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After the Sun Falls
I lean back from my computer. Still nothing. All there is are men who’ve seen Sasquatch in his backyard and women who think their laundry was stolen by trolls. I sigh and stand up. How am I supposed to learn anything if half the human race is so...incompetent?
My computer chimes that I have a message, and I sit down at the computer again. It’s one of my co-workers, asking me if I’m finished with my part of the project yet. I answer of course I am. He says he needs to run; his wife is bothering him. I say goodbye and shut my computer down. It’s nearly time to begin fending off teenagers trying to prove their bravery.
The evening starts off with George strolling into the room, carrying a fuzzy creature in his mouth. A little repulsed by the sight I swallow and ask: “What do you have there, George?”
He drops a field mouse at my feet, and some blood drips onto the floor. I can handle skinning a rabbit, but there’s something about the way cats kill their prey...
I turn to the fire and the clock above it.
The front door of the house opens, and it’s time to scare them off.
“God, this is horrible,” my sharp ears hear a teenager say. “So many spiders.”
“Who lived here?” Another voice whimpers.
“We’ll tell you once we get comfortable.”
Wait, what? What do they think they’re going to do in the foyer?
“Get the blanket.”
I sneak towards the door and inch it open on oiled hinges. The voices are louder now. I sneak to the top of the staircase and watch the proceedings, ready to spring at any moment into action.
Three teenagers sit in a circle near the right window. This area of my house smells like must and mold, and some cat feces. George will have a talking-to once I’m done dealing with these teenagers.
“I can’t believe people say this place is haunted,” A girl with dark hair scoffs.
“So tell me what happened,” a boy says, a little younger than the girl. “T-to the last person who lived here, I mean.”
“They say that Old Lady Marion was eighty in 1960,” the third person said, an older boy around the same age as the girl. “She was a Scrooge who hoarded all of her money once her husband died. She married him when he was much older than her and inherited all of his money. After she died they say that the money’s on this property. And as a bonus she haunts the house.”
“You mean...ghosts?!” The little boy trembles.
“I don’t believe in ghosts,” the girl says, patting him on the shoulder. “And if any shows up, I’ll protect you, Jeff.” She gave him a squeeze. A smile flicks onto his face. “What gave you the crazy idea to spend the night here anyway, Kevin?”
“A prank at school. I heard that there were kids that were setting this place up to scare people, so I decided to check it out.” The older boy--Kevin--flicks on a flashlight underneath his chin. “Ghostbusters style.”
“This isn’t all that much like one of your TV shows,” The girl says, huddling a blanket around her.
I debate whether to scare them off or not. They aren’t going anywhere, but if they decide that this place wasn’t haunted then others might come. At this realization my heart begins to pound expeditiously.
I can’t get found out.
I whirl around and return to my room, making barely a whisper as I move.
They are still talking as I once again sit down at my desk, thoughts flying, trying to decide what I should try this time.
Okay, Lucian, deep breaths. You can think this through. They’re staying the night, right? That means they’ll probably be sleeping. All I need to do is sit and wait.
I wait a long time, until finally their voices die down. The girl is on lookout first, and once the other two boys have fallen asleep I hear footsteps on the stairs.
I walk over to the mantle and my eye falls onto George, lounging on the warm stone, black tail swinging back and forth.
“I have a job for you, George.” His eye blinks at me. “Go scare the girl.” The eye closes. I pick up the mouse he dragged in earlier by the tail and swing it in front of his nose. “Look, follow the rat. And scare her off as well!” His nose twitches and his eyes open a little. George yawns. I toss the mouse through the crack in the door and into the hall. The cat springs up and bounds after the mouse. A few seconds later I hear a scream, and I cringe slightly.
“What’s wrong?!” I hear the boy call. The girl retreats down the stairs.
“A cat! A cat! Get it away from me!”
I sneak into the hall. In the darkness I can see George is now perched at the top of the stairs, mouse in his grip once more.
“Let’s go. This place smells bad anyway,” the little boy whimpers.
There’s a pause, and then a sigh. “Fine,” Kevin says reluctantly. In a few minutes the front door closes again.
I move to my window and peer through the heavy blinds. The three figures retreat into the night. Why would she be so afraid of cats?
George returns to the room, the half-eaten mouse still in his mouth. I give him a disgusted look and wait until he finishes the rodent before I pat him on the head. He gives me a sour look but allows me to praise him.
One more crisis averted, I decide as I stretch. I don’t think I’ll go hunting tonight. After all, a victory has been won over stubborn throes tonight. I open my miniature refrigerator and pull out a slice of cake that I always keep on hand. As I munch my snack and George munches his, I feel the gravity of the silence in the room. Soon my appetite leaves me and I place the half-way eaten cake on my desk.
I look out the window at the night sky. Out here in the middle of nowhere the stars are bountiful. However it’s also very lonely. As I look back at the fire I wonder if anyone else is out there that’s like me. Like the inhuman beast that I am.
I hear the sound of a rough tongue on a paper plate and spring to my feet.
“George!” He ignores me as he continues to eat my cake. I grab him by the scruff of his neck and he hisses at me, scratching my arm. I scoop his body in my other hand and toss him to the floor. He gives me a dirty look before sauntering off to a corner by the fire.
Picking up the plate, I walk over to the fire and toss the cake and plate into the inferno. I watch as the plate burns and the cake promptly bakes into a crisp. After the fire dies down a little, for the cake also acted as a snuffer, I add a few logs and retire to my bed on the far side of the room. One more night of hiding is over.