High Anxiety

The alarm went off and she jumped with a start. She fumbled for her phone in the darkness, hearing it clatter to the floor, and almost following it down to the soft carpet before steadying herself on the bedside table. It was quarter past three, according to Lindsay’s alarm clock, and the alarm that filled the air did not come from the clock, but from downstairs.

It didn’t seem like a bad neighbourhood, but her parents were overprotective and insisted on paying for an alarm system to be installed. She had almost forgotten about it, but as the night turned to early morning and she slept peacefully in her bed, the alarm rang out and woke her, filling her with panic.

Her phone shook in her hands as she stared down at the screen, unsure of what to do. She unlocked it, typing the emergency services number into the keyboard, but then locked it again, continuing the same cycle for a few more seconds more. She had no idea what to do. The alarm had only ever been a hypothetical thing. She had never expected it to go off, and then, in the moment, she had no idea what she was supposed to do next.

Her soft hair fell about her slender shoulders, blue eyes filling with nervous tears as she reached for her glasses on the bedside table. In all the panic, she had forgotten that she wasn’t wearing them, but they didn’t make the path ahead any clearer.

She could call the police, but what if it was just nothing? She didn’t want to bother anybody, or be an inconvenience. What if it was something but they couldn’t get there in time? What if each word of her phone call to the police drew the mysterious presence downstairs right to her?

The alarm bellowed through the house, insistent and exhausting, and she stood from her bed, dialling the emergency services again and pressing the call button. She whispered a panicked plea for help, trying to explain as she crept through her bedroom door and down the stairs, wincing as the bottom stair creaked slightly and the operator asked her to repeat herself, straining to hear her over the obnoxious alarm.

The moon shone down through the window, lighting up her face as she stood with her back to the kitchen door, clutching her phone to her chest. Lindsay’s heart pounded as she pressed a hand against the door handle, her fingertips shaking as she gently pushed it down, rushing into the kitchen with a yell.

She called out and told her intruder that the police were on the way. She told them that her husband was on the way home. She told them that she had a gun.

None of those things were true, but that was okay.

It was a cat, and nothing more. The little cat purred softly, staring up with big eyes, its tail flicking against the cat flap she had repeatedly meant to nail down but had never quite got round to dealing with, and she breathed a sigh of relief, falling against the kitchen sideboard with a laugh. It was over. It was just a silly little cat, breaking in through the tiny door she had left open, looking for a snack or some respite from the cold night.

She caught her breath and apologetically explained to the operator on the other end of the phone that it had all been a silly misunderstanding and bid him a goodnight, ending the call and tossing her phone down on the side. She knelt down by the catt, stroking its cheek tenderly, feeling quite ridiculous about the fuss that she’d made.

She felt ridiculous, until she felt my left hand on her waist, and my right, closing over her mouth.

It was not over, because the fun was just beginning. The cat was a welcome interlude of whimsy, but I had been waiting all along. I had been biding my time, salivating and patient until just the right moment, watching from afar for the longest time, aching for my sweet Lindsay. I had been waiting. Sometimes in the attic, sometimes under the bed, sometimes peeking out from the shadows when my soul could not resist a closer look.

I had hungered for her, and now, in the pale moonlight, with her beautiful body flooded with adrenaline, she was simply mouthwatering.

Nobody heard her screams over the wailing alarm.

Her screams were just for me.

%d bloggers like this: