Thursday, June 9, 2011



By: Kristian Gore

He sat alone in the empty house. He hated being alone but he didn’t know how not to be, so he sat and watched TV. He wasn’t really watching it was just noise to keep the silence at bay. Silence would be too much to take and he knew silence would lead to despair for it is one thing to be alone and another to feel alone. He needed the noise if for no other reason than to trick himself into not feeling lonely.

It had been four months since she left and part of him just didn’t want to continue playing the daily game of pretending he was OK. In the end he knew it was for the best. Since he was a child he had been alone more than most. In some ways it was a comfort or a blessing. She of course had found someone else, someone more interesting who thought of things less but he could not help how his mind worked. He always had to question and know how things worked but not practical things or useful things. The things he felt the need to understand were things like gravity and biology. 

The power went out with no warning and he sat in the dark for a few minutes waiting for his eyes to adjust. Once he felt he could see enough by the light of the half moon pouring in through the window he moved to see if he could see any lights down the hill. He wasn’t sure he would be able to even if they had lights since the next house was so far away.

He went to the breaker box using the walls as a guideline and managed to bang his knee into a small table in the hallway that led to the bathroom and the bedrooms. He felt the breakers but everything seemed fine. He wondered if there was a flashlight someplace in the house but if there was he didn’t know where to start looking. If she didn’t take them there may be candles in the bedroom. Feeling through the drawer he found a candle she must have missed and then tried to think how to light it.

The kitchen is where his search ended with an old book of matches from a club she had dragged him to. He lit the small scented candle that provided a small amount of light and an aroma of sugar cookies. For a second when his eyes were adjusting to the new light source he thought something had moved but he thought perhaps it was a simple trick of the light as he started to move back to the living room.

He sat and thought about what to do next but his mind kept wandering back to her. The silence was stark but he slowly became aware of something beneath the silence. At first he thought it was his own breathing but there was something off about it. He held his breath and listened closely and carefully. At first he thought it was nothing maybe his mind playing tricks but no there was something breathing low raspy breaths. His mind panicked and he was too scared to move.

He started to think of the type of animals that lived out this way and wondered if maybe it was a bear. He thought maybe if he didn’t move it would go out the way it came so he waited in the dim candlelight for the creature of his imagination to move or go away. He tried to gage the direction of his supposed bear but was having a difficult time of it. After a while he decided it must be in the hall or one of the bedrooms so he decided to move towards the kitchen to get a knife he could defend himself with if it came to it.

He remembered his cell phone but it was in the bedroom and service was hit or miss out here. Still he had to think of some way to reach the phone and call for help. In the kitchen he found a knife he deemed suitable and then saw the door that led out into the garage and his car but the best he could do is sit in the car since his keys were also in his bedroom. He thought about the contents of the garage and remembered his baseball equipment and the wooden bat.

Armed with the baseball bat in one hand and the candle in the other he edged towards the hallway but now the rasping breath seemed to be behind him. Terrified he started to turn and for a second thought he saw a man over his shoulder before the candle went out. He had felt the breathing this time and he was sure he saw the glimpse of a man before the light went out and he smelled the awful breath. He did not think to swing and instead ran to the bedroom tripping over the same hall table and crawling in and shutting the door behind him.

He locked the door and caught his breath sitting with his back firmly against the door hands clutching the bat. Thoughts raced through his head each demanding his attention until he crawled over to the nightstand and fumbled for his phone checking for signal dialing and redialing 911. It was no use he always had to go outside to use the thing and even if he did get through it would be nearly an hour before they got anyone out this far this late.

He calmed his breathing and stood favoring his bruised knee and gripped the bat tightly not sure what to do next. He listened but could not hear anything beyond the occasional owl outside. He edged towards the door and slowly and quietly unlocked it. He waited for a sound and heard nothing beyond his own stifled breath. He turned the knob slowly and inched the door open gingerly ready to let go and swing the bat at anything that came out of the darkness.

The door open, he edged into the hall and for the third time that night the small table was in his way. He dropped his guard for a moment and the man was on him. He felt the man’s fingernails dig into the wrist that still held the bat and the knife he had discarded in favor of the bat was now sinking into his side. He felt sick as he tried in vain to get the upper hand. He saw the gaunt face of his attacker illuminated by the pale moonlight from the bedroom window. He smelled the rancid breath of his attacker as the blood spilled from the wound in his side and he saw the blade flash just before it reached his throat.

As the life drained out he realized his attacker was drinking his blood and it occurred to him that it might be some time before anyone finds him but then he thought his attacker didn’t come by this behavior just tonight and he knew there would be other victims, and those victims would lead people back to him. He didn’t know why but that thought comforted him somehow. Not that he would kill others but that he would be found.

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