An original short story by Robert J. “Sincados” McCartney
It was a dark and cool night. The kind where the stars littered the sky with their brilliance. The wind was absent, while the air was chilled from the rain some time ago.
A man stirred within a home, set on the middle of a street. He was restless, and parched. He cautiously made his way into the kitchen in the dark. He stopped before the fridge and rubbed his young green eyes; fatigue had long been set. He scratched the back of his scalp, the mess of blond hair peeked through the cracks of his fingertips.
So tired, he thought, man, I’m so tired. I really hope they’re late picking us up. I’ve barely had any sleep. The man thought to himself as he let out a muffled yawn.
He reached into the fridge, the light blinding him temporarily, searching for a bottle of whiskey. His pale hand finally caught reminiscence of the bottle marked with “Jack Daniels.” He grinned to himself as he found his friend and confidant.
He then heard a creak outside, on what he believed to be the deck to the backyard. He chuckled to himself as he was so easily startled.
Probably an animal again, he thought
As gravity maintained its order, closing the fridge door behind the man, he walked across the kitchen into the living room. His silhouette elongated his tall figure above the wall and ceiling. He picked up the empty glass on the dark oval coffee table, then retreated back to the kitchen. He then heard another creak. . .this time on the front porch.
Okay, that’s a little too freaky. . .hmm. . .
The man put the glass and bottle of whiskey down on the kitchen counter top, and walked cautiously to the front window and peered out into the night. Nothing. . . He saw nothing on the doorstep, nor in view, but the street and neighbors’ lights. He shrugged it off, and went back to the counter where his drink sat. . .waiting.
He poured a glassful and began drinking the contents immediately. He looked down at the bottle of empty pills. Shortly thereafter, he heard an ominous creaking on the deck again, followed by a tapping on the window. The tapping increased exponentially, causing him to grow fearful.
It all seemed too coincidental.
What the hell?
He reached for his handgun and hunting knife that were stored high above in a kitchen cabinet. Slowly, he crept towards the back door, passing the laundry, and bathroom. . .the path lit only by sporadic nightlights. He approached the back door, and cautiously unlocked the door. He opened it and found. . .nothing. Nothing but the twilight greeted him, the cool air rushing against his warm face. He closed the door and locked it tight, just as he had found it, and withdrew his weapons. He stumbled back through the house, where he had heard the tapping on the window. He pulled back the curtains. . .nothing. Nothing was there but the night.
I must be really tired. . .or maybe it’s the pills. . .
He smirked, and let out another deep yawn.
He walked through the living room, and made way to his daughter’s, and his wife’s bedrooms. . .both slept soundly. As he went to go check on his daughter again, only to just turn a light off, he heard the same haunting sounds. . .
This time he went to the window of his daughter’s room, and drew back the curtains. To his horror, several groups of eyes fixated upon him—twitching, blinking, glaring—with more slowly populating outside the window pane.
He closed the curtains with haste. . .masking whatever was out there. The tapping then evolved into scraping. . .not only at the windows, but at the doors all over the house—the sound was becoming louder with every passing moment. The young man scooped up his slumbering daughter, and rushed her to his and his wife’s room. He urgently woke her and told her what events were taking place outside, and to call 911.
As his wife reached for the telephone and dialed, there was only static, and a mocking laughter that could be heard on the other end of the line. She even tried with the cell phone, only to find it yielding the same results. The laughter began to whisper. . .
“No—o one c—an s—ave you.”
She dropped the phone one the ground as it cackled maniacally back at their apparent impending doom. Here they found themselves alone. . .trapped. The scraping and tapping became louder. . .near deafening and more forceful. The man feared for his family, for whatever was outside, wanting to try and get in, would surely kill them all unmercifully.
The thought became apparent to him then. If I’m going to die. . .I’m going to die defending them. . .
The young man readied his weapons, as he took a final glance back at his horrified wife and still slumbering child, “Stay here!”
He made his way to his daughter’s window, and slid it open. He slashed wildly and blindly at whatever was outside the window. There was a loud shriek, followed by a thud on the pavement. The man then shut the window and rushed to the front door. He took a breath and then quickly unlocked the front door, and fired a few shots from his handgun out into the night. Screams of again were heard, followed by a tremendous weight that was sent crashing to the ground. The man closed the door and bolted it shut.
After several moments, the haunting ended. . . The man mustered the courage to open the door, to see just what it was that was plaguing him and his family at this hour. The horror of his life came to pass as to what he found upon his doorstep. There laid the familiar silhouette of a man. . .a shot to the chest, and two shots in his head. In his arms, the man cradled a small girl who, by the looks, had seized up. . .and a hole that bored through her small head into the man’s heart. Both laid dead in a bloody mess. The young man ran out and checked the side of his house where his daughter’s window shared with the driveway. He found another familiar silhouette. . .this one of a woman—dead—her body slashed up, and her throat slit. In her hand she held a small pebble, bloodied from her own blood.
The man panicked at the sight before his eyes, and rushed back towards the entrance of his house. Out front, there was a red sedan—the insides were torn, battered, and smashed to hell. He stumbled through the darkness, back into his home to tell his wife of what he found. He entered his home, and made his way to find his wife and daughter—both dead. . . His wife’s throat was slit, while his daughter laid with a hole in her small head.
No. . .No. . .N—no no no no!
His eyes widened, and he collapsed to his knees before his bed.
Did. . .did. . . did I? No—no. . .I
He then rushed for his daughter’s room, and gazed out the misty twilight where the familiar woman laid. He found. . .nothing. He ran back to his wife and daughter. The door to the bedroom was now closed. . .whereas. . .when he left it, it was open. Slowly, he tapped on the door, and motioned to open the door. The door flung open, darkness inside it wholly. . . Gunfire erupted from within it. Here, at the doorway, he collapsed. Darkness grew around him, as did the cold that soaked him to the marrow and through. As the frigid darkness embraced him and took him in, he felt life escape him entirely.
He shot up from the stool in the kitchen. Another nightmare. . . He moved the empty glass and bottle on the counter, next to the now empty bottle of anti-depressant and sleeping pills. He shuffled his way back to the bedroom where his wife and daughter once laid. The door slowly closed behind him. The sound of a “click” was heard. . .like that of a hammer on a handgun. All there was. . .was sobbing. . .and then silence.
Outside, a white van had arrived and honked its horn. The driver hopped out and went to knock on the door, only to find it ajar. He opened it up to find no one at first. He yelled out if anyone was home, but only found silence. He wandered to the bedroom, where he knew the man slept. He opened the door to find the man in bed. . .alone. . .dead, with a bullet hole in his head.