b e g i n n i n g
The night was dreary, but the weathermen had said the storms would subside. The trees bent in the wind and the leaves swirled in the streets. The storm came without a warning, it had appeared early in the morning and stayed all day. The reporters said that it took out a few power lines and some trees already, and the radio stations stated that the storm hadn’t shown up on the radars. Throughout the day as the winds picked up there was talk about the power going out completely, yet it hadn't been confirmed as a possibility.
The diner had been eerily quiet during my shift and the ride home on the subway was giving me chills down my spine. It was as if no one wanted to go outside. It was just a little rain, and it had rained like this before, but people were overreacting.
I reach my stop and step out the mostly empty car into an almost deserted station. My footsteps echo as I climb the stairs and open my umbrella. It is pouring harder now and I walk through the puddles on the sidewalk to get to my apartment. The road holds no cars and all the little shops along the street are dark. My feet start to walk faster as I look around and see there is no one else for two blocks. My heart starts pounding until my apartment building comes into view and I race up the steps and enter the lobby.
The lights are dimmed as if it is after hours and the doorman’s podium is abandoned. My breath picks up as I walk towards the elevator and take out my phone and dial the first number that comes to mind. The call goes dead without ringing and my head starts pounding as I click the button to the elevator repeatedly as if it will bring it down faster.
“Please go,” I whisper to myself as tears threaten to fall from my eyes.
Finally, the elevator doors ding and open. A sigh of relief breaks past my lips. I step quickly inside and start frantically hitting the seventh-floor button. The light above the door blinks as the numbers start to increase and the elevator moves through the floors. It squeaks to a stop and I smack the button for the doors to open and when they gradually do I run through the crack. I start digging in my pockets to find my keys as I come to my door. I pull them out and accidentally let them slip out of my hand. They hit the carpet with a jingle and I bend over to grab them.
I struggle to find the right one and start panicking. My breathing gets shaky and I finally put the right one into the lock and twist it as fast as I can. The sound of the locks turning brings my heart rate up. I push open the door and slip out of my shoes and slide the pair closer to the pile already waiting for them. I let go of my things and they crash onto the table as I take a glance around.
The place feels creepy being completely black and my heart sinks into my stomach. I slowly move through the kitchen and past the living room. The window catches my eye, so I wander over and place my hand against the cool glass. I stare out into the city of New York and try to relax my body. I take deep breaths and close my eyes to focus on my heartbeat.
“Harper are you home?” I ask, turning around and walking to her door. There is no answer and I cover my mouth to keep silent as I push open her door slowly. She isn't inside and it looks almost unfamiliar. I pull out my phone and dial my dad’s number. The call goes straight to voice mail, but I try calling again. It rings a few times and the sound of the call connecting shatters me.
“Dad! Thank goodness you picked up.” I say into the phone as my tears fall.
“Honey, what’s wrong? Is everything okay,” he asks worriedly.
I wipe my eyes and tell myself to calm down. “Yeah, things just felt weird, how are you?”
He sighs tiredly. "I'm good darling. Do I need to come over?"
"No, I'll be okay, it's probably just the storm anyway."
I hear a crash over the phone and my father's shouts ring through the speaker. It is a gut-wrenching sound and I fall to the ground as a sob rips past my lips.
“Dad,” I scream into the phone. I sit quietly and wait for his voice to come out of the speakers but I am met with silence. Finally, I hear some sort of noise and I click the volume button and bring the phone closer to my ear.
“Sweetie, I love you so much,” my dad gasps and the line goes dead. I scream as my fingers let the phone drop. I crawl over to the window and press my body against it and my eyes watch in horror as the lights across the city turn black. My heart stops beating loudly in my ears as I pass out and the rain stops suddenly.
There is a commotion that surrounds me as people enter my apartment and loud voices wash over me, but my body forces me to sleep as I continue to let tears spill from my eyes. I know that my father is dead, but a part of me still clings to the hope that he was just hit over the head or hurt, he won't be dead when I send someone to check on him. He is alive and well, and that mantra brainwashes me until it's the only thing I can remember from that night. I feel the black edges of unconsciousness slowly creep into my mind and I start letting it take over.
I start hoping to myself that when I wake up I won't remember this terrible night, but the voice in my head tells me that I will remember every second. My father's scream and final words will repeat inside my head and echo around for years. That thought alone breaks me and I finally welcome the darkness with open arms and let it take me away.