Abi Prendergast dashes into her home, slamming the door closed. With a shaky hand, she slots the golden lock in place. She looks to the dark figure which followed her this way. It shadows the porch. Abi backs away from the pane at the door’s side and blinks back tears as the shadow encroaches. From the corner of the hallway, she can see it peering through the door. But she can’t see its face, merely a shadow of a figure. Petrified, she cups a quivering hand over her mouth to muffle her hyperventilated breaths. Frozen against the wall in the hallway, she darts her eyes in the shadow’s direction. Slowly, it fades away from the door.
Her breaths still unsteady, she releases a sigh of relief and slowly creeps back towards the doorframe. There’s nothing. The figure is gone. Abi thinks that should console her, but she’s watched one too many horror movies. The entity stalking the victim never abandons their intentions. If they disappear, it’s to lure their victim into a false sense of security; to hide, so they’ll come into sight where they can lunge from the shadows and take them by surprise. It makes her even more unsettled.
‘Mom, Dad,’ she tremors. ‘Are you there?’
No response. She rushes to the living room and yanks the landline phone from the receiver. She frantically dials the number of the Police. The creaking of the staircase prompts her to whip her head towards the hallway. Phone gripped tightly in one hand, she makes a grab for the poker from the side of the fireplace. ‘Who’s there?’
The creaking continues. The treading footsteps are making their way closer and closer to the living room. Abi summons all the inner boldness she has, places the phone down, raises the poker upwards and sprints into the hallway, ready to take a swing. But, there’s nobody there except her. She lowers the poker. ‘Charlene, if this is you playing some kind of sick joke to scare me, it’s not funny.’
This time, a response is given in the form of the refrigerator door creaking its way open. She whips her head around and her eyes widen as the door comes to a stop. She then spins around, the poker still in hand as a loud thumping noise sounds from upstairs. Once more, she cups her hand over her face and backs away towards the door. Her eyes still fixed on the staircase, she fumbles about with her hand behind her back, attempting to unlatch the door. The banging continues, becoming louder with each thump. Still struggling to unlock the door, a flow of tears begins to stream down her face and sweat drips from her hairline. She spins around and yanks on the lock. No use. It’s wedged in place; it won’t budge. Frantically, she tries again, and again, and again. ‘Shit,’ she trembles. ‘Come on, open.’
Then, the voices begin to echo. ‘Abi,’ it hisses. ‘Abi. Abi.’
The tight curls of her perm bounce slightly as she turns around. ‘Who are you?’ she screams. ‘And what do you want?’
‘You,’ it replies. ‘You, you.’
She darts her eyes to the flickering bulbs above. She continues to struggle against the bolt. Then, the lights dim down to engulf Abi in a pit of darkness. The voice persists, its hisses becoming sharper with each utterance of her name. ‘Abi, Abi, Abi.’
And then, prevailing over the hushed whispers, comes a shrill, high pitched scream. Afterwards, the house falls deadly silent.