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In the Dark and In the Quiet

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Summary

A short story about dealing with unwanted guests.

Genre:
Mystery
Author:
cory1125
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
7
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

October 22nd

“For the love of…”

The power went out again. It’s not that it happens all the time, it’s that it happens just enough, and just when the movie is getting good. That’s clearly how it seems, and it’s clearly irritating.

In the darkness, Dustin groped around on the sofa next to him for his cellular phone. He found it and flicked on the flashlight. Dustin still had just enough of that fear inside of him when the lights go out – he certainly felt a little jolt of panic in between the power flipping off and his flashlight turning on. He didn’t like to admit it, though. He’s 23 now; old enough to know ghosts and the like aren’t real, but not quite old enough to completely rule out the possibility.

Or maybe it was just too many scary movies. It’s funny, really, how someone who’s still afraid of the dark would still watch horror flicks. That’s what Dustin had been watching when the power stopped: One of those bloody movies, the kind where some kids get hacked up by a guy with a big knife who came back from the grave. He liked all of ’em, though one might be hard-pressed to find much difference from one movie to the next. They all seemed to be about killing people in newer and more creative ways.

That sort of movie is fine in the day when everything’s bright, but when it gets darker, everything not-real starts to seem a little more plausible. He did gain some sense of security from the family dog, Mojo, who sat on the couch nearby, panting. From the edges of the flashlight’s beam, he could see Mojo watching him intently, likely wondering if Dustin was going to leave and if he should bother following.

“Don’t get up, buddy, just heading to flip the switch.” Dustin turned and made his way for the stairs. He’d just need to head up and flip the breaker to get things going again.

There never really was an explanation for why the power would go out, but it was clear that Don, Dustin’s father, had no intention of calling an electrician. They’d already renovated much of the house and Don didn’t want to pay out for what he thought would likely be an easy, do-it-yourself fix. That’s what he said, anyway, though he still hadn’t gotten around to looking into the issue. It irritated Dustin, but every time he brought it up, Don would wave his hand and tell him he’d get to it eventually. “It maybe happens once a week or so and you just flip the switch to fix it. I’ll get around to it, Dustin.” He had a dismissive tone when last they’d spoken about it.

Mojo hopped off the couch to follow Dustin up as soon as he heard the stairs creak. Big dog, that one, probably every bit of 110 pounds -- a mastiff of some kind, full-grown but not old. Stunk up the place if he ate the wrong kind of dog food. Some find that sort of thing gross or irritating, but Dustin and Don would just crack jokes about it.

Dustin flipped the breaker. “There we go,” he muttered to himself as the lights flicked back on. “Be a freakin’ treat when I don’t have to do this all the time.” He appeared to be talking to Mojo, who lazily followed Dustin back downstairs now that his task was complete.

Dustin sat back down on the sofa, a large sectional, turned the television back on, and turned off the flashlight on his phone. He then patted the couch for Mojo, who jumped up and settled a few cushions away, letting out a deep exhale as he relaxed. Mojo then promptly resumed his panting.

Dustin flipped his movie back on, then unzipped his pants and kicked them off onto the floor. Don was away on a business trip, which meant Dustin would spend more time with his pants off than on. In just his boxers and a t-shirt now, he grabbed a pillow to relax, and it wasn’t long before he fell asleep.

Mojo was awake, though. Panting and staring into the corner of the room at nothing. Dustin didn’t like it when Mojo stared off like that; it put him on edge. Every now and again at bed time, in the dark and in the quiet, Dustin would roll his rosary around in his hands, muttering prayers under his breath as he tried to fall asleep. It was hard to hear exactly what he was saying, but it was easy to notice that Dustin got a lot jumpier whenever the lights went out.

And the lights did go out. Again. An hour or so after Dustin had reset the breaker. He’d probably have been spooked, or at the very least irritated, if he were awake. Mojo stared into the corner for a little while longer before he, too, fell asleep. The house was quiet for an hour or two until Dustin woke up to the pitch black.

He sat up groggily, flipped on the flashlight from his phone again, and tried to turn on the television. Nothing. This wasn’t, strictly speaking, normal. Usually the breaker doesn’t quit this often. Dustin laid back down, turned his flashlight off, and fell back asleep.

Mojo eventually got off the couch and hopped onto the floor, panting. Must have been too hot up there. He curled up a few feet away on the carpeted floor and lay on his side. He moved around a few more times throughout the night, but other than that, it was quiet.

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