Midnight tolls on the clock on the wall. The lights are turned off except for the blue glare from the television screen and one night light in the hall. The rain is coming down in sheets outside, a mere six feet away from where I sit curled in my recliner, wrapped in a blanket.
My cats laze both on and nearby me; yawning and stretching, unconcerned until a crash of thunder shakes their peace. The story unfolding on screen tells a tale of greed, hatred and death. The heroine is being stalked by a maniac hell bent on having her. The music dips low and builds to a crescendo as yet another expendable character dies in horrific agony. The movie ends, as most movies do, with the heroine triumphing over evil by the good of her soul.
The lightning strikes brightly and thunder booms overhead as the lights go out and the screen goes blank. My cats look up with wide, accusing eyes at one central spot and stare hard with alarm writ upon their faces. I turn to see what it is they are watching but the darkness hides all in shadows. Each cat stands suddenly, hissing with warning and I jump to my feet, heart racing.
Each hair on my arms and the back of my neck stands at attention as I fervently try to adjust my eyes to the gloom. Crouching low, I wait for the lightning to illuminate the room so I can quickly look around and assure myself that nothing has entered my home.
In a fast blink of light, I search the corners but find nothing to warrant my fears. The cats run down the hall, growling, and dive under the bed, leaving me alone with my rising hysteria. I stand, trying for confidence, and walk towards the window. Pulling back the curtains, I peak out at the raging storm. Leaves are blowing off the trees as branches are whipped to and fro by the wind. Fat rain smacks the ground as if angry with the grass for daring to grow.
Each lightning strike brings an eerie iridescence to the dark. Sweat starts to trickle down my spine and the hairs riding high on my skin refuse to lie down. I feel the air around me grow cooler, then cold. I can see my breath on the glass. Someone sighs and it is not me. I close my eyes, not daring to breathe, waiting, hoping, and praying not to hear it again. For a moment, I hear only my pulse skittering in my ears. Then…
“Ssssshhhhhoooooowwww meeeeeee” a hoarse whisper moans.
I jump and scream, running to the front door, uncaring of the rain outside! Fumbling with the chain lock, tears blinding me, I struggle to get out.
“Shhhhoooooooowwwwww meeeeeee” again it said.
Icy fingers reach out and touch my shoulder, trailing down my back like cold sparks.
“NOOOOOOO, Get out! Get out of my house!!!! I scream. “Get out! You are not welcome here!”
I turn back around with a speed and agility I did not know I possessed, and caught a movement in the corner of my eye fleeing through the window without a single crack! The lights come back on and the television startles me with a too loud commercial.
The temperature of the room is warm again; the storm now passed by leaving only a sprinkling of rain. I fall to my knees, my mouth hanging wide. Four cats slowly saunter back into this room and circle around me, butting their heads against my hands for reassurance.
Absently stroking their soft ears, I hang my head and pray for protection, but I know now. I know they watch.