This story is by N.J.GAULD and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
THE MONSTER IN THE DARK
Karen quietly lifted the corner of the curtain and looked out into the dark; she was scared. He was out there again, just standing. Just looking. Not close enough to see his face but close enough to frighten her. Who is he? Every night for the past week he has stood there looking toward her home. Then he would slowly step back into the total darkness and disappear.
Tonight, however it felt different. He had been there for over an hour. She had called the police but when they arrived the man was nowhere to be seen. She could not identify him or give a description because he stood too far away in the shadows. One of the officers suggested with a smirk on his face that perhaps she was looking for attention; he dragged his eyes over her plump body and walked out.
Karen sat in the dark of her living room waiting for morning when she heard a noise at her patio door. She froze. It was a tinkering sound as if someone was trying to open the door; A slight pressure and release that could have come from the door latch being moved. Karen sank down to the floor and held her breath. She could hear her heart thumping in her ears. She waited.
She heard footsteps softly moving across her patio. They stopped then moved on until there was nothing. She reached slowly for her phone but in the dark it was lost. She heard a tapping on her glass patio door. It sounded like a woodpecker tapping on the power pole outside her garden. Karen felt horror building up inside her chest and her head; she was going to scream, then everything went silent.
Karen awoke huddled on the floor between the sofa and the coffee table. Her head was aching, and she was cold. As she began to move her legs she felt the pain from being cramped all night in the same position. “Thank God for daylight!” she said to herself as she slowly approached the patio door. Everything was as it should be. Opening the door, she breathed in the warm, fresh air of summer.
She checked the outside of her door for any markings that could have been put there last night. She then checked the window, the patio itself for any signs that a stranger had been there the night before, but nothing; she grabbed her phone and called the police.
“I phoned the police last night. Yes. They came but could not see anything. That’s right. Yes. Yes, I did that.” Karen was annoyed with the questions being asked of her.
“Your officer thought I was looking for attention and I take offence to that! Yes. Thank you.”
She hung up. Hours later an officer came to her door to investigate. He looked around the patio and said he could not tell if anyone had been there, but they would keep a surveillance of her house tonight. Karen thanked him as she closed the door behind him.
Evening began to mask the daylight as darkness shrouded the night. Karen stood in the darkness drinking a strong cup of coffee. She placed a butcher knife on the glass coffee table in case it was needed. She sank to her knees by the window to watch the usual place she could see the person standing. She consoled herself with the belief that as long as he stays in the shadows where she could see him she was safe. Karen slowly sipped her coffee and waited. She lighted her wristwatch and discovered it was eight-0-five p.m. She closed her eyes; then she heard it.
The smashing of glass. Karen dropped her empty cup onto the floor and crawled to the coffee table where she had placed the knife. “Where is it?” She brushed her hand over the entire table top, but it wasn’t there. She swiped her hand across the carpeted floor; it wasn’t there. “Where is it?” Crawling across the floor on her hands and knees she hid herself behind the drapes on the patio door. Her breathing was short and heavy. She was scared. She heard footsteps on the kitchen floor. Then the voice.
“I know where you are.”
A glint of moonlight reflected on the blade of the knife that was still sitting on the coffee table. How had she missed it? She thought to herself. Quickly she scrambled over to the table and grabbed the knife as she saw a shadowed figure entering the living room.
“I can see you,” he said.
Moving slowly toward Karen in the dark, he bumped into the coffee table and let out a cry of pain. At that moment Karen flung herself up and toward the intruder and tried to stab him, but he moved and she fell to the floor losing the knife as it clattered away. Karen franticly crawled toward the kitchen as the beast grabbed at her ankles. He caught hold of one as Karen kicked hard with her other foot, hitting him in the face. He fell back, and she could hear the coffee table jolt and tumble. She heard the man grunt as he fell on top of the table. This gave Karen time to scramble away.
She ran to the kitchen door, unlocked it and began to pull it open. The intruder grabbed her around the neck.
“You’re not going anywhere, my pet,” he said.
Karen instinctively swung her arm back and smashed her fist into the man’s genitals. He let out a scream of sudden pain and fell to the floor. Karen grabbed the ceramic cookie jar off the counter and crashed it over the intruders’ head. She hit him once, twice, three times before she lost her strength and dropped the jar to the floor.
Reaching for the light-switch she turned it on. Karen found the stranger unconscious on the floor and she ran to the tool closet to grab a restraining device and found a rope. With trembling hands she tied the man’s ankles together, then tied the rope around his wrists behind his back and looped the rope around the man’s neck. She made tight knots in the rope for fear of him getting lose. Now she waited.
Within minutes he opened his eyes. “Who are you?” Karen asked in a loud, frightened voice.
“I’m your worst enemy,” he laughed and coughed at the same time.
“You look like my worst enemy all tied up on my kitchen floor.”
“I’ve come to give you the best of me,” he laughed again.”
“Well your best sure got you tied up, didn’t it?” Karen yelled as she dialed 911.
“Can you loosen the rope around my neck it’s choking me,” the man pleaded.
“Sure,” said Karen as she reached over and tightened it and he gasped.
It was a half hour before the police knocked on Karen’s door. The same officer who had been there the night before telling her it was an attention thing.
“You say you have an intruder?” the smirking cop asked.
“Yes!” Karen replied as she led the rookie to the kitchen.
The cop looked at the intruder then at Karen with a shocked look on his face.
“You did that to this guy?” He stood staring for a minute before using his earphone to call for back-up.
“Get me out of this mess!” the man pleaded. “She did this to me, I just came over to visit her! She invited me. It’s the truth! The man begged.
The young officer made the call on his earphone and within minutes there were several other officers along with the police photographer and paramedics. They all stood and looked at the unbelievable handy work performed by Karen.
“You should have called us,” the senior officer remarked.
“I did.” She gestured toward the smirking cop. “HE came and suggested I was only looking for attention. I called again this morning and another officer came by, found nothing and said they’d keep a surveillance.”
The senior officer scowled at the rookie. “You. Outside NOW!”
“This guy has been on our scope for a few weeks,” the senior officer said. “You’re a very lucky woman,” he continued in a low voice. “He kills them after he rapes them.” The officer turned and walked away.
Karen began to tremble. Reality was setting in and her adrenaline began to normalize as a cold sweat came over her and she collapsed to the floor. On her way to the hospital Karen realized how close she had come to death, as she smiled. “What a hell of a night I’ve had,” she thought to herself. “But I’m sure proud too because I stopped that monster in the dark.