This previously unreleased short story will be featured in installments over the next few weeks. Follow along and enjoy…the Room with a View.
Room with a View – Part 2
He was tired. The day had been long between his shift at the gas station and the classes at the college. Sometimes he wondered if his life would get better. He liked going to school and learning history and science. But he didn’t really know what he wanted to do once he finished school. So what was the purpose? Craig felt like he just went to school to make his parents happy and so that he fit in with his friends. They all went to big schools and prestigious programs. And don’t even get me started on the gas station, Craig mumbled.
He slammed the book closed and stretched upon his bed. Two hours of studying followed by another two hours of reading boring textbooks. Craig wanted to get some sleep so the repetitive cycle could continue in the morning. At least with some rest, he could deal with the mundane. Last night had put a crimp in his beauty rest.
Craig had forgotten about the knocking. His job and schooling had occupied his mind all day and the thought of last night’s intrusion had remained dormant. Until now.
He toyed with the idea of sleeping with the lights on. His mother would come turn them off and then he would have to suffer through the rants about wasting money on electricity. All parents seemed obsessed with pinching pennies. If it wasn’t an outburst about leaving lights on or windows open, then it was a tirade about how they used to overcome insurmountable odds just to get a slice of bread. Craig giggled at some of the stories he heard. Like the one where his father didn’t have a bus that could take him to school. So he had to sneak into the back of old man Wellington’s pickup truck to make the five mile trek to school. And one time, he jumped in the bed of the truck and rode to town in a puddle of blood, not realizing until he got off and ran into the school. Apparently, Wellington had brought home a gutted deer from his hunting trip but hadn’t washed out the bed yet. Classic, he recalled.
Rather than admit he was a scaredy-cat, Craig walked to the window and lowered the shade. He pulled the curtains together to seal off the monsters in the woods. Then he flicked the light switch off. After stripping off his jeans and tee shirt, Craig climbed into bed and pulled the comforter tight to his chin.
Craig jumped up from the loud sound. His breath came in fits before he realized the sound was his textbook hitting the floor. He forgot to take the books off his bed. So they must have fallen off when he pulled on the comforter. Craig admonished himself for being so jumpy.
The knocking really got to him.
He lay awake, staring at the clock’s glowing red numbers for hours. The witching hour arrived without a repeat visit at the window. He sighed and wriggled under the covers with relief. Craig started to drift off. Finally.
Knock, knock, knock.
His eyes bolted open.
Craig stiffened in his bed. He thought the knocking from last night was an aberration. Yet, it arrived again.
He felt his toes curl up with fear, the comforter sliding against his feet. Craig held his breath to eliminate the sound. But it was quickly replaced by the pounding of his blood in his temples. He stared at the window, the darkened square with a faint outline of moonlight. Craig wondered if his parents heard the knocking too. How could they? It was barely audible in his room.
Knock, knock, knock.
The scratchy sound adding ice to Craig’s veins. His eyes searched the blackened room for movement. If something were outside the window then it could just as easily be in the room. He clucked his tongue at the notion.
Unlike last night, his fear was turning to rage. He was angry that somebody was messing with him. If it was Gil then he was going to punch him in the eye. If it was Zingo then he was just going to yell at him. Zingo was much stronger and had wrestled in high school. Craig didn’t like his chances if he had to defend himself after landing a shot on his husky friend.
He swung the comforter off and walked to the window. He whisked the curtains apart and the room grew brighter. Craig yanked on the shade and it thundered to the top of the frame, rolling in a tight spiral.
Craig caught his breath. He tried to make out what stood beyond the thin sheet of glass between him and…
What was it?
Craig froze in place. His eyes were locked on the set of eyes that stared back at him.
They blinked. Craig jumped at the subtle movement.
His brain worked hard to determine what could possibly be standing outside his window. While his bedroom was on the first floor of the ranch style house, the window was a good eight feet off the ground. And whatever stood there, was tall enough to look directly at Craig.
He felt a trickle of pee escape his bladder.
The shadow around the thing outside was enormous. It filled the glass, almost cutting off the faint moon glow from reaching his carpet. The red eyes stared through him. Craig tried to scream but only a silent screech leaked from his lips.
What was it?
Craig couldn’t even blink. His heart hammered in his chest and it felt like his eyes would bulge out of his skull. He wanted to run away and dive under the comforter. He needed to hide his face from the monstrosity that beckoned him. Survival instincts zapped across his brain stem but none of the messages reached his limbs.
Knock, knock, knock.
Craig’s blood ran cold. A thin bead of sweat covered his upper lip even though he felt very cold. His jaw flapped open and closed, attempting to call for help but unable to make a sound.
The red eyes narrowed.
Craig felt dizzy. The room swirled around him. He felt the floor rushing toward his vision and then everything went black.