Thunder rolled in the distance. Rows of tightly packed homes sat somber in the growing shadows. The Aspens that lined the quiet street swayed as the wind grew out of the west. A pair of crows circled overhead, agitated by the coming storm.
Meredith hugged her knees as she edged back into the embrace of the soft brown leather armchair. Her oversized hoody almost completely obscured her pale, round face and emotionless hazel eyes. She sat there in the dark, the soft glow of a street light through the living room window not quite reaching her. The clock hanging in the kitchen behind her provided a steady rhythm and was the only other sign of life inside the house.
The nervousness she had felt preparing for the evening subsided, whether through acceptance or the numbness of utter defeat. Either way, the task ahead didn’t seem so difficult now. Meredith surveyed the aging townhouse which she had been renting for the past six months. Pale, bare walls surrounded sparse possessions, scattered about in an attempt to create a sense of home which had not been realized. She wondered off hand what would happen to all of these things when she was gone.
Meredith grabbed a heavy crocheted blanket from the matching armchair to her left; it had been a gift from her maternal grandmother many years ago. In fact, she could not remember a time when the collection of now faded and worn pink and white squares had not been a part of her life. It was one of the only reminders of her childhood that she had left. She dropped her legs down, feet barely touching the floor, and draped the blanket over her lower body. She brushed the hood back off of her head and reached up to turn on a small reading light perched on the shelf to her right. Then she pulled out a note pad and pen that had been stuck in the cushion of the chair, turned to a clean page and began to write.
I’m not sure how this is supposed to work. I didn’t plan this at all, but I don’t see any other way out. I’m not sure that explaining it will make it any better. If it will help anyone understand. Maybe this is only for my benefit. The fact is they are coming for me, tonight. I’m too scared to tell anybody, I’m so tired of nobody believing me. I just can’t take it anymore. I haven’t left the house in five days, I can’t trust anyone here. Why did I come here? I don’t remember any more.
Meredith placed the pad and pen on the arm of the chair and leaned forward for the mug of Darjeeling that was cooling on the coffee table in front of her before sinking back into the warm leather. She brushed a length of chestnut brown hair back behind her right ear and then cupped the large white mug in her hands. So many thoughts were running through her mind. Thoughts of the future, and of her past. She second guessed whether she had locked the front door, the distinct click of the dead bolt no longer sharp in her mind.
Her trance was broken by the blaring ring tone of her cell phone which she had forgotten on the kitchen table. It was like an air raid siren going off in the otherwise quiet room. Meredith closed her eyes and let out a sharp breath in an attempt to calm her racing heart. The phone fell silent, unanswered. She set the mug back on to the coffee table, pulled her feet up beside her and adjusted the blanket. Then she leaned over the note pad, picked up the pen, and continued.
It started almost two weeks ago. Weird noises. Seeing things out of the corner of my eye. I thought I was imagining it at first. Eventually though, I began to hear them in the back of my mind, taunting me. A few days ago I saw them for the first time. They’re horrible. I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do.
Outside the wind battered the living room window as the first drops of rain began to fall. Meredith looked up then and stifled a scream. Through the sheer curtains she could see eyes peering in from the night. The large moss green orbs, mottled with flecks of black, and jagged split pupils. They twitched back and forth as they scanned the room. Meredith sat trembling, her breath coming in short bursts. She peered over the half wall behind her to the window above the kitchen sink, and to the small window high in the back door, they too were filled with searching eyes. We know you’re here, she heard them say, and we’re coming for you.
Meredith jammed the note pad and pen between her thigh and the arm of the chair. She pulled two cobalt blue pill bottles from the front pocket of her hoody out onto the blanket. Tears were streaming down her face as she removed the lid from the smaller bottle. She grabbed the mug of tea in front of her, put the open pill bottle to her lips and emptied the contents into her mouth. Fighting the tremors in her hands she drew deeply from the mug, washing down the powdery mess as the sickening metallic taste overtook her. She repeated with the second bottle, but her aim faltered, causing some of the pills to miss their mark and fall onto her lap to be obscured in the gaps of the blanket. She chewed the mouthful of capsules and followed again with the tea, draining the mug, and then fumbled for the note pad and pen one last time.
They’re right outside. I can hear them now, telling me what they’re going to do to me. They know I’m special. They want my power. But I won’t let them have it. They know what I’ve done but it’s already to late there angry I wont let them get me
Meredith dropped the pen and paper to the floor then curled in on herself. She pulled the hood back over her head and the blanket up to her quivering chin. The dull throbbing of the creatures rage began to drift away. Her eyelids became heavy. On the edge of consciousness, she heard a loud booming which at first she took to be the rumble of thunder, but soon realized it was coming from the front door. After a moment the cacophony relented. There was a brief silence, followed by the click of the deadbolt, and then nothing.
Shane Kroetsch / March 29, 2015