When I got home that night, I saw that the smiling Jack-O-Lantern was crushed.
I immediately sobered up, all my senses having been rebooted to a maximum. My muscles tightened as my eyes started looking for suspects. There was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary except what was once the only source of light in our garden. And now it was only bits and pieces. The dim light from the street lamp only enhanced the frightening, eerie feeling of the darkness, creating shadows that threw me back to that painful memory. Since that incident, I expect the worst in every situation. In that moment though, I tried shaking the panic off, remembered how much I was overreacting and walked slowly towards the front door of my empty house.
When my fingerprint refused to open the door, I knew something was wrong. I frenetically started looking for the back door key while I could almost hear my heart pounding at an astonishing pace. To make matters worse, the air was heavy with a mysterious mist and a cool light drizzle, which quickly turned into a heavy rain. I felt the drops on the back of my neck while I was running towards the door. Luckily I had no problems entering the house this time and I felt somewhat relieved, trying to slow down my breathing. Nevertheless, the moment I closed the door, a very disturbing feeling crawled inside of me like a black cat on the prowl.
I felt around the walls, reaching for the light switch at once but to my despair it didn’t work. The scary dark thoughts were overtaking my judgment and I wanted to scream for Henry. But he wasn’t there tonight and I had to pull myself together. Yet I couldn’t move or think at all. I stood frozen in that awful silence for a moment, eyes on the eerie-lit wall clock right in front of me. There was something very strange about that clock. It should definitely not have been in that place. “What the fuck?!” The level of panic reached new limits and I was already loudly repeating my mantra “you are only exaggerating”, “you are only exaggerating”. Faking a state of calm and control, I thought about my key flashlight and pulled it with shaking hands from my purse. When I turned it on, my chest tightened and a shiver coursed down my spine.
I jumped back, as my legs went weak. The glow from the flashlight hardly illuminated a few meters in front of me but I could clearly decipher the shapes of the furniture and the shadows it was creating. The dim light revealed something that my brain could not comprehend. It seemed like the whole kitchen was redecorated, the furniture moved around. At that moment the lights went suddenly on and I dropped my flashlight on the floor, my vision turning black for a moment, while I recognized my house more than 10 years ago. For a second I was so paralyzed that I couldn’t even scream. “It must be a dream” I thought, trembling with horror. After what seemed to me as hours, I started looking around, stunned.
Walking through the kitchen and into the living room, still perplexed at what I was experiencing, I recognized the old curtains. The small couch. The broken TV. Subjects such as paranormal, the existence of different dimensions or time travel for that matter, were until now very far from my belief and my conservative perception of reality. This was absurd! But just when I was about to reach for the desk calendar, I heard the back door slowly creak open. That awful sound was more than familiar to me and insanity possessed me instantly. Because I knew what was about to happen and before the sinister black smoke came creeping in the kitchen, I ran hysterical towards the front door. Feeling how the madness was rushing through my blood, I cracked the door open and run through the garden for my life. The ground was wet and I slipped, crushing the Jack-O-lantern that Henry gave me for my 30th birthday. Freaked out, I ran further, losing myself in the night.