IntruderA Story by Thomas Fogarty
This is a short horror story about a girl who comes home and makes the terrifying realization that she is not the only one in her house.
“Okay Mom, goodbye.”
Emily Puckett ended the call and tucked her small cell phone away in her coat pocket. She shivered just a little bit and pulled her pink knit cap even further down her head, covering her ears and concealing even more of her long blonde hair. As she continued walking down the block, she could not help but feel just a tad frustrated at her mother. Her mother had waited until just now to tell her that she would not be home until very late tonight, due to her busy work schedule and that she would be home alone for the duration of the night.
The weather was typical for that of a fall day; the air was bitter but not intolