The Window

Slam.

What was that. I jolt upright. It’s pitch black and I can’t even see my fingers five inches from my face. It’s cold in my room. Where’d the sheets go? I see a slightly lighter patch on my dark wooden floor, I must have kicked them off last night. It’s early. Early as in I-shouldn’t-be-awake-yet early. I have to get myself up and look decent for work in a few hours. Big presentation. Nervous.

Stop it. Focus. The loud noise. What was it? Not the closet. I see the shine of the toe of my black shoes ready for the morning. Not the bedroom door. I can see a patch of light making the dust on the floor almost twinkle. It’s getting lighter outside. No. That’s the moon again. It’s so bright. Hold on. The curtain is moving.

It’s November. I didn’t leave that open. Hell, I crank up that heat as high as I can afford this time of the year. This doesn’t make sense. If I heard something slam, why would the window be open?

I see something sitting on the floor, below the open window. Twinkling. I need to clean this fucking house. Wait. It’s more of a… glisten. Looks like water. Rain. I get up to close the window. No. Think. The moon is bright and stars are out and there are no clouds in sight. That does look a little dark to be water..

My eyes are adjusted. The window isn’t just open. The glass is broken. Gone almost completely except for a few visible shards on the sill and several sharp edges poking out of the crimson pool staining my floor.

I hear something creak. A door hinge. My kitchen door hinge. Who the fuck is in my house.

I get up. Fear is stiffening my legs but curiosity is propelling me forwards. Could be the cat. Fucking rag leaves for weeks at a time and comes back with parts ripped off. No. Not even that tough little thing could shatter a second story window from the outside.

I’m walking now. I‘m feeling as though my body is moving itself down the stairs as I run through scenarios in my head. Burglar. Vampire. Poltergeist. Escaped convict. Bloodthirsty psychopath.

I’m getting closer to the bottom of the stairs. My body is slowing down. Adrenaline running out. But I can’t go back now.

I hear him. It. Breathing deeply. Fast, though. Scratchy. I’m leaning closer to the doorway to stay out of sight when I jump. A glass bottle was just dropped and I know this because I see shards side to the foot of the stairs. Another noise. Low, deep. Almost like — I don’t even want to say it — a growl.

My body freezes. When I say this, I literally mean frozen. Unable to blink. Breathe. I am beyond fear at this point. A motionless vessel awaiting my fate. Scratch that. I’m fucking terrified.

I hear footsteps edging toward me, dragging across the linoleum. Closer than expected. Was it coming up anyway? With the footsteps comes a horrible stench. Ripe, rotting flesh. I don’t know what would be worse: if the smell was coming from this thing or its last meal.

It’s so close to me. The horrid smell and the threatening growl are lessening the gap between certain death and my still frozen-solid-body. It’s slowing down now. But coming nonetheless. My eyes couldn’t be opened any wider.

Oh my god.

Slam.

I jolt upright. Sweating. The color red seems to be painted to the back of my eyelids. I rub my eyes but I can’t make it go away. What. A. Nightmare.

I shiver. I look over and get out of bed to close the window.

The fucking window.