So, I’m crouched on all fours, hands in this sticky mess in the middle of the hallway floor. The house is dark and the sun has gone down. I’m not supposed to be picked up for another hour and there’s no phone in this house. I left my cell in the car with my aunt when I was dropped off. There are no lights on and I’m kind of afraid to turn one on.
I can see only about a third or maybe one half of the living room. I have that eerie, hair raising feeling that someone or some thing is watching me from in there. The hallway is very dark so I don’t see how they would be able to see me but who knows. So far, I’m crouched next to the open bathroom door, hands covered in ick, and I don’t want to go further and get whatever this is on my jeans. I don’t know if I have much of a choice.
Deep breaths. No, wait, no deep breaths. Deep breaths are loud and I need to be quiet. Okay, let’s think this through and not be the idiot that goes up the stairs instead of out the door when they’re being chased. Deep breaths are a bad idea. Moving is a bad idea. Let’s take calm, slow, quiet breaths. Yes, nice and easy, easy and quiet. In through the nose, calm your heartbeat. Let’s just think.
Grandma is not in the bedroom and I’m going to bet that she’s not in the bathroom, either. There would seem to be something in the living room and I can hear something. Maybe an occasional click? The front door is to my right, around the corner and through the living room. The back door is to my left, around the corner and through the kitchen but that leads into the backyard where that shed is. Nothing but fences for that route. Let’s see… Through the kitchen on the right is a garage. There won’t be any tools in there but there may be a rake or even a shovel, if I’m lucky. Grandma doesn’t get to have many things that could be considered a weapon or do a good amount of damage. Hell, I don’t even think there’s anything larger than a dollar-store steak knife in this house.
Listen, breathe, think. That clicking sound… I know what that is. If I lean a little forward, I can just see the digital display of Grandma’s radio that sits next to her recliner. The light on the display gives me a little comfort as I listen. The sound is breathing but it’s raspy. Like someone with pneumonia or bronchitis and they’ve got gunk in their throat. There’s a raspy inhale, very quiet, but I can hear the occasional stuttered exhale and that click as air tries to force its way around something in the pipe.
What if it’s Grandma? What if she needs help? I might be a dipshit in a lot of ways but calling out in the dark, crouched in a pool of god knows what, after finding a filleted dog is not the particular type of dipshittery in which I generally engage. If only that stupid dog were in here. It makes so much noise and thinks it’s a German tank rather than a mangy, mini poodle. It probably would have found Grandma by now or attacked whatever it is that is making those sounds in the living room and then probably would have pissed on the edge of the couch.
Wait, what if I’m crouching in piss? No, no, keep your thoughts straight. You can’t go off on thinking tangents right now. We have to figure out a way out of this. Let’s see, weapons. Let’s think about weapons. The guest bedroom has next to nothing in it and Grandma’s bedroom has just about the same amount. There might be a cane in there. A cane would be good. What else? Think… A dresser, a bed, a night stand. I’m not feeling around in the night stand in the dark. Under the bed is only shoes and her traveling suit case. In the closet there is just clothes and those cheap ass wire hangers. Wire hangers!
Thank you, Mommy Dearest! That is an excellent idea! I could take a wire hanger and turn it into a weapon. Like a senior citizen shank. All I have to do is creep slowly backwards, into Grandma’s room. Maybe shut the door when I get in there or at least get it close to shut so that I’d have some time to react if anyone or any thing came through the door way. Yes, perfect. I can still hear that breathing but, if I concentrate, I might be able to slip silently backwards and monitor it for any change. It’s funny how much you can hear when a house is supposed to be silent. Odd how sound travels when your nerves are on edge.
I lean forward and take one more peak into the living room and something moves in front of that digital display. Slowly blocking the light and then moving back. Like it swayed? I don’t know. I just need to get out of here. I’m going for it. I’m slowing moving backward now. Trying not to bump into anything with my feet, quick, hurried looks over my shoulder to gauge my distance to the doorway. Almost there. Eyes forward, darting between the entrance to the kitchen and what remaining living room area that I have in my view. I can hear the carpet wheezing as I press the weight of my knee or palm down with each movement. It’s almost as loud as my breathing.
