It was 4:30 on a Saturday morning when it first happened.
I had awoken at four A.M on the dot. My throat was dry. As I shuffled the covers, my cat cooed and began to knead the blankets. It was almost breakfast time, guess I'm lucky I woke up this way, not to her trying to break down the door to get to her food bowl. I stretched and yawned at length before swinging my legs over the side. The telly was still on, flickering on the waiting screen. It seemed brighter than I remembered; it made my eyes sting a little. It was probably still the sleep in my eyes causing that. There was a glass of water kept in my room at all times for moments like this. I stood up and stretched again, feeling various areas crack and pop, before I stumbled over to my dresser. The glass was empty. Odd. I always kept it full. Maybe I forgot this time?
I was home alone. My mom and stepdad were in Vegas for the weekend to watch the last drag races of the season, and my little sister was spending the night at a friend's. I opened the door and flicked on the secondary hall light, watching my cat suddenly bound out and turn the corner into the primary hallway. Too early for breakfast, Sweetie. I followed her, past the garage door, turning on lights as I went so I wouldn't bump into anything. It seemed unnaturally quiet.
The kitchen floor was cold. I could feel it through my socks as I stood in front of the sink, filling up my glass, downing it, and filling it up again. I must have done that four or five times before my throat didn't feel like cotton anymore. I sipped on the last as I glanced around. The cats were sitting in front of their food bowl, looking up expectantly at me, hoping I would feed them early. The stove clock read 4:15. You got an hour and fifteen minutes, I told them. My sister's cat meowed at me and rolled over, trying to look cute enough to bribe me. I laughed a little, topped off my glass, and wandered back, turning off lights as I went.
I passed the garage door before going into my room, and noticed the door was unlocked. I kept it locked, half out of habit, half out of "use the front door, this one makes mine rattle." I clicked it to lock, and went into my room, closing my door behind me. The now full glass was set back on my dresser, and I laid back down. Maybe I could grab a little more shut-eye before my alarm went off. The blankets enveloped me like a cocoon, sleep beckoning me, when I heard it. Rattling, like a door handle being turned back and forth. I sat up and turned on my bedside lamp. It wasn't mine, that's for sure. I frowned, and got up to look out into the hall. Maybe one of the cats were playing with the doors again. There was string on some of the handles just for them, maybe one got caught? I opened my door to be greeted by silence and darkness. Weird. I stood there for a moment, waiting to hear it again. There was the sound of a scuffle in the living room. The cats were fighting. I hurriedly walked out there to break it up. They were agitated and hungry. Just this one time, I'll feed them early, I thought. They seemed happy enough when the bowl was set back down.
I went back to my room and shut the door, grabbing my phone to turn off the alarm. 4:32. It's too early for all of this. I set it back down next to my glass and decided on one last drink before going back to sleep.
My glass was empty.