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I woke up to an abrupt darkness, not a ribbon of light in view. Not surprising though considering I lived precisely in the middle of nowhere. This had recently become the usual for me though, the whole waking up in the middle of the night thing. I felt for my phone in the bed beside me, and flipped it over. Immediately I saw the glowing red LED light that resides at the top of my phone indicating that it was charging.
Pressing the lock screen button, my phone lit up to display a far too bright screen with the time on it. I squinted into the brightness; it was 3:49 AM. As my memory flooded back to me, I remembered that I was home alone; Mom and Dad had gone to a hotel in Michigan for their anniversary and wouldn't be home until two days from now.
For most seventeen year olds that was a go-ahead for them to throw a party or break curfew every night, but I'd always been the stay-at-home-and-watch-Netflix type, and that's probably why I'd been trusted home alone for two and a half days to begin with. But before I could recall more of the previous day's scenarios, I heard the last thing you'd want to hear when home alone. Someone else's breathing.
A sudden paralysis came over me as I listened to the steady breath coming from someone near the foot of my bed. The more aware I became, the more the heavy blankets that I was too afraid to move from underneath seemed to suffocate me. Too afraid to move I listened intently at the inhaling and exhaling of the unknown and uninvited guest. While lying in the agony of curiosity and terror, I suddenly heard a familiar sound.
From somewhere near the foot of my bed came a snorting sound, and my fear melted away as I grabbed my phone and turned on the flashlight app. I'm so stupid, I swear, the thought crossed my mind as I shined the blinding light to the floor and recognized the black lump sleeping soundly. My dog, Sparky.
Sparky was a ninety pound black lab we adopted when I was around eleven. He was huge, yet afraid of everything and extremely lovable. I'd let him in my room the night before so he wouldn't be lonely from the absence of my parents. After letting my heart settle down from my scare, I decided I should go back to sleep while I was still tired, and before I was able to convince myself to "just check my Tumblr feed really quick", because "really quick" always turned into two hours.
Later, when I woke up on what was technically that same day, it seemed a bit lonely being the only person in the house. I checked my phone; it offered two new text messages. I tapped the icon and it brought me to my inbox. The first message was from my friend Courtney, a response to a message I'd spent the night before. More than likely she'd fallen asleep and answered it when she woke up.
The second from one of my best friends Sarah, which simply read ‘hey’? I responded to both, and then went about my day feeding Sparky, watching Netflix, and convincing myself I was going to die of boredom. Finally it hit me that I had a license and a car, so since I was talking to her through text anyway, I decided to ask Sarah if she wanted to go do something. We set up plans and went to a movie.
When I returned home that night it was around 10:15, and since summer was ending, so was the era of long lived sunshine. The sky was already the darkest ebony, and the inside of my house matched for a few moments while I felt for the light switch in the laundry room that I'd just entered through.
I'd locked all the doors, so I'd keyed in the PIN number to the garage door and walked through the garage into the laundry room. When the light illuminated the room, I made my way into the kitchen, and then the sitting room, and the living room, and all of the other rooms in the house, flicking on the light switches. It couldn't have been five minutes that I was home, when I heard a knock on the door.
Seeing as it was dark outside and I was home alone, I was hesitant to answer it, but after I grabbed my car keys which have a keychain bottle of mace on it, I opened the door. Strange, I thought as it cooperatively opened, I could've sworn I'd locked this.
My next door neighbor Kathy stood in front of me with a slightly uncomfortable look on her face, as if she didn't know me well enough to try and assert the authority she was about to. "Hi," she began "I just saw your car pull into the driveway, and your parents had asked me to keep an eye on you and the house. They said there was no reason for you to be going anywhere, so would you mind explaining so that I might not have to call them while they're on vacation?" She concluded.
I stood staring at her from my front door, amazed at her blatant (but correct) accusations. The keys in my hand that once offered protection now stood as further evidence against me, not that I'd done anything wrong, but it still seemed a cruel betrayal by the inanimate objects that dangled from my right hand.
I answered her question by explaining that I'd seen a movie with a friend, and hadn't broken my usual 11 o'clock curfew. She began a sentence that I recall to be something along the lines of "well, I guess if -" but she was cut off by the sounds of footsteps in the kitchen. Horror registered on her face - and I imagine mine too - but nothing could escape my mouth, I was frozen in fear.
Her horror changed to anger and it was clear she assumed I'd had someone (most likely a boy) keeping me company. She clearly didn't know me well. Suddenly my vocal chords worked again and I screamed "DON'T," but of course, she didn't listen.
As a man wearing a ski mask, gloves, a black pullover hoodie, and jeans entered the living room I didn't stick around to find out what would happen. My survival instincts took over and I ran out the front door into the darkness. I ran to the edge of my yard and concealed myself in the cornfield as I called the police from my cell phone. When the police arrived they told me to wait by the car with one of them, and then entered the house with their guns pulled.
When they came out they broke the news to me that the killer had murdered my neighbor Kathy. They said it was necessary that I come to the police station and give my recollection of the day's events, and that I needed to pack a bag and stay with a friend or relative until the man was caught. They said they'd also keep trying to reach my parents.
I gave the police the above story of that day’s events. I explained to them that the reason they couldn't get ahold of my parents was probably because they'd turned off their cellphones to enjoy their alone time. And now, I'm at home packing. The brutal scene from where my neighbor once laid has been cleaned up, but it's still best I leave.
Things have gotten to be too much, and my story will soon be torn to shreds by the detectives on the case. If Kathy wouldn't have came to drop off Sparky, who'd gotten loose and ran across the street to her house, maybe she wouldn't of been nosy enough to look through the window and see things that weren't meant for her. "Is that blood on the carpet!?" She'd asked horrified, followed by the statement of a strange smell.
I hadn't had time to get things in order for her unexpected visit. I had no choice but to get rid of her, but I knew her husband would soon become worried, hence why I called for the police on myself. And as for my parents? I don't think they're on vacation unless Michigan is somewhere inside of those garbage bags down in my basement.
Written by DanaDisaster