Strigoi (Part 9)

When the electricity went out, Lina was in Cheeky’s room nursing her in the rocking chair and Daniel was in his office sending off prescriptions via email to local pharmacists. She could hear Daniel utter a curse when everything went black, which made her assume he was in the middle of sending an important email. Lina stood up and peeked outside the window, curious as to what had caused the lights to go out. It wasn’t raining, as a matter of fact the weather was clear, stars twinkling across the night sky. She walked in Daniel’s office while holding and nursing Cheeky, he was checking the batteries in a flashlight. “I’m going to check the breaker box”, he said walking out of the room. “Danny, the whole neighborhood lights are out, including the street lights”. Looking puzzled, Daniel walked to the living room, opened the front door and stood on the porch. The air was unusually humid and warm for a March night. He looked over at Ms. Webster’s home; it was pitch black dark. “Lina, call Ms. Webster and see if she’s okay. I’m going to walk over there and check on her”. After seeing Lina turn around and walk towards the cordless phone sitting on the kitchen counter, Daniel walked over to the house. As he walked across the lawn towards Ms. Webster’s home, a loud snap made him stop. It sounded as though someone stepped on a twig, making Daniel turn towards the direction of the noise. The noise came from the woods across the street. Daniel mentally kicked himself for not bringing his gun with him, trying to decide whether he should go back in the house, get the gun, or just go check on Ms.Webster. Daniel decided on the latter, thinking that he was overreacting and it was probably a fox running through the woods.

When Daniel reached the front porch, he rang the door bell. He heard two voices, shuffling, and the door unlocking. “Oh hey Danny. The lights are out on the whole block”, Ms. Webster said as she walked out on the porch. She was followed by a tall black man with short dreads, who was wearing a pair of stone washed black jeans, a white tee shirt and socks but no shoes. Daniel recognized him as the man who panhandles in the town square, by the stores and shops. Daniel didn’t know how Ms. Webster knew the man, but he always saw him doing odd jobs around her house every couple of days or so. The man appeared to look nervous, looking around, stepping off of the porch, looking around the yard and peering closely at the woods. “Ms. Webster must have told him about the Peeping Tom”, Daniel thought. Daniel thought the man to be honorable for making sure that Ms. Webster was safe tonight. “Oh. This is Roy. You probably saw him earlier today. I asked him to stay over with me, until the morning. The town is so small, they should catch the pervert by then”, Miss Webster laughed.

“Has the deputy sent someone to drive through? I haven’t heard a car driving around, but then again I’ve been in my office most of the evening working”, Daniel said, looking around. “No, I haven’t heard or seen a car and I’ve been looking out the windows and doors all evening”, Miss Webster said. Roy walked back up on the porch, looking behind himself while doing so. The look on Roy’s face, caught Daniel’s attention. It wasn’t a look of concern or a protective stance. It was fear.

Lina had just laid Cheeky down in her crib when she heard a tapping noise coming from the window in the baby’s room. At first she ignored it, thinking it was probably a branch gently hitting the window. But then the tapping became rhythmic, as if someone was trying to get her attention. Lina’s breath caught in her throat remembering the man who was standing in her back yard, watching her through the window. Lina crept towards the window, while making herself believe that she was overreacting. That it was a branch that was tapping on the window. She stood in front of the window, hand clutching the curtain. Lina quickly snatched the curtain open and what she saw made her gasp for air. Lina ran to the crib, grabbed Cheeky and ran out of the house as fast as she could screaming for Daniel.