You grab a flashlight and head out into the stormy night. You could swear someone is squatting in the abandoned house across the street.
You slip around to the back and crouch down when you get to the first window. You stretch your neck to look in, but the blinds are pulled. You reach the French doors and try to pick at the lock. It doesn’t work. The small basement window is your last chance. You don’t even know if you will fit through it, but you’ve got to try.
The rain is coming down harder and there is a slow rumble of thunder off in the distance. You pry out the screen and try to kick the window in, but you slip on the wet grass. You grab the bottom edge of the house and try swinging yourself at the window. You put all your weight into it and the window detaches partially from the wall. You push the loose side in with your hands and separate it enough to stick your foot through the space to force the window out completely. It falls and crashes onto the hard wood floor, cracking down the center. Someone in the house would have heard it.
Your adrenaline is pumping as you thrust yourself through the opening with your feet first. You’re in. You turn around and search the empty room, then head to the stairs. You are completely soaked and chilled, but you can’t worry about it now. You work your way up the stairs as quietly and quickly as possible. When you reached the top of the staircase, you press your body up against the wall. You lean forward slightly and look around the corner. The coast is clear. Your heart is pumping and your breathing is louder than you want it to be. You hop over to the next wall and move silently across to the kitchen. You side-step and hear a soft crunch. You jump at the sound and look to see where the noise came from. A potato chip is crushed into tiny pieces underneath you. You walk over to the pantry and twist the knob. What you find inside surprises you — bags and bags of potato chips fill each shelf.
You shut the pantry and move on to the living room. The TV looks like it has been collecting dust for weeks. You shine the flashlight around looking for anything out of the ordinary.
A loud crack of thunder erupts. You jump, startled by the closeness of the storm. You need to get a grip. Out of the corner of your eye, you catch something moving. You turn sharply, but only an empty wall stares back at you. You start to turn your head when you catch the movement again. A thin shadow enters the illuminated wall. It stays for just a second, then it leaves the same direction, swinging back and forth through the lit up portion of the wall. Once again you scan the ceiling, resting the flashlight on the hanging fan swinging rhythmically right above your head. That shouldn’t be happening. You turn around sharply, half expecting someone behind you.
“Hello?” You call out just above a whisper.
You glance back up at the still swaying fan. A shiver runs through your body as you back up, still looking around.
The thunder sends you stumbling backward against the coffee table. A crash erupts from the kitchen. Your breathing quickens. You cover your mouth to keep from yelling. Your hand trembles out of pure fear. Your whole body is shaking. There is a creak from a door upstairs. You have to get out of here. You shouldn’t have come in the first place. You sprint to the basement door, dash down the stairs and grab the window ledge to hoist yourself up. You can hear something on the stairs. Your body becomes completely immersed in fear, but your adrenaline forces you to move faster. You thrust yourself forward at the opening and your head collides with the window. Pain shoots through all the way to your spine. You drop to floor, moaning. How can the window be there? A creak on the stair case jolts you back to the situation you are trying to escape from. You get up quickly. Your head swims and everything becomes blurry. You stumble over the couches, looking for the best place to hide, but your brain isn’t thinking clearly. You feel slow and robotic.
Slow, padded steps make their way down the stairs. Your eyes are glued to the door. There is no escape now. A shadowy figure stands at the crack of the door. Your heart is pumping so hard you can hear it pulsing in your ears. You stand there unmoving, not sure what to do. Your head is pounding in your skull. The shadow waits.
In a shaky whisper you force out, “Who are you?”
He steps out of the shadow.