Order of the Suburbs (microfiction)

Here’s a piece of horror microfiction about strange neighbors and the creepy quietude of the suburbs. It’s about 530 words and has an estimated reading time of 2 minutes. Let me know what you think!

Every night, Rosine looked through her bedroom window in the darkness and saw the camera pointed at her house. It was small, but she could spot it. It was coming from her neighbor, Peter’s, place. The lonely, single man who barely left the house. He had cameras everywhere, all over his property.

She had enough, she decided. She would confront him. It was okay to use cameras for security purposes, but why were they pointed at her house? What was he recording? Did he catch her in uncompromising positions?

Rosine decided to knock on Peter’s door around midnight. She was drunk, feeling liquid courage to raise hell. God, this is stupid, she thought, but a terrible force propelled her to do it. The cops ignored her calls, Peter never answered his phone. She tried knocking in the mornings and afternoon, but he never responded. So, she knocked at midnight. Maybe he kept weird hours.

There was something so creepy about her quiet suburban neighborhood at night. Everything was calm and orderly, but sometimes, she swore she heard screaming. It would sound like the scream of an animal, but maybe a child, too. She heard the screaming now, coming from inside Peter’s home. She knocked louder.

PETER!” she yelled drunkenly. “Open up! I know you’re in there!”

She looked up and saw the camera facing down from the top of the door. She jumped up and yanked it off, then knocked louder still.

When it was apparent Peter wouldn’t respond, she broke in. She knew how to pick a lock from her younger days. The house was immaculately clean, and, oddly, there were cameras all over the house, too. And many, many TV screens and small monitors. The place was like a command center, showing broadcast feeds of the entire neighborhood, including what incredibly seemed like the inside of peoples’ homes. How was this possible?

Rosine held tightly to the pocketknife in her jeans. She heard that screaming, sounding like a cross between an animal and a child, coming from upstairs. A high-pitched howl and whine. She would finish this tonight, end this madness.

She kicked open the door where the screaming was coming from. The room was dark except for the dozens of monitors and cameras giving off the glow of bluish-gray light. And there, in the corner of the room, was Peter, emaciated, naked, curled up in the fetal position and screaming. The screaming turned hoarse now, and he opened his mouth wider and wider until it was impossibly wide.

Rosine heard Peter’s jaws crack as his head tore apart. Suddenly, all the monitors in the room showed what was happening there. His head now dangling by his chest, Peter lurched forward and tackled her. Rosine, frozen in terror, had no chance. Peter removed his head and used it to swallow her whole. Then he sat back down in the corner and screamed. The monitors flickered on and off, and a rainstorm rolled through the neighborhood. A neighbor a few houses away heard the screams and thought it was strange but went back to sleep.

The suburbs’ order was restored once again; it just needed a new victim.

The End

(Photo by Rico Van de Voorde on Unsplash)

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