Welcome to The Spot Writers. October’s prompt: “write a story inspired by what’s outside your window.”
This week’s story comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available from her locally or on Amazon.
MISTER WOLFE, the sequel, coming early 2020. Watch for it!
“Monster in the House” by Cathy MacKenzie
I lay in bed, not daring to move. That noise. What is it? Someone’s broken into the house is my first thought, but I’d have heard the beeps of the alarm system—wouldn’t I?
They’re at the front door. Outside—no, definitely inside. But how? Was I that sound asleep I didn’t hear the alarm? Didn’t Hubby hear it?
Hubby is beside me. Fast asleep. I can’t see him in the dark. I’m too afraid to open my eyes, but I’m positive it’s dark.
Quiet now—no, there it is. Definitely at the front door.
My heart thumps against my chest. I clutch Hubby’s arm. “Wake up,” I whisper. My fingers press into his flesh. “Someone’s here.”
“Wha—what’s wrong?” His voice is thick with sleep.
“Shush. Someone’s at the front door.”
“Shush,” I say again. “Shush.”
Nope. There it is again.
“At the front door. Someone’s here. They’ve broken in.”
“Someone’s in the house?”
Maybe it’s not the front door. But it’s somewhere close by. There! Again.
My eyes are open now, but it’s as if I’m blind. I point in the darkness. “Down the hall.”
The noise is by the bathroom. Mere feet away.
“It’s an animal.” A squirrel?
“Go back to sleep,” Hubby says. “There’s nothing here.”
Three days ago, we moved into our new-to-us house. I’m not attuned yet to these different night sounds. What creatures might lurk in the dark? Or in a nook or cranny we haven’t yet discovered. The house could be haunted for all I know.
The intruder—or intruders—isn’t mice. I’m familiar with the soundless pitter of those rodents. This commotion is far from soundless.
But in the house?
Hubby sits. “Your imagination again.”
Last night, I heard an unmistakeable noise and woke him up. It could have been mice then as it was a weird sound in the walls. Turned out to be the furnace. The previous owners forgot to turn off one of the in-floor heat zones, so the furnace turned on occasionally at night.
He plops back to the bed.
“There!” I poke him in the side and sit, clutching the linens to my heaving chest. “Definitely down the hall.” The sound reminds me of an elderly person on crutches, his bad leg dragging on the floor.
If Hubby doesn’t hear it this time, he needs to return to the doctor to get his ears unplugged.
“I don’t hear anything.”
“Shush, you always talk so loud.”
Silence except for my thumping heart that’s about to blast from my chest.
“There! You must hear it now.” The shuffling is louder. Must be an animal in the house. Hubby has a habit of leaving the garage door wide open to the elements. Maybe it’s a raccoon. A family of raccoons made their home in our attic a few years ago. Could a raccoon have snuck in?
“Hmmm… There is something.” He gets out of bed and sneaks down the hall. Turns on the hall light.
Where is he? Has the “monster” gotten him?
He’s been gone too long.
“Where are you?” My voice is too low for him to hear.
The light finally goes out.
“Nothing there,” he says, returning to bed.
I hear it again. The sounds are louder. Shuffling. Scratching. Hubby hears it, too; I can tell by the change in his breathing.
I shriek. “It’s outside. Behind my head.” Someone’s spying on us. That one-legged man?
Hubby peers out the window by our bed. “Probably a branch rubbing against the window.” He turns on the bedside light and looks out again.
The noise increases as if the creature—animal or human—is afraid of the light. Shuffling. Scratching. Screeching.
“Raccoon,” he says. “Raccoon in the compost bin.” He shuts off the light and comes back to bed.
“You can’t leave it,” I say.
“I’m not going out at three in the morning.”
The raccoon eventually calms down. Maybe it falls asleep. Maybe we do.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/