avatarLaura Ann

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The Nightmare

In the quietest of neighborhoods — darkness always finds a way to emerge

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

She walked through her house picking up the clothing from the floor. She smiled while sighing at the same time, when will her silly fiance remember to pick up his clothes when he comes home? She thought to herself. The bedroom was ordinarily clean and tidy — but lately, Mike had been getting off work — slowly stripping as he walked into their room and straight towards the bathroom. She hadn’t said anything because he had been working so hard lately.

Walking across the bedroom — she opened the bathroom door and headed to the cabinet that held the laundry basket. Pulling on the handle she opened the cabinet panel and dropped the clothing into the basket. Looking up through the bathroom window casually — she could see the neighbor’s backyard and straight into their living room from a large picture frame window. Nothing looked out of the ordinary; after a moment she turned away when a flick of light caught her eyes. Stopping — she slowly turned back around and looked back through the window. Nothing — her eyes must be playing with her she thought. Without another thought about the flicker of light, she left the bathroom to go work on her paper for class.

Later in the afternoon around four, she found herself getting things ready to start on dinner. She had finished her paper with flying colors and was super eager to hear what feedback she would receive. Standing over the kitchen sink she washed the dishes that were lying on the bottom and set them on the drying rack. In deep thought — she tended to bite her bottom lip. Her fiance thought she was adorable when she was lost in a thought, but she never knew why.

A loud knock on her front door pulled her out of her deep state causing her to twitch for a second. She grabbed the towel from her shoulder and wiped her hands on it as she walked towards the front door. Laying her towel back on her shoulder, she unlocked the door and pulled it open. A man with silver blond hair, blue eyes, and a medium build stood before him. He smiled when he saw her and looked quite pleased with himself. Creepy — she thought silently.

“Why hello there — my name is Daniel Motley — I live next door to you.” He motioned to the house with the backyard and large picture window.

He was still smiling she thought but somehow his smile failed to touch his eyes. She could see that he was holding something in his hand and waited to see what he needed.

“I wanted to come and introduce myself — and of course drop off a letter that accidentally was in my mailbox.” He held out the letter in his long thin fingers.

They were perfectly manicured as if he hand-modeled them, but somehow she could only picture them in her mind wrapped around a person's throat. She mentally shook herself and smiled. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Motley, how do you like our little neighborhood? Are you settled in ok?”

He smiled and put his hands behind his back. “ Yes — I’m settling in nicely thank you. I’ll have to invite you — or is it we — to a dinner?” He said with a smirk on his face and looking down at her ring finger.

She was slightly alarmed that her new neighbor was feeling her out —it seemed like he was trying to figure out if she lived alone. Warning flags went off in her head like a siren — she was getting a very uneasy feeling and wondered if it was better to just stay away from him.

“Mr. Motley….”

“Call me Daniel,” he said with a smile. “And you are…?” He prompted her.

“My name is Lauren Cole….” She was cringing inside as she gave her name but didn't see any way out of giving it to him. “Thank you so much for bringing the letter over, it has been a pleasure meeting you. I must get back to my kitchen because I have dinner on the stove that will burn If I’m gone much longer.” She smiled hoping he didn’t notice that she was trying to get rid of him.

Her new neighbor stood there a second longer than he should watching her. His smile had slowly slipped from his face — he almost looked put out by her lack of interest in him. “Lauren — it has been a pleasure meeting you and please — don’t forget my offer for dinner.” He smiled again and casually sauntered off — looking back at her once, before being back on the main sidewalk.

She closed the door and locked it behind her with some swiftness. Turning around, she leaned on the door in silence. Something was not quite right about that man, and she wished now more than ever that Mike was home. After a couple more moments of silence, she casually went around the house making sure all her windows and doors were locked. She was not going to take any chances — especially since she was alone.

That night she had received a phone call from Mike, letting her know he wasn’t going to be able to make it home. There had been several big emergencies down at the hospital and he was going to have to stay put. With some disappointment, she had told Mike to not worry about her, she was going to be just fine. Mike had let her know he loved her and to please get some sleep.

She had already taken her shower for the night and cleaned up the kitchen. She had a sneaking suspicion something wasn’t right with Mike’s work, so she had taken the liberty of getting things ready for the night. After living with Mike for so long, she learned that there were many emergencies during his work. She had accepted the fact that this was part of her future to become a doctor's wife. She crawled into bed, still slightly rattled about her new neighbor. Something was not right with him, but she had checked all the doors and windows. She was satisfied that she would be safe through the night and slowly fell asleep.

A few hours later that night, she was pulled out of deep sleep by a banging sound somewhere in the house. She had sat up in her bed — with her eyes wide open. The hairs on her neck and arms were standing straight up — and her heart was beating at a million miles a moment. She heard the noise again — bang bang — only this time — it sounded closer — nearer to her bedroom. With a scream that retched out of her throat, she jumped out of bed and grabbed the baseball bat from the corner. She ran out of her room and headed to the kitchen where she kept her phone.

She stumbled over the rugs in the hallways and tripped on something she could not see. It was dark — so dark that she hit her leg against something else in the blackness. She could see stars while pain shot up her leg. Cussing profusely — she grabbed her leg dropping the bat on the ground. She was going in circles in a painful dance — when she heard another — bang bang — this time coming from the bathroom side of the house. With terror — she felt around for her phone knocking things off her counter. She finally found the phone despite the panic that set in and picked it up and tried to dial 9–1–1. Only — there was no dial tone. Dread ran through her like a hot poker — she was on her own. She was alone — no help was coming.

She stood shaking — soaking the knowledge of what was happening into her very being. She was NOT going to die without a fight. She was a fighter for Pete’s sake! A thousand thoughts came rushing into her mind as she battled with herself. It was either to defend herself or die trying she thought. After what seemed like an eternity — she decided she was going to defend herself. She sat the phone down and with her foot felt around on the floor in search of the bat. It took her a second but she finally found it. Picking up the bat — she quietly made her way back to her room and headed towards the bathroom. She cautiously listened and she walked silently to her bathroom. Her breathing was ragged — and it sounded so loud in her ears.

She looked across the yard into her neighbor's back yard, when she spotted a blur of light coming from the big picture window in her neighbor's house. She did a double take and noticed that it wasn't a blur, but rather a ghostly woman mouthing something to her. The woman had long dark hair and holes where her eyes should have been. Her mouth kept saying something over and over. She stared in horror at what she was witnessing but was trying to make out what the ghostly apparition was saying. Frightening half to death — she finally realized what it was saying.

Hide — he is coming……

With every ounce of her being — she ran back to her living room and hid behind her living room sofa. She could hear the — bang bang — coming from the back of her house — but there was nothing she could do. Something was trying to get in — she could hear something hitting the back door over and over. She sat still with her baseball bat — praying — waiting for whoever trying to get into her house would fail. The knocking continued — the splintering of wood — the sound of her breath as she breathed raggedly.

What seemed like an eternity — when hacking on the backdoor stopped. Dead silence. Then a loud banging on the front door made her jump causing tears to begin to run down her face. Another loud bang and the front door flew open in a force. She covered her mouth in terror — trying to keep herself quiet. She could see lights and flashlights shooting everywhere and suddenly a man's voice could be heard.

“This is the police! Show yourself!”

She gasped with a sob and slowly stood up with the bat. Lights shone on her face and she could barely make out the shadows that stood in front of her. She dropped the bat as she felt several pairs of hands take her arms below the elbows and usher her forward. Crying — the tears ran down her face in rivers, she went with the men ushering outside. They had made it outside and a blast of cold hit her face causing her to shiver. She could make out a ring of cop cars and ambulances. Flashing of lights where everywhere — and in the back people were starting to gather. She was taken across the grass to a pair of medics and was ushered into an ambulance. She sat down on a gurney crying and shivering — when in the next moment — she felt herself falling into a blackness as her body gave out on her.

She woke up with a dreadful headache — lost and confused she tried to sit up, but found she lacked the strength. She laid back down looked around the room and realized she was in a hospital bed. The door to the room was open and she could hear the talking of people outside. She held her hand to her forehead and closed her eyes. As she sat there lost in her thoughts, memories started coming to her in flashes, and she realized with great horror that she escaped a terrifying event. She remembered that someone was breaking into her house — and the terror she felt at that moment was all-consuming.

“I see that you’re awake – good.” A voice said above her thrusting her out of her thoughts.

She opened her eyes to see a doctor standing in front of her with a long white coat. He had black hair and green eyes, and he showed real concern on his face. She recognized him instantly and cried out to him. She tried to sit up and he quickly came down and gave her a hug.

“When I heard what was happening– I was so scared! I thought I might have lost you!” His voice trembled as he hugged her. She could feel tears on the side of her neck and she wept as well.

“Mike,” she said brokenly– “I'm just glad to see you! I thought that I might not make it out of life!” She said with great passion. They embraced each other for another minute or so and then they pulled apart.

Mike brushed the tears from her face with his hand and gave her a kiss on the lips. She smiled at the loving touch but stopped when she noticed a police officer had stepped into the room.

“Ma-am” the officer stated. “I’m glad to see you are doing all right.” He came closer to the bed and removed his hat in respect. “ I wanted to let you know we arrested your neighbor Daniel Motley. We were able to get to him before he was able to attack you. He was quite close – but we got there just in time.” The officer stated matter of factly.

She looked questionably at the officer and then at Mike. “How did you know to come to my house? I tried the phone but there was no dial tone?”

Mike spoke up grimly, “I tried to call the house — but only got a busy tone. I knew there was no way you would be up so late.” He looked at the officer and stated, I called the police to go by and check on you. I had a feeling deep in my gut that something was wrong. Thanked God I did!” He clearly was affected and she saw that he was trying not to show it.

The officer cleared his throat, “ When we did a drive-by, we noticed that somebody was outside your house. We called for backup and went in. We went around your home and noticed he had come in through the bathroom window. Thankfully you were in the living room — or else he may have gotten to you before we did.”

She sat there stunned. She looked at Mike and then asked the officer, “Was there damage around the house? I kept hearing bang-bang sounds. They kept moving around the house as if someone was surrounding my home.”

“No damage mam. Nothing at all.”

“Are you sure?” She asked questionably. “I could have sworn I heard someone hacking at the back door trying to get in. It was terrifying!”

The officer looked at Mike and then back at her. “No hack marks. Just the bathroom window where Motley broke in.” The officer nodded to Mike and they both walked outside the room.

Too stunned to speak she sat there waiting for Mike to come back. After about ten minutes, Mike came back in. “Are you ok honey?” He asked softly.

“Mike – I heard banging sounds around the house, and I heard someone breaking in. I was not imagining it!”

Mike frowned and sat down at the bedside. “ Honey – the officer informed me that there was a murder in the house — before — about twenty years ago. A lady by the name of Jennifer Hall was murdered in that very house, by someone who they never caught. The killer had hacked into the backdoor but terrorized Jennifer before breaking in. They banged on the house until the lady was thoroughly terrorized — then he killed her.” His face was filled with anger and confusion. “Daniel Motley is a wanted man for raping and killing five women. The police went next door to his house and found the bodies of several women buried in his basement.”

She sat there stunned. How in the world — did she go through that whole situation only to find out that it didn’t happen? The only thing that had happened — was her neighbor was trying to break in to kill her and do unspeakable things. Her mind was a whirlwind of terror, confusion, and anger. She looked around the room while Mike still sat on her bed. Her eyes were taking in the room — when she caught sight of a lady standing in the corner behind Mike. The same ghostly figure she saw in her neighbor's window — except she looked normal. Jennifer… she thought to herself. Jennifer was smiling at her. She smiled back at Jennifer and mouthed thank you. Jennifer's smile grew and she slowly faded into the corner out of sight. She looked at Mike and smiled. “Mike — I will be all right. We will be all right.”

Mike's face transformed from anger to a beautiful smile. He placed his hand over hers and they both smiled at each other deeply in love.

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