by V. Evelyn
Suddenly I am awaken by what may have been a noise of some kind, or maybe it is just the feeling that I now have that I am not alone in my home. I can definitely sense an odd kind of presence around me. I just hate that feeling of unawares after waking from a deep sleep. Disoriented about where you are or not knowing how long you've been asleep. It's like waking from a bad dream and not remembering a damn thing. You're only left with an ominous sense of foreboding. That is what's happening to me right now.
Though I am listening closely, the sounds that I'm hearing at this moment are altogether familiar to me. Coupled with the fact that the sound of my own breathing has become somewhat erratic. All the same, they are the normal sounds one hears in their home on a daily basis. No others are out of the ordinary as of yet. But in order to recess this current sensation that I have, I must, right now, summon all the courage I can to move from this spot, where I feel trapped in by bed, and reassure myself that I am not being paranoid.
Yes, I'm frightened and I do live alone, but now that I have more room I've been considering buying a dog, a big one. Mostly, it would be for the companionship as well as not having to come home every day to an empty place. As a bonus, I would have available protection at my disposal plus a devoted friend.
Paralysis is keeping me at a standstill as I strain once more to listen intently for any foreign noise. My eyes dart around the room trying to catch the barest trace of movement. Which would be unlikely for darkness covers like a shroud. My body temperature is rising to about a hundred degrees though I have yet to make a single move from my frozen position. I begin to get really pissed and start to lose it when I hear it, an indistinct sound. There it is again. plink!
Maybe it could be something outside brushing up against the window. Nevertheless, it is something, however faint the sound. Unable to determine the exact location of its'orgin, one thing is for sure, and that is it is not in the room with me. That is all I need to propel me from my bed as quickly and quietly as possible. With one leg I kick the covers to one side and slip down onto the floor and listen. On hands and knees I crawl over to the door for my eyes are still adjusting to the darkness. My autopilot takes over carrying me in the direction I should go.
There I stop to listen… listen… and listen some more before I am able to reach up and open the door that leads into the upstairs hall. To my horrific surprise it is already slightly ajar. This does not make me feel any better. What if someone was watching me while I slept? Sure it's possible I didn't fully close the door all the way when I went to bed earlier. Just the same, this does not sit well with me at all.
My body starts to shiver as coldness goes through me swiftly. If I didn't get a hold of myself soon, surely hysteria will surface followed by convulsions, which in fact will not help my situation. Wrapping my arms around me as far as I can get them, I begin to squeeze as tightly as I can, controlling my shakes as best I can. I don't know what I should do next because I am so afraid. If this is all my imagination I will feel stupid. But it's hard to think clearly when your mind is muddled with sleep and fear, at the same time the thought that this could very well be my last night on earth. THINK, DAMN IT, THINK.
I want to scream out loud but don't, for fear if I do it would probably force the intention of the intruder's purpose. If he's already been up here and didn't harm me, maybe that was the end of it. Maybe the intruder was only here to steal from me and nothing else. Instead, inside my head I silently scream 'HELP, HELP ME SOMEBODY' where I know it was safe if anyone was listening for me. Then all of a sudden the words pop into my head…the phone.
I can actually see the white letters form as they float across my eyes. Why didn't I think of it at first? With the phone being right next to me on the nightstand that would have been my first action. Then again, it would not have been practical for me to place a call without first investigating what might turn out to be nothing at all. That would be too paranoid even for me. I am almost convinced that that's all it is when I hear….eeegk. It came just as I was turning to retrace my steps over to the nightstand and dialed 911.
Holding the headset in my hand, bringing it to my ear, my heart begins to somersault as I listen for a dial tone that never came. I think I hear someone breathing on the other end when it could just be the sound of my very own breathing filling my ears. Right now I'm so scared I'm about ready to POP. I won't be in any shape to help myself. My cell phone would be handy if it wasn't recharging in its unit on the hall table downstairs. Of all the places for it to be at this moment, especially when I need to have it most. I don't know how many times I threatened to bring the whole thing in my room. But noooooo. There was always some excuse for not doing it..
Now I'm trapped in here with no connection to the outside world. The only way for me to get out alive is to get downstairs without being seen or heard, and get through the door without getting killed. Rising now with my back against the wall, the fingers on my hands splayed out at my side, opening and closing, trying to tap into some energy force that might give me some answers to a way out. I am at a loss for what my next move will be and the reaction it might bring from my intruder. Yes, he is indeed my intruder now, and we are the only two people that exist. By some fluke this could all be a horrible dream that any minute I will wake from with a full bladder then trot off to the bathroom to relieve myself.
