It was just another chilly night, when icy daggers of snow rip through your skin and frost envelopes every visible object under the sky. Two sneezes and a little cough were all that I needed to confine myself in ‘the secure premises’ of home. Mum and dad had to go to a wedding ceremony, they told me they’ll be back in a couple of hours.

A couple of hours seemed okay to me and to them as well, so I asked them not to worry as I’ll take care of myself and be cosy. Mum herself tucked me in a warm fuzzy blanket on the sofa in our lounge before planting a kiss on my forehead; little did she know that I had a Netflix series to finish. As soon as they left, I started my spooky series on the TV.

The Haunting of Hill House kept me on the edge of my sofa, my heart took turns between racing or sinking and the first time when I felt normal enough to wink and glance at the clock it was already midnight. I was not shocked to see the overlapping arms of the clock on the glass panel beside the LED, neither did the darkness in the backyard scare me; but out of the corner of my eye. I had noticed a figure move behind the glass and it nailed me to the sofa.

It had to be an illusion, I convinced myself; but a weird uncanny feeling forced me to muster up courage and I tip-toed to the glossy window. I had merely taken a couple of steps when I collapsed and sank into the sofa. My heart was seized with horror as I saw the man’s hideously scarred face, his eyes wild and wolfish and he seemed to be grinning at me.

Instantly, I pulled the blanket over me and forced my eyes shut. After a few moments of deadly stillness, I peeped through with one eye. He was still there, and now he was brandishing a knife. Before I froze again, I felt my phone by my side, with fumbling fingers, I managed to dial the number of the police.

Fortunately, it was picked up on the first bell, and I breathlessly sputtered everything in one go. It was my last ray of hope, I crouched motionless, waiting for the insidious murderer’s attack.

Minutes felt like hours, but luckily the cops had arrived sooner than I expected. And as I heard the voices of someone talking, I sprinted towards the door as I saw the two officers had reached. The officers looked at every nook and corner of the house, but couldn’t find any trace of anyone. The tall robust officer who held a walky-talky explained that there were no footprints and that might just a vision of mine because, after all, I was watching a horror movie.

It was just at the moment when the female officer turned around to leave, that she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. She pulled back the sofa that I had been sitting on and her eyes widened in shock. We both gasped.

On the carpet behind the sofa, there was a trail of wet footprints and a discarded knife.

“You weren’t looking at that man behind the window. It was the reflection that you saw. He was standing right behind you all along,” said the cop.

Published in Dawn, Young World, November 14th, 2020

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