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It's quiet in the dark, damp basement. The walls are covered in dancing lights, wonderful hues of blue and white. The television is on, the sound down low as to not wake anyone. I'm sitting on the couch, a tattered, ugly green object that has been lost to time. It smells faintly of mold, and a few small rodents scurried out from under it when I sat down.
On the tube, people are talking, dancing. It appears to be a recording of a wedding, perhaps for a family friend. The picture is low quality, very fuzzy. The tape is no doubt old, it was in the machine when I turned the television on. I stare, transfixed. The people, despite the horrible picture, are wonderful looking. Beautiful, even.
“Beautiful,” I whisper, smiling.
A noise upstairs, the sound of someone walking down the stairs, makes me jump, and I stand quickly and quietly, slowing my breathing even though I know they can't hear me. With one hand I shut off the television, and now every inhale and exhale sounds as loud as a fan blowing air directly in one's ear. I creep to the bottom of the stairs, still alarmed. I'm not supposed to be down here, and it's late. Perhaps the family heard me or maybe it's an intruder.
This new thought strikes terror into my heart, and the pumping and thudding in my ears grows louder as my pulse races. My breathing quickens, despite all my attempts to be quiet, and I know that if they were to open the door up there they would hear me and my cover would be blown. Almost panicking and ready to bolt, I step on the lowest stair and begin to climb, praying that none of them creaks.
I'm almost to the top when one of them does, a creak so loud that it surely woke half the block, let alone anyone in the house. I hear shuffling on the other side of the door; padded feet scurrying about through the room. A female voice calls out, calling for a man or perhaps a boy. It does not matter, the name is not mine. I freeze where I stand, raising my hand to strike. If the door opens.
Slowly but surely it creeps open, keeps opening, and the woman on the other side is not scared yet, she's not screaming yet, and I understand that the shadows are hiding me from sight, but then she flicks the switch for the stairway light and I attack, swinging my hand towards her face as hard as I can. Her eyes go wide and her mouth opens in a surprised O shape a split second before her head goes flying and her body crumples to the ground, blood pumping out of her neck and flowing across the floor and pooling at my feet. In my panicked state, I'd hit her so hard that I decapitated her. That coppery smell fills my nose and my heart rate becomes steady. There is not a single sound in the house, not even a mouse. I step into the room and flip the switch for the light, closing the door behind me, once again submerged in complete darkness.
I reach down and run my fingers through her long brown hair, picking up her head and raising it to eye level. Smiling, I run my long, wet tongue over her cheek, tasting her sweet white flesh. I nibble her parted lips with my sharp teeth, savoring her. “Beautiful,” I croak. “So beautiful.”
I wonder who else is upstairs.