It was late at night when I got to Casey’s house. At about 3 AM, I parked in the gravel driveway or the little yellow house and turned off the ignition. The house was cheerful looking, with bright flowers lining the small wooden porch. The windows were dark as I got out of my car and made my way up the driveway, the stones crunching beneath my feet, and up the creaking wooden stairs. I knocked and waited, but no one answered. I tried the handle. The door was unlocked and swung open easily as if inviting me in. I walked straight into the dark living room.
“Casey? Are you here?” I called into the house. Up the stairs, I hear the floors creaking.
A shiver runs across my spine, and I turn to flip the light switch by the door. Light floods the room, and the unsettling feeling begins to fade but doesn’t disappear completely. “Casey, I’m here! Are you home?” I yell toward the stairs as I close the door behind me, and begin to take off my yellow scarf and heavy green coat, and hang them on the rack beside the door. The house is icy cold, and when I breathe out, I can almost see my breath. I think about putting my coat and scarf back on as I rub the goose bumps forming on my forearms.
I walk through the living room, into a dark kitchen, and flip on the light. I stop dead in my tracks. The floor is almost completely covered in garbage, the trash can tipped over onto its side. The counters are covered in what looks like coffee, and the sink is filled with dishes, the faucet running on full blast. The table is flipped on its side, and the chairs are upside down, leaning against the wall. Glass is littered about the floor. Carefully, I walk further in and notice that the back door is hanging wide open, and as I head toward it to check if Casey is outside, it slams shut, the sound like a clap of thunder, right in my face. My heart begins to race as I tell myself that it was just a gust of wind. I’ve always overreacted to this type of thing. It’s all in my head, I tell myself.
“Elizabeth?” I hear from behind me and turn. I see my sister coming down the stairs, her hair messed up, wearing duck themed pajamas. “What are you doing here? I thought you said you wouldn’t be here until three tomorrow,” she says, her voice sounding tired.
I shook my head. “Three AM, Casey.”
“Oh…” Casey’s eyes turn glassy as if she’s seeing through me. “Come to your room then." Her voice is dull, with no inflection in it whatsoever. A shiver runs down my entire body as she turns, and slowly walks back up the stairs, as if in a trance. My brows furrowed, a strange feeling in my gut telling me to go back to my car, and drive forever, I follow her, but once I reach the top of the stairs, Casey is nowhere in sight.
“Casey?” Where are you?” I call, my stomach churning with fear.
I walk to the first door at the top of the stairs and open it. It’s a bathroom, silent and dark. A cool breeze hits me from the open window. I close the door and move to the next one. Unease spreads through me as I approach it. Just being near this door makes my heart begin to race, and my palms start to sweat. I slowly open the door, my hand inexplicably shaking like a leaf. A gust of hot air hits me in the face, a low growl comes from somewhere inside, heightening my fear. I swing the door fully open, fast and flip on the light. The bed is empty and made, the pillows fluffy and piled high. I put my things down right inside the door. It was just my imagination. Nothing more. I leave the door open, the light on, and go on to find Casey’s room.
Her’s is the next door, and when I open it, I see her sleeping on her bed, softly snoring. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I have to fight myself to keep from running away.
But why would I run away? I just got here. Casey’s been waiting for me for hours.
“Hey, Case,” I whisper. She doesn't move. I go into her room and shake her shoulder lightly. “Casey? Why’d you go back to sleep?”
She wakes up suddenly, sitting bolt upright, breathing heavily, her eyes full of terror in the moments before she sees me. She’s shaking all over.
“Elizabeth? When did you get here?” She asks, her voice terrified.
“I was just talking to you downstairs,” I say, confusion setting in. “You said you were going to show me to my room, and then you disappeared. I’ve been looking for you.”
Casey goes as white as the sheets wrapped around her. “I... was downstairs?” Her voice trembled with fear.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, sitting on the edge of her bed, laying a hand lightly on her back.
“You’ve been looking for me? Where? You didn’t go into the guest room, did you?” She sounds more afraid than I’ve ever heard her sound before.
“Casey, what the hell—”
A deep and guttural laugh interrupts me, echoed through through the house, chilling me down to the bones. A shiver runs down my spine as the bedroom door slams closed. The air in the room seemed to freeze. Casey let out a puff of air, which came out white and clung to me, sobbing.
“What’s happening?” I asked, absolute panic unfurling inside me. “What’s going on?” My voice rose with the fear.
I knew I should have left! I think. I knew I should never have come!
“That’s where I had the monster trapped,” Casey replies, her voice so choked with tears I can hardly understand her. “And you let him out.”
From in front of the door, a pair of glowing red eyes shine through the darkness, the moonlight shining through the open curtains showing sharp, jagged white teeth. A growl sounded through the room, and darkness descended around me.