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I must have peered into the darkness for forty-five minutes before I noticed the man standing at the end of the driveway.
Neither of us had moved an inch during that time. If that crow hadn’t swooped down and almost hit him in the face, we might have stood there longer. But it did, and he moved, and when I saw him, I ran back inside, slamming the door behind me.
I had been sitting in my chair in the dark before I felt the man staring at me. The power had been out for most of the day (somebody had cut a power line while he was mowing the lawn) and the torrential rain that started soon after prevented crews from coming out to repair it. So now my street sat in the dark while I sat in my chair. The $700 eco-friendly dome lighting I had bought was of no use now.
For hours I sat inanimate in that red chair, gray light filling my room with a dull numbness that had taken over my entire being. I felt like doing nothing, eating nothing, watching and reading nothing. Breathing had become a chore. I had become dead inside.
I don’t believe that an intense sunlight would have affected my mood, had that been the condition instead of the weak excuse for light that managed to find its way through the storm clouds, but it’s an excuse I’ll use to make myself more of a victim. I don’t like to think that the weather made me dead inside, but I prefer this over the argument that I had been this way all along. I can’t control the weather.
I sat in the chair all day, through the torrential rain. Now, looking back on that day, I wonder to myself whether or not the man had been standing at the end of my driveway all day and, if I had possessed the desire to turn around, would I have seen him? I probably wouldn’t have. He was dead too.
It was later, after I had gotten up to make a fire so not to be in complete darkness anymore, that I felt his stare.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood more alert than I myself had the whole day. The uneasy feeling of being watched flooded my senses to the point that not only could I feel his stare, I could smell him, hear him, and, with his hand on my shoulder, touch him. It was an awful feeling that left me sick. I didn’t want to be sick, so I got up and peered out the peephole.
I saw nothing.
No people, no streetlights, not even the tree that had been in my front yard since before I had purchased the house. I couldn’t tell if it was raining still or if the storm had moved on – north to Wilkins or south to the Burroughs. I saw nothing but the darkness.
I opened the door, letting in the sound of the rain that I thought had ceased. I stood on the porch, gazing ahead, looking for something – anything.
I saw nothing.
I stepped forward, nearly tripping over the stoop . I thought I saw someone – something? – move, but I wasn’t sure. I fixed my gaze at the place that I thought I had seen the movement, but saw nothing. I stood still and, whatever it was (if there was anything there to begin with), it did the same.
It was soon after that I saw the shape of a man standing at the end of my driveway.
We both stood still as stone for what seemed like forever. If that crow hadn’t swooped down and almost hit him in the face, we may have stood there longer. But it did, and he moved, and when I was sure that I had seen him, I ran back inside, slammed the door shut, and locked it behind me.
I listened hard and heard nothing. I heard no footsteps approaching my door, no leaves crunching under boots, no squeaking of shoes or splashing in puddles that would surely be present with someone walking.
I was scared, I’ll admit it. I found it terrifying that I had left my door open there for that long – terrified that something (or someone?) had stood there, watching me, making no movement or speech. Not a sound was made in that time. For the first time that day I felt human.
I wanted light.
I found my way to the basement of the house, slowly walking down the steps, looking for the chain to pull that would have ignited the light bulb that hung had the power been on. This inconvenience didn’t occur to me until after I heard a noise that I had not made.
I stopped cold, standing silently frozen on the basement steps, listening. After a few moments (although it could have been as long as ten minutes), I stepped down one more step, when the chain of the bulb hit me in the face. I remembered the location of a flashlight that would be on the shelves to my right, and I slowly pivoted my arm around, looking for it. It took a moment, but I felt the rubber gripped handle near an object that felt like a paint can. I held the light in front of me and turned it on.
The face of the thing that had stared me down in the driveway was staring me down now. All I saw was its mouth as it opened to a great height. The bulb that hung above me blew up and a shard of glass penetrated my eye. I fell forward into the creature’s mouth, flailing my arms to grab hold of the shelves, but couldn’t grip them. I grabbed the chain that hung above me just as the creature’s teeth closed around my neck, slicing my head clean off the rest of my body.
Just then, the lights came on, the power restored. Not even the dome lights aided in the retrieval of my body – it was never found.