Still of the Night
rolled over in her bed. It was the fourth night in a row that she hadn't slept
and comfort seemed impossible to find. It had been a record breaking week; with
temperatures soaring, which combined with the bright summer nights, made it all
but impossible for the light sleeper to sleep and Jane was not merely a light
sleeper; she was a seasoned insomniac. Even though her bedroom window was
already open, Jane couldn't take the uncomfortable heat anymore, and decided
that if she could open the window even another inch, then she could justify
some small victory against the suffocating night air.
As she stood up, she could feel herself forcing her way through the scorching air, choosing not to stand fully for fear of fainting. She moved over to the window; with a cruel grogginess that only insomniacs knew, and pushed her arm through the crack in the curtain, and searched for the window like a vet searching for a baby calf.
Jane pushed her arm fully through the curtains, until she was up to her shoulder, but she couldn't find the window. She quickly thought about how much time she was willing to spend, blindly feeling for the window before she would have to admit defeat, and finally decided that this would be a victory or loss which nobody would be interested in hearing about at work the next day, so leaned forward, pushing her face through the gap too.
Instantly she saw the window, all but one centimeter from her original position and with a small feeling of defeat, she pushed the window its final two creaks until it was fully open.
As Jane pulled herself back through the curtain, she felt the heat hitting her ten times worse than before, and took one last glimpse of the back garden, to try and at least remember the coolness even if it was looking unlikely that she would feel it.
Just as her face was coming back through the curtains, something caught her eye in the reflection of the wide-open window. As she fully entered the swelter of her room, she stood frozen for a second, and tried to reassure herself, that she had seen nothing, in fact she didn’t really know what she had seen.
Probably nothing she concluded, so what would be the harm in looking. But then the other thought crept into her head. What if it was something? And whatever it was, would have definitely just seen her stubbornly looking for the window, in what had been a mostly pointless endeavour.
Jane already knew that she wouldn't sleep that night, but she couldn't bare the thought of being terrified as well. It’s one thing not to sleep, but another to jump at every noise she would hear for the entirety of the night.
So there was only one choice, Jane knew that she was going to look out of the window, she had to. And more than likely, there was going to be nothing there. Jane crouched down, and tip toed to the crack in the curtains she had left. She slowly stood up, looking vertically along the gap, slowly uncovering more and more of her garden, from the back to the front.
As Jane saw more and more of the garden, relief flowed over her, and her confidence grew. She stood upright; knocking at least a minute off the time it should have took her to achieve the last foot of the long thin peephole, and a cold sweat burst from her pours. Her heart began pounding like a race horse fresh from the grand national, and her eyes began to focus, providing her with more and more detail of what was outside.
A pair of eyes starred back at Jane, and not in her general direction, but directly at her. Even though it was a light night, the figure was hard to make out, it was clearly a man, but the only detail that stood out were his eyes. They reflected the light like a cats, and were near hypnotic. Jane stood deadly still, waiting for the man to go, but he stayed where he was, just as still as Jane, but without the fear. It was definitely his choice to be there.
Sweat poured down Jane’s face, and stung as it dripped into her eyes, but she could not move her gaze from him, she had to know where he was, as long as he was out there, then she would be safe. Jane reached over to the bedside table for her phone, and just like with the window, she helplessly flailed her arm looking for it, only this time refusing to look. Jane stretched with all her being, and her little finger felt the edge of her phone. She desperately tried to pull it towards her, but sweat ran down her arms and to her fingertips, making any kind of grip impossible.
Tears began to well up in Jane’s eyes, but she was too scared to blink, and the garden began to slowly go out of focus, as the tears flooded her vision. She could see less and less of the figure, as she unsuccessfully tried to grab the phone again and again.
Just as Jane’s vision was to become completely obscured, she saw the figure, the man, the bastard who had decided to pick her garden, raise his arm, and point at her. That was too much, Jane could hardly breathe now, and she flung herself round, and grabbed the phone, hitting the speed dial buttons, hoping for someone who would be able to help to answer.
had gone to school with Jane, and now they worked together, more a coincidence
then something which was planned, but they had always been friends, in fact
Mark was probably Jane’s oldest friend, he had known her for; well forever. But
at this moment in time, Mark didn’t know Jane, he didn't know anything about what
was going on with her, or anywhere in the world. Mark had the opposite problem
to Jane, and was fast asleep. Marks phone began to ring, but it was going to
take more than that to wake him. The phone rang and rang, before clicking onto
the answer machine.
" I’m sorry but I’m not in right now" sounded the usual schbeil, clicking to the message record position. A tiny whisper barely registered on the machine "help me, somebody please" but that would not be enough to wake Mark, a man who lived next to a train track, and below a flight path, the reason his house had been a bargain, and still slept soundly every night.
Jane slumped in the corner of her room, tears streaming from her face, and looked across at her bedroom door. It was wide open, as was every other door in the house, and every window. Jane dragged herself up, and ran across her room to shut the door, she slammed it to, and pulled her bed across it. She slowly walked back to the window, to see if the man was still there, and gently pushed a tear stained cheek against the curtains, and peered through. Her eye widened, then scanned the garden looking for the figure, where was he? where had in gone? what did he want? There had been a time for quietness before, when the man was starring straight at her, but times had changed, and Jane finally found her voice.
The low hiss of the answer machine still recording, was like whale music to Mark, and only added to his relaxing slumber. A red light shone to signify that the tape was coming to an end, and the last few seconds of tape began its journey around the spools. Then, as if a Japanese fishing boat had fired its razor sharp harpoons into a pair of singing whales, the music violently turned to screams, which pierced Marks sleep, as easy as the blades pierced the majestic beasts flesh. Mark jumped out of bed, and spun around clenching his fists, ready to ward off whatever creature had made that noise in his room. He frantically looked around, finally focusing on the source of the noise, his answering machine.