I think I’m far enough into the room to where I can swing that door shut. I kind of don’t want to stand up in the full, open doorway. I’ll just do it while I’m still on my hands and knees. It’s dark in here but I can use my hand to feel along the wood of the door until I find the end. Tracing just one finger because I’m worried that the sound of my palm would be too much friction and create unwanted noise. There’s the edge of the door. Okay, now just to gently swing it closed in front of me. Slowly so that I don’t accidentally shut it and have the latch make noise. Halfway there, going good. –creeeeeek—
Shit! Hold steady, don’t move. Just listen… Nothing. Silence. What I wouldn’t give to hear that stupid dog’s yapping right now. Perhaps not moving is a stupid thing to do. I mean, isn’t this where the monster has the time to creep up on the person as their hiding and then do their “jump out and scare the shit out of you” moment? Yeah, I need to light a fire under my ass. Adrenaline is the only thing that’s going to get me out of this house alive.
Okay, on my feet, find a hanger in the closet. The window curtains are closed so there’s no real light to work with and I can’t open them because they’re on those metal rings on a metal rod and the screeching would be worse than nails on a chalkboard in this silent house. Fumbling carefully, I find a hanger and gently slide it off of the rail in the closet. I can feel where the metal is twisted around itself but, for the literal life of me, I can’t get it to unwind. It’s too strong and I sure as shit don’t pack a pair of pliers on the regular. I’m just going to have to find another way.
I straighten the hook out to make a sharp point and test it on my free hand. It’s sharp, it would hurt, it would at least scratch like hell. I need another one, though. Finding a second one actually seemed easier than the first. Once I have my “weapons” fashioned, I think I’m ready. Here’s my plan: I’m going to go out the bedroom door on my feet, go quietly down the hall, stop at the end, listen, and, with any luck, just run toward the front door with my wire Wolverine spikes swinging. Couple of fast jabs with these bad boys and I should be able to at least surprise something enough to give me enough time to get the door open.
One foot in front of the other. Quiet as a mouse. Get the door open enough to slide through, into the hallway. Something is starting to smell funny in the house. No idea what it is but it’s just a hint of that foulness that seems sticky in your throat. At the end of the hallway. Time to stop and listen. I can see the read out on the digital clock and the light stays steady. Whatever had moved in front of it before doesn’t seem to be keeping it’s vigil. Okay, all I have to do is bolt to the right and the door can’t be more than maybe 15 feet in that direction. Here goes.
I put one foot forward, gently on the carpet, and prepare my runner’s stance when something moves in front of the display. Not swaying; it’s fast this time. I hear that raspy, clicking breath getting louder as it’s coming straight for me. I scream. I can’t help it. I’m terrified so I scream. As I’m bolting toward the door, it tries to tackle me. I’m slashing and screaming and fighting for my life. It’s got me with wet, slippery arms, it’s almost growling it’s rotting breath into my face and then I feel it: a stabbing pain in my shoulder and hot blood rushing down, thickening the fabric on my sleeve. The thing bit me!
I slash in the general area of the breath and hear something sort of pop and then the thing lets out a high-pitched shriek. It falls to the floor and I seize my moment. I don’t go straight out the front door only to be tackled and drug back in. Oh no, I’m going to stop this thing once and for all. I kick it and punch it until the unearthly shrieking stops, until there’s no sound anymore. My hands are covered in sticky blood and whatever ooze that things arms were covered in. I’m panting and out of breath but I’ve done it. I survived. Now I just need to get the hell out of here and the cops can find grandma. I’m not spending another minute in this house!
Opening the front door, I’m greeted with a nice, crisp and cool burst of fresh air. It makes me realize just how unholy that thing smells. My stomach is queasy and I think I’m going to be sick. My entire body is shaking from the adrenaline after-shocks. I can’t believe this is happening. I need to find someone to call the police and tell them what happened. I take a look back into the living room, now illuminated with golden street lamp glory, and I see it on the floor.
Oh shit. I’d better close the door. My ride should be here soon. But, now… Now I don’t know if I should leave.
If you enjoyed this and would like more of my writing, please feel free to check out my novel Discernment on Amazon. It’s also free through the Kindle lending library.