Let the Games Begin
by Fia Coldwell
3am. She couldn’t remember what had woken her. She sat up. Just a bad dream? She strained her ears. No, there was a siren in the distance. She was about to growl at the injustice of life and go back to sleep, when she heard a creak.
She froze. Her arm was still suspended holding the corner of her blanket. She had no cats; she lived alone in a three-room apartment. Another creak.
She dropped the blanket and pulled herself into a foetal position. Two more creaks, each one closer than before. She wanted to scream, but stuffed her fist into her mouth. She’d done a self-defence class once, but how would she know where to punch the guy in the dark?
Light. The synapses in her brain finally started to ring. She put her hand to the switch. There was a squeak as the door handle was pushed down. She hit the light. Nothing happened. Hit it again and again, but nothing. She swore. When had the light bulb died on her? She didn’t know.
The door started moving. She crawled off her bed. Hide or attack? Hide or attack? She repeated the phrase like a mantra. Had no idea what to do. She couldn’t remember any of the moves they’d taught her in class. Punch? Kick? Find a weapon? Who the hell was this person?
The door was now fully open. She thought she could see a foot in the opening, but it was too dark to make out anything. Hide or attack, she thought again. Attack, she decided, feeling the presence of someone enter her room. She had the advantage of knowing the place inside out, even in the dark. She pounced on him then. Or where she thought he’d been. She could barely catch herself before she hit the floor. Where had he gone? She spun around. Nothing moved.
Slowly, she picked herself off the floor. She couldn’t hear anything now. No creaking of floorboards, no breathing beside her. Nothing.
Her eyes wide, she scanned the darkness around her. Still nothing. Her hand moved to the light switch on the wall behind her. She counted to ten silently, then hit the switch, her other arm wildly lashing out defensively. She had to blink a couple times to get used to the light. Her room looked a mess. She’d torn down her shoe rack in an attempt to catch the fall. Nothing.
Her heart was beating faster than ever. Carefully, she checked the hall. Checked the other rooms. The bathroom. The kitchen. There was no one in her apartment. Her eyes found the note on her fridge, Call me when the visions return. This couldn’t be a vision. She’d seen the guy, no, felt him. Her door had opened.
She closed her eyes, heard her doctor saying her mind was playing games again. It wasn’t the first time.
When she opened her eyes again, they settled on a note she’d never seen before. Let the games begin.
Fia Coldwell: Psych student writing psychological suspense. Figures.
Our Reader said:
A nervy description of feelings with a menacing ending.