrieking through him. The back door. He turned to his right but halted mid-step and pointed the light in front of him, as if it was a gun. A slow, creaky noise came from the direction he was heading. A cold sensation went down his back, his body temperature shot up. He swallowed a sickening taste of fear stuck in his throat and braved approaching the door.
The door was ajar, the draft slamming it against the wall. Did I forget to lock it? Wearily, he closed the door and this time made sure it was locked. Unsettled, he came back to the living room. The Shining was still playing. He sunk into the armchair, un-muted the TV and took a long gulp of the beer he was saving all week. His breathing became more shallow and Chris was beginning to relax.
But he couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. That door was locked. Suddenly, he felt freezing cold and glanced around for a blanket. He caught a sight of a tall, lanky figure standing there behind him, motionless. A thousand needles pierced his skin. He leaped from the armchair and turned his back to the TV. There was nobody there, but Chris was certain he saw someone.
Rooted to the soft carpet under his bare feet, Chris anxiously inspected his surroundings. He was there. The fear was penetrating his very being and he sensed himself being watched. Before he could compose himself, the power went off. The darkness surrounded everything and Chris could hear his heightened breathing.
His eyes still adjusting to the darkness, he could barely make out dark hefty lumps of the furniture, when a small shadow ran up the stairs with swift and playful steps. Adrenaline surged through Chris’s bloodstream and cold sweat permeated the pyjamas, while his mind debate the options of fight versus flight.
A second later, loud and tired thudding of the heavy boots marching down the stairs echoed throughout the still house and sent a tremor down Chris’s spine. Outside, the wind was clamoring; the branches were scraping against the cold, wet windows, like long nails of the monster demanding to be let in. The stirring black cluster of the brewing storm outside could not stifle the sound of a muffled chuckle behind Chris. He turned, but yet again, there was nothing there. Well, nothing he could see at least.
Standing in the middle of his living room he felt the sinister shadows dancing around him in mockery. The overwhelming blackness drowned his hope. In his panicked state, he felt consumed by fear. He felt being sucked in by the evil but he couldn’t move. He knew he wasn’t alone in his house tonight.
He remember the iPhone in his pocket and hurriedly turned on the torch again. Nothing. Gingerly, he retreated to the fireplace next to the TV and seized the poker, all the while scrutinizing the hall and the stairs in front of him. The power came back on and the ‘Here’s Johnny’ scene startled Chris so that he almost dropped his phone.
He called 112 and in a hushed voice he told the operator “Someone is in my house”. Before he could share his address he felt a strong force ripping the phone off his ear and smashing it into the wall behind him. Chris turned, swinging the poker in the direction, but it was gone. He made a decision to sprint to the front door. It’s locked and the key won’t turn.
The footsteps at the top of the stairs. Chris dashed through the hall to the kitchen and grabbed the cook’s knife in his right hand. The footsteps reached the bottom step and ceased. Chris’s eardrums were pounding the sides of his head, their rate and intensity only matched by the beating of his heart.
That thing was at the bottom of the stairs, Chris was sure, even though he couldn’t see it. Laughter broke out from that direction. Chris felt cold again. A sudden powerful stream of energy blasted Chris backwards and smashed the kitchen cupboards. The scene that was all too familiar to him due to his love for the Supernatural TV series. Demon? He scrambled back onto his feet and made a run for the back door. It was locked too.
Back in the kitchen, he re-equipped himself with the knife and the poker and, fueled by the survival instincts, advanced into the hall only to find it empty. Police sirens could be heard in the distance and Chris bolted for the front door. It was unlocked. He stepped outside and sprinted out onto the street to welcome his saviours.
He saw the police car fast approaching from the intersection 200 metres away and tried to raise his arms to flag it. His arms wouldn’t lift. That’s when he noticed the missing knife and poker. A sharp pain pierced his both both lungs. Everything slowed down. He felt his body giving up, his knees bending. He folded on the wet tarmac, his clothes drenched. Kneeling, he saw the police officers rushing out to his aid, but he felt his last breath leaving his body.
Guns pointing to the house, one of them called back up while the other was trying to keep Chris awake. He felt nothing now. Pure emptiness. He gave a blank stare to the officer in front of him and closed the eyes, falling to his arms.