Tom opened his eyes to the cold, gray, daylight that seeped in through his bedroom window. His head was pounding although he hadn’t had a drop of drink the night before. He closed his eyes again and attempted to recall his life, and he let a few blurry images flash by until he was caught up to his present state. He blinked and looked around and his ears started ringing. He moved his head from side to side to rid himself of the sound.
It was usually very easy for Tom to wake up early. He often didn’t even need an alarm clock to wake him up at 6:00am. He looked at the clock next to his bed and it read 11am. He groaned and pulled himself up to a sitting position.
A few flashes of a nightmare from that night lit up in his head and he frowned at his feet. Amy was in his dreams like always. He saw her face. She was his girlfriend until she left him three months earlier and he still couldn’t shake the heartbreak. They met in college and had been together for six years.
He got up walked down the hall to the bathroom. Everything was old in his house. It was a beautiful townhouse in a quiet area of the city but it was definitely falling apart, especially without Amy insisting he clean up after himself.
As he got closer to the bathroom door he thought he could hear someone singing softly. It sounded like a woman’s voice. He stopped and listened. Maybe it was coming from someone’s radio down the street.
He moved again towards the door and his head started to pound. He could feel a thin layer of sweat breaking out all over his body. Could someone be in there?
“Amy?” he said in an almost strangled voice. He took the doorknob in his hand and pushed the door open abruptly and with too much force. He stumbled in and with a shaky hand, pulled back the shower curtain.
There was nothing there but the slow drip of the moldy faucet. Tom stared at the little pool of water around the clogged drain in the bathtub. He leaned down and looked at the little beads of water forming and falling from the tip of the faucet. He became transfixed as he watched the drops dangle and then drop down into the bathtub. As he followed one drop’s journey he saw it fall into a tiny pool of blood. He recoiled. He felt dampness on his lip and realized his nose was bleeding.
He stood up quickly and looked in the bathroom mirror to see a stream of red rolling down his face and onto his shirt. He grabbed a handful of toilet paper to stop the bleeding and when he looked up again, he saw a flash of a human-sized shape standing behind him. He screamed and whipped around only to find his old cat Stella sitting on the hamper behind him with her ears pulled back. She was hissing furiously at him, which is something he had never seen her do before.
Tom grabbed the aspirin out of the cabinet above the bathroom sink and ducked out of the room.
Later that afternoon, Tom sat on the couch in the living watching the news. The newscaster was on with a weather forecast screen behind him. He stated:
"…Ninety mile an hour winds, heavy rainfall and flooding is what you can expect as soon as tonight and into tomorrow. The storm is coming and we are advising everyone to stay inside their homes and take the necessary precautions to secure their homes against Hurricane Amy."
He leaned his head forward and squinted at the television as he tried to figure out if he had really heard her name. A sharp pain ripped through his head and he closed his eyes and keeled over, hands at his temples. The pain subsided and all he could hear was a loud ringing. He stood, looking at the television, blinking and shaking his head.
Abruptly, the ringing stopped and he collapsed onto the couch, drool hanging on his chin. The television was showing images of abandoned streets in the city and sold-out grocery stores. At the bottom of the screen, the words Hurricane Ally stood out in red. He closed his eyes and slept.
Tom awoke to the sound of pelting rain outside of his house. It was almost dark. He hobbled to the window and opened his curtains to look outside. The trees were bending back and forth in the wind and the clouds were thick and black overhead.
He shivered and felt a wave of nausea sweep over him. Something was happening. He didn’t know what it was, but something was happening to him. Was it the storm, or some kind of illness? He felt very alone and frightened. He missed Amy and wondered what she was doing and how she could have left him after all those years. He shook his head to stop his thoughts from going down that all too familiar road.
As he stood at the window he noticed a woman struggling to walk down the street in front of his house. She had a short, pink raincoat on with the hood up. Her umbrella turned inside out as she fought to stay on her feet. He wanted to run out to help her but his feet were inexplicably glued to the floor. He stood like a statue and watched as the umbrella was ripped out of her hands and blew down the street.
She stopped and turned towards him and he saw that it was Amy. She looked at him and walked closer towards his house. Her eyes were devoid of any emotion but it was Amy’s green eyes looking at him. She was saying something but he couldn’t hear anything.
With mounting horror, he realized there was something very wrong with her. Her legs were all wrong. As she got closer he realized that they were bent the wrong way and her wrists were bloody and bruised. She held her arms out to him and walked, like some kind of animal on its hind legs, towards him. He moaned with fear and tried to back away but he was stuck there, frozen. She was still saying something and as she got but five feet away from the big bay window of his home.
He saw that her teeth were sharp and as she spoke they ripped through her soft lips. She was snarling and hissing and her eyes glowed with hatred.
Tom screamed. He screamed so loud his vocal cords ripped and he fell backwards onto the floor and dragged himself away. He got onto his feet and ran into the kitchen. He huddled in the corner whimpering, looking all around for some sign of the hideous thing from outside.
He then heard a thump in the basement and he put his hand over his own mouth and listened. The basement door was a few feet from him. He crawled towards it and locked it. He leaned against the door and listened as his heart pounded.
He heard the same sad singing floating up from the basement steps and it washed over him like warm water.
“Amy. Oh, god. Amy I’m sorry.” Suddenly he remembered everything. The images of his life weren’t blurry this time but brilliantly clear. He saw his time with Amy and how happy they were for a time. Then he saw them arguing. They argued so much those last few years. He saw her face and saw the fear there. He saw himself lunging towards her and saw his hands grasping her throat as she clawed and scratched at his face. He saw himself opening the basement door and as if following instruction, he stood and opened the door in front of him. He walked down the creaking steps into the blackness and he saw Amy in front of him, tied up with rope attached to the ceiling beams with her arms spread and feet tied together like Christ. Her eyes were bulging and pleading and her mouth was shut with duct tape. She struggled in her bonds and tried to scream. He saw a large butcher knife in his hand and then a ripple of pain went through his head again and he snapped out of his dream state and collapsed on the floor.
He looked up and saw that he wasn’t in a memory anymore. He was in the basement looking at the rotted, bound corpse of a woman. It was Amy, still there, but long-dead. He stood and walked towards her. He touched her hair and her face and smiled.
“Amy. You’re here. I knew you would come back. I love you so much my darling. I’ll never let you go,” he said as he kissed her decaying lips and started to hum a song they once had sung together.