Before I can finish that thought I distinctly hear something hit the floor with a 'thud.' The sound is more distant than muffled, but travels around corners, up stairs, and down the hall to get to my bedroom. That means that whoever is down there is in the living room where most of the valuable stuff is. My guess could be wrong, but if I'm right I can slip down the stairs and go out by the garage door through the kitchen. No doubt about it the intruder is downstairs. The only other room up here is the second bedroom, unfurnished, and the bath.
This two-bedroom condo was a good purchase for me six months ago. When I went into the sales office that day, there was a man already in the office with the agent explaining why he had to back out of the agreement to buy, and wondered if he would be able to get his deposit back. I don't know what the agent told him for as soon as I came into the office, she got up from behind her desk to say that she'll be with me in just a moment, and then close her office door.
So I waited and waited for twenty minutes to speak with the sales agent about any vacancies. When the man finally left, he apparently had what he came for and looked pleased. I told her why I was there and she showed me one of two apartments available with one bedroom. It was cute but truly for a single occupant and it was smaller than the one I already had. The floor plan was the same but opposite and located in different units. I stated my place was a little bigger then thanked her for showing it to me. I remember as I turned to leave that she mentioned this two-bedroom that just became available and offered to show it to me.
"You'll be the first to have a look at it before it goes back on the market."
Since I was already there I figured what harm would it do to just have a look. When we pulled up in front I fell in love. For it was beautiful on the outside and I imagined it was just as beautiful on the inside. We entered by the door in the double garage into an alcove that was both a sort of mudroom and laundry area. It was big and well lit by the window at the end of the short hall to my left, and to my right was a half-bath. A slight curve to the left also led into the kitchen that was large enough to hold a small dinette set. The dining area was on a raised platform where two sets of double-doors led to the patio and the backyard.
You went down three steps and you were in the family room large enough to hold a wide screen TV. I liked that this room was slightly obscured giving more privacy. At the front of the condo were two smaller rooms that were probably suited as the den on the left and an office on the right hidden by a sliding door. The stairs, of course led to the two bedrooms and baths. The skylight poured the sunlight onto a nooked tucked away on the upstairs landing in the corner that would be perfect for a lounger or a big comfy chair for reading, and part of the family down stairs. I think it was designed for just that purpose.
All I know is that I was hooked and I wrote a check for the down payment that day. Two weeks later I was getting ready to move. Just out the blue I took a chance and went looking even though I wasn't thinking of moving at the time. It felt like the right move to make at the time because this place was meant for me. And now somebody has violated my space, touching my things with vile hands and making me feel unsafe in my home. Well, I'm not going to wait here until he comes for me; I'm going to run him out. With my mind made up I slide over to the closet and push open the door just enough to slip my hand in and grab hold of the baseball bat that I keep inside. Holding it close to my body somehow gave me back a little courage that had started to leave me. As quietly as I can I move over to the door that let into the upstairs hall and push it open far enough to squeeze through. Still holding the bat close to me I manage to get close enough to the banister to look over its sides at the downstairs.
There is no one that I can see from here. But I can still hear a faint sound of someone moving around. One foot in front of the other, I begin to move ever so carefully towards the top of the landing. There I stop to breathe, in and out, in and out, and breathe some more 'til I am ready to proceed further as I shakily raise the bat a little higher over my shoulder. It has never felt so heavy as it did at this moment, but I hold it as steady as best I can with my wet, sticky hands. I slowly start my descent; my legs feel like wet noodles as I count off the steps one by one. Three down, six more to go and then I'll be in it for real. I'm not sure if he knows that I'm here but whoever it is is about to find out.
I was supposed to have gone out of town for the weekend with my girlfriends. By now they are probably having a good time partying, laughing hard and just blowing off steam. I just hope that I live through this night so that I can make next month's trip. But I didn't mention this trip to anyone. I only cancelled it late Friday afternoon when my boss approached me around two-thirty with a 'situation' that they were having and asked me for my input. That turned out to take up the rest of the day, my plans for the weekend and I have to be back in the office on a Saturday morning. But instead of taking a much needed break, I get to stay home and be frightened out of my wits at some ungodly hour, just so I can sneak around in the dark with a baseball bat in my hands, so I can knock this fool out of my home.
My mind is made up. I've come this far into this hellish game; I just can't stand here any longer with my bat held high like some kind of slugger in a nightgown. No more pussyfooting around with this guy. The time is right now to face my night visitor. Marching down the remaining steps I start to say a prayer for strength and courage to do what needs to be done. I can hear more sounds, clearly now, coming from the living room. Not that the sound itself had grown louder, it is the fact that I've gotten closer to where it originates.
As I take the last step down, the coolness from the flooring penetrates through the thickness of my socks, electrifying every frayed nerve ending in my body. But I continue to move on with my back pressed against the wall tightly, moving ahead, and sliding forward as though I'm on a conveyor belt. No longer am I willing to let the fear deter me. For I am determine now, more than ever, to not let my intruder force me from my home in the middle of the night.
I can now make a run for it since I am so close to the door, but I just can't do it. I have to see. I have to see what is taking place at this dreadful hour of night, and to see who is brazen enough to do so while I was asleep upstairs.
Maybe I hadn't noticed it before, but there is a smell of some sort. I could not be sure, however, but it seems it is a combination of various different scents all at once. One minute it reminds me of the time when I was little, watching my mom bake peanut butter cookies and the way it made the whole house smelled. Then on to the time when I was standing on the corner after a hard rain, and when the sun came out the strong scent of urine was enough to make me gag. There was an odor of blood. Then came the scent of honeysuckle. Quickly they change from one to the next without lingering but I am left me feeling quite nauseated. Moving a little further down the hall brings my left hip in contact with the corner of the hall curio. The sharp pain and the bruise I knew that will make its appearance later, paled in comparison to the object that is sitting on top, resting in its charger. Wrapping my fingers around the cell phone gives me some welcome comfort of which I desperately need to feel. But it isn't over yet.
Quickly, I punch in 911 and hesitate. Yes, I hesitate with my thumb poised over the send button. I don't know if it is the light that causes me to do so, or the fact that I suddenly hear my name being whispered that does it. Either way, this shit has reached the final leg in the race to be funny on the laugh meter, and it is well past the time for me to haul ass up out of here. Turning to do just that, my name is whispered once again; Sanji
"What the hell," I hear myself say out loud for the first time since this whole nightmare began. Though spoken softly, the sound of my voice is strange to me. It is even stranger for me to feel than it should have been. Yet, I am beginning to feel that someone must be playing a game with me, and maybe it is time for me to take a closer look and call a few shots of my own. I am perplexed by what I should do; leave, go, stay or fight. But finally my anger spins me back around toward the living room and
I march, still very much afraid, the three and half steps to stand squarely in the doorway with my bat held high with both hands, ready.
The atrocity that is before me is of nothing I could ever imagine in my thirty-one years. It is a horrendous sight to behold in the middle of my living room. So much so, that the pitch level of screaming that I hear is deafening. It doesn't sound at all like it could be human. Yet it sounds more like a metal screeching, guttural howl that dips down scavenging the lowest, murky regions of the human soul. It is a sound that penetrates all boundaries of my being until it can no longer be contained, forcing its way out through every pore of my skin. It's the final cry when the sheerest of all hope has fade away. Only then that I realize that it is I, Sanji McCormick, who is emitting this bone chilling sound. Combined both with the fear that I have and the knowledge of my impending defeat.
This is the night of my death. I am sure of it. Just as sure as I can see the headlines posted in The Constitution in my mind's eye; "Strange Killings of Women Has Claimed Its Fifth Victim." My friends and family will find my collapsed body days from now lying on the floor in my sheer nightie holding a baseball bat that was of no use to me. They will look upon my twisted body and wonder about the horrific events that took place late in the night. They will be sickened by the appearance of my face. In short, they will be in awe of the whole discovery.
The strangeness of it all would be that each victim before me had been found with the same holes in their bodies. These holes were not made from any gun. They had been drilled into their head and chest by some object the police had yet to identify. At the time when this information was released this disturbs me. Now I know why they were being so evasive. It is because they were truly baffled by the murders and could not offer any other explanations. Though sadly enough I won't be around to tell my story to anyone or shed any light on what is about to take place. I'll just be another unsolved murder on the police's hands.
As this evil thing moves towards me, I am impotent in my own defense to survive my oncoming attack. Fear has frozen me in time that I am resigning to stand here and wait. Wait for the darkness to come and surround me forever as it did with the four women before me. And believe me when I say there will be others who will come after this night. They, too, will share in this same unimaginable experience and become a part of quite a unique club. I should have run out the door when I had the chance, but now it is too late for me.