Jane fell to her knees sobbing, the beeping from the answer machine quietly sounding next to her, then;
“Hello…Hello…is somebody there” echoed from the receiver which was lying on the floor in a tangle of its own cord.
“please” Mark could hear, in a tiny voice, “somebody, please”
“Jane, is that you, what’s wrong…Jane JANE” Mark received no response, “ Jane, stay there, I’m coming.”
Mark quickly pulled his clothes on, and ran downstairs to his car. He didn’t know how he knew it was Jane, maybe he had been dreaming about her, maybe this was the dream, either way, he had to make sure.
A breeze began to pick-up, and flowed through Jane’s house, rattling and slamming the doors throughout, creating the noises of an infinite amount of possibilities, and locations for the man. Jane crawled onto her hands and knees, and searched the room for some kind of weapon, the man, that thing, could be anywhere by now. See looked around, but the only viable weapon she could find, was her left four inch heeled stiletto, and why not she thought, they hurt enough just to wear them, never mind when they are stabbed into your head.
Jane gripped hold of the shoe tightly, and went to listen against her door. The decorative buckle dug deep into her hand, and blood trickled quickly down her arm, taking a piggyback over the sweat. There was too much noise behind the door for Jane to hear anything in particular, and every noise she heard, seemed like it was him, standing, waiting, right outside.
Marks car quickly and awkwardly pulled up outside Jane’s house, in the rush he had forgotten his glasses, and it had been pure luck that he had made it at all. He squinted through the darkness, and looked for signs of trouble, but all seemed calm and still. He slowly began to walk towards the house, not wanting to barge in, for fear that he was completely wrong about what was going on. As he crept into the pitch black shadow, that the side of the house cast, he put out his hand, so as to feel his way through the nothing that he could see.
As he emerged from the dark shadows, his fuzzy eyesight began to come back, and he squinted hard to focus. It was like being in a thick fog, and Mark had to get close before he could see anything. As he walked around the house, the back door started to form in his fuzzy vision, and it was wide open. It suddenly occurred to Mark how helpless he was without his glasses, and that if there was something wrong, he would need every advantage he could get, if he was to be of any help. With this thought, Mark slowly and quietly crept through the back door, and made his way through the house.
Inside, it was hard for Mark to see anything, even when he did get close to it, and as he felt through the dark like a blind man lost, he kept knocking ornaments and furniture.
Jane heard a smash from downstairs, and moved her head away from the door. It was the evidence she had been listening for that he was in the house, and now she knew where he was. She had been redecorating the bathroom, and there were weapons in there, a hammer, screwdriver, chisel, this is what Jane needed, and she decided it was her best chance to get them. She pulled the bed away from her door, and ran across the hall into the bathroom. She looked down and grabbed the screwdriver, then she opened the mirrored door of the bathroom cabinet, and positioned it so that she could see out into the hall.
She could hear him coming now, he was close. Jane tightened her grip on the dusty screwdriver, and the stinging sensation registered on her face, as it pushed against her cut, but she had no time for pain, she had to concentrate. The shadows outside the bathroom began to change, and she knew this was it, she focused on the mirror, and pulled her arm back. A dark figure appeared, and Jane swung round her arm, and plunged the screwdriver deep into the mans neck. Blood jetted from the ruptured artery, and Jane moved round to look at him.
Mark looked at Jane, unable to speak, blood gurgling in his mouth, and Jane stood stunned, covered in his blood, her hand still firmly locked to the screwdriver. Quietly, the man stepped out from behind the shower curtain, and started to walk towards Jane. As he got about a foot away, he came into Marks vision, and the man stopped perfectly still, just like when Jane had been watching him. Mark starred at him, unable to warn Jane, the blood being quickly pumped from his body, by his heart which was now racing. Mark just stared at him, until his vision started to fade, and the man seemed to be able to move again. As Mark fell to the floor, he realised that if you looked at him, then he couldn't move, that was the secret to this strange intruder. But it was too late, by the time Mark had hit the floor, he was dead, and the man was able to move again.
Jane was still in a state of shock trying to work out what had happened, she had no idea that he was behind her, and was helpless to stop him, as he grabbed her, violently smashing her head into the mirror. Blood covered her face, and she could not see anything. She tried to run away, but kept slipping on the bathroom floor which was now completely drenched in blood. She felt a powerful vice like hand clench around her neck, and pull her up, before she writhed in agony as he pushed his long black fingernails into her eyes. A strange light began to shine from his eyes, and then from hers. He let go, and she began to convulse on the floor, Jane felt like glass was being pushed through her veins, and the pain was unbearable. The light shone brightly from Jane’s eyes, as the man’s grew dim, and he fell to the floor next to Mark.
It was a week before the police came. Someone had complained about Marks car being awkwardly parked in front of Jane’s house, and when they had checked the back of the house, they had found the open door, and noticed the unmistakable smell of death. Yellow police tape surrounded the house for weeks, and news reports were filled with stories of Jane and her connection to the double murder, but she was never found. Eventually all of the rumours settled, and new stories filled the news. The house went up for sale, and was bought almost immediately.
Geoff couldn't believe the bargain he had got with the house, and loved nothing more than boring his friends at work with the details. He shrugged off the tales they told him about murders and his house, but deep down he had felt a little uneasy since he bought it. He couldn't explain the feeling, it was like being watched.