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“Okay, fine, see you!” Faith called as her parents left the driveway. The soft heat of summer beat down through the mid-August trees.
Faith’s extremely odd parents had gone out to see some movie that was based on a manga. She decided it was stupid to go, and she had never liked the manga anyway. She had the entire house to herself, not her favorite position. She was glad no one else was around when she was home alone, because she was paranoid to the point of embarrassment. She briskly walked to all of the doors and windows and cursed her cowardly self while she locked them. She knew she didn’t need to, but now it was a habit, rather than a precaution.
The evening passed slowly, mostly because Faith glanced up at the clock every minute to see if her parents would be home soon. She ate dinner, then went to her room to entertain herself by watching other people: The Magic of YouTube. Videos flew by her brain, music, T.V. shows, anything she could find. As a video ended, however, she stopped motion. She could swear she heard someone knock at the door.
Faith listened intently, all the while knowing it was nothing. See? She told herself. Nothing at all was there at the door. She resumed the video surfing and tried to forget about it. Time to watch some more T.V. shows. She quickly found her favorite show, Tarshor City. Before she started watching a video, she stared at an analog clock and it took her a few minutes to process that it was only 7:00. Not dark enough outside to be scared by anything like Tarshor City. The witty script would be enough to distract her from her stupid brain’s idea of a good time.
There it was again. Again Faith listened, but heard only the sound of her stupidly frantic breathing. She sighed, trying to relax. No one was at the door, if it was her parents they would have a key, if it was her friends they would text her. So no one could be at the door. Then she started the video. It was an episode she had seen before, and she realized only too late that it was the episode with the annoying - doomed, but annoying - delivery boys. She quickly changed the episode so her silly mind wouldn’t try to make the connection to the hallucinations. That’s what they were. Hallucinations.
The familiar theme song played, eerie but still cheerful, in an I’m going to kill you happily sort of way. The song dropped silent, and there was another faint knock, perfectly on time with the now absent music. Faith paused the video. It was now or never. If she didn’t find out if anyone was knocking, and if so, who, she would go absolutely insane.
Faith marched down the stairs from her room, straight towards the door. She opened it, and saw what she expected: absolutely nothing. There, she told her brain. Will you stop tricking me now? There is nothing there, not even a silly little mouse. You can’t beat the proof my eyes sent you. Sure of herself now, she went back up to her room and turned on the light. Nothing jumped out at her or anything, as she had expected. But she still had expected it, in some small corner of her mind.
Faith sat down, ready to watch people get hacked to shreds by the witty main character. No one was knocking. She listened closely, just to prove it to herself. She was not pleased with what she heard. A small, quiet knock, accompanied with the sound of someone begging, let me in.
Faith sighed, wishing many things including she didn’t have to go prove to herself no one was there, wishing the door wasn’t so far away, wishing the person would JUST GO AWAY! Of course, she knew there wasn’t a person to go away. She reached the door, flung it open, and was pleased with what she saw. Nothing. Happily, she now jaunted upstairs. She knew what to do to prevent her from maddening herself.
Faith grabbed the laptop she was using, unplugged it, and went back down to the door. She opened the door and sat in her paranoid way, right in the doorway. The video resumed and she felt better already. No one could knock now. No one could get in without her knowing, and no one would see her. She was incredibly safe. Very incredibly safe.
Happily hilarious killings played out for Faith, helping her to lose her awful suspicions. She sighed and paused the video. She had had an awful idea. What if she was guarding the wrong door and the knocker (no matter how nonexistent he or she may be) was at the back door? She had locked that door too.
She got up and, with her laptop in her hand, locked the closed door now in front of her. Video still playing, she walked to the back door and quickly glanced out the window. There was nothing to report. Sighing, she turned around and saw something she wasn’t planning on seeing. The front door was standing wide open. Spookily, a curtain placed on the outside of the door shuddered and flapped in the suddenly windy night.
Faith felt fine as she walked to the door, but as she closed it, the feeling passed. The fake knocker could now be in her house. Quickly she locked the door, grasping any shred of hope to keep the knocker out. She only felt a little better when the door was bolted.
Faith grabbed the laptop and a bag of chips from the cupboard and flew up to her room. She never needed the lock in the top of her door before, but now she felt as though it was a necessity. The video stopped and she decided it wasn’t worth finishing the episode. She searched for something light-hearted to distract her from the horrors outside, which she was still sure were part of her imagination. Still, it was hard not to believe something was outside, trying to get in.
Unless it was already in. Faith froze as this again occurred to her. The knocker could be in her room, in her closet. She glanced around, seeing nothing. She found something very distracting to watch. It was a lame drama show, the kind she would never watch otherwise. She found the first episode and paid perfect attention to the poor little misfit new to the big city get used to her college life. Of course, all this effort was ruined when the sad little girl got to spend her first night alone. It was too quaint. Faith couldn’t keep watching.
Then Faith heard a very welcome noise to her probably quite unhealthy ears. It was a light knock, barely audible over her clicking of her mouse. But the way Faith’s over reactive mind saw it, the knocker was outside and she could relax. Eating a chip, she unlocked her door, but was too uncourageous to actually open the door. That would come in the morning. But through the noise of the eating and the clicking, she still felt uneasy, until she remembered what it was. The knocking was continuing beneath the sound of everything. The knocker was outside and becoming more persistent to get in.
Faith stopped and listened for any knocking. She could hear it on the peripherals of her sound, but if she listened for it, it would go away, like a picture in her mind. Groaning in defeat, she marched downstairs, going to catch this knocker once and for all.
“All right,” Faith yelled to nowhere, “you knocker person, you’d better reveal yourself and wherever you are, or else!”
Not to Faith’s surprise, she got no answer. She smiled smugly and glanced at a clock. It was about 9:30. Not a bad time to go to bed, but Faith was not a quitter; she lied to herself as convincingly as she could. She moseyed into the kitchen, oddly pleased that for some reason asking the knocker to reveal itself worked.
Smiling, Faith foraged for some food. She found nothing of much interest, at least not for dessert. She found one thing, a sad little piece of strawberry shortcake that she decided it was time to put out of its misery. As she was taking the first bite and reminiscing that she didn’t find any chocolate, she heard the worst sound possible. She heard two loud thumps, followed by a sharp sound. The sound of breaking wood.