For those of you just joining in, this is a weekly series during the month of October. Every Monday, I tell a story. You, dear reader, must decide if the story is true or not. If you’re right, then you’ll be entered to win all three parts to The Bookwyrm Series, an urban fantasy set in the South. You can comment every week, if you like! However, you can’t go back and comment on preceding weeks.
No one commented last week, so there’s no winner to announce! Last week, I told the story of Crybaby Bridge. And, again, it was a freebie, because it was both true and false.
It was true in that, yes, there was a bridge near where I lived called Crybaby Bridge and we did go fishing there. And, yes, my father told me that story. However, it never happened.
The strange crying sometimes reported in the area was not the apparition of a child. Bobcats make a sound that’s very similar to that of a crying child. If a bridge is named Crybaby Bridge, you can be sure that a bobcat is living in the area.
Is no one interested in winning all three parts to The Bookwyrm Series? I’m making this as easy as possible! Oh, well, even if no one enters, I’m still entertaining myself.
Onward to this week’s story!
I laughed into the phone, turning a little to prop myself up on an elbow. “He did not!”
“Are you calling me a liar, little girl?” Marc’s voice was a soothing bur in my ear. The rest of the house was dark and silent, but my bedroom, lit by my bedside lamp, was filled with warmth and laughter.
It was the weekend and I had the house to myself. My roommate, despite laying down several hundred dollars a month as her part of the rent, went to her parents’ every weekend. It was a habit that both baffled and delighted me. Baffled because, why rent a house when you spend two or three days out of seven elsewhere, and delighted because I’ve never been one for roommates anyhow.
So, with the house unoccupied, I left my bedroom door open and carried on a conversation with my godfather at full throttle, brimming with the wit and sarcasm that could offend sensitive eavesdroppers.
“No, I would never,” I replied. A small sound drew my attention across the room, to the row of windows lining the wall. It sounded like something rubbing against the sill.
“I’ll have you know what everything I say to you is true. Even the part about your daddy finding you in the middle of a cornfield.”
I snorted and got out of bed. “How’s the garden going?”
As he described the current state of his cucumbers, I looked out the window. My bedroom light caused a fishbowl effect and I couldn’t make out anything in the backyard. Cupping a hand to block the light, I squinted into the darkness. Nothing moved save the trees in a light breeze.
Brushing the sound off as imagination, I returned to bed and chatted with Marc for a while longer before wishing him a goodnight. This was before I got a cell phone and the cordless house phone charged in the kitchen. After returning it to its cradle, I went to bed.
Tall hedges and trees surrounding the property blocked most of the neighborhood’s ambient light. Flicking off the lamp plunged my room into near-total-darkness.
The scratching sound came again.
I laid in the dark, trying to identify the noise. There were bushes underneath the windows but none tall enough to rub against the sill. We had no pets, so it wasn’t a dog or cat wanting inside. And wouldn’t I hear other animal noises, like whining?
A growing dread curled in my gut and I flicked on the light. The sound stopped. I went to the window and looked out.
Nothing. Leaning back, I took a longer look at the window itself and realized…
Earlier that day, to welcome in a surprisingly cool August day, I had opened that window. When I tried to close it, it had stuck. Trying as hard as I could, it remained jammed slightly open.
I laid both hands against the top and pressed down as hard as I could, even throwing some weight against it. Nothing happened.
Well, if I can’t move it, I thought, then nothing else can.
I went back to bed. For a few seconds, I heard nothing and started to relax into sleep.
A rattling came from down the hall. I recognized it immediately. The rental home came with a sun room, which I used as a dining room. The rattling came from the outside door of the sun room.
The dread burst into full-fledged fear, filling my veins with ice-cold adrenaline. Whoever it was had to know I was home. That meant they didn’t care. Did they know I was a woman? For a brief second, I thought I was going to vomit.
The kitchen was barely a hundred feet away but it might as well have been a hundred miles. The rattling at the door stopped for a moment, then started again. Forcing my legs to move, I ran from my bedroom to the kitchen, flicking on the back yard light as I went.
I snatched the phone from the cradle and called 911. The operator assured me someone was on the way and to stay inside. She hung up and I almost called back just to hear a voice. With the phone clutched to my chest, I went to the glass door that led into the sun room. Looking out, I could see into the yard.
It was empty.
The police arrived to find no one. Two officers managed to close the window and a female cop took my statement. Because they found nothing, I felt foolish, as if my imagination had run wild.
The next day, when I saw tool marks on the outside of the window, as if someone had been using a crowbar for leverage, I realized I hadn’t been foolish at all.
True or False
Yes, this story isn’t paranormal but it’s still frightening. Is it true or false? Comment below! If you’re right, you have a shot at winning all three parts of The Bookwyrm Series!