“What was that noise?” I said aloud, though I was alone.
I remembered I had left the screen door open. There is such utter peace when you live in the woods, away from most of civilization. But there is also a creepy feeling, knowing that your neighbors are so far away, and no one would be able to hear you scream. It’s why I was so terrified of home invasions.
Footsteps, the noise again. The sound of the screen door opening ever so slightly. It is late afternoon, but my house is darkened. I had been taking a nap and was awakened by the frightening sounds. Then, something like scratching. But still, footsteps. Scratching footsteps. Is it an animal?
I tiptoe to the living room. I see the screen door and the silhouette behind the curtain. The outline of a man.
“My, my,” says the scratching voice. Sounds as if it has been scarred by years of cigarette smoking. In fact, I smell smoke, and I notice a fire has started outside. “Look what we have here, dearie.”
“Who are you?” It’s too late to grab a weapon. I am frozen still in terror.
“I am the embodiment of fear. I am the god of nightmares. I am the darkness. I am the howling wolf of the forest. I am your final breath.”
I still can’t see his face; he is a shadow.
The flames and smoke outside grow stronger.
“Did you start that fire?”
“Yes,” the scratchy voice says. “We will burn together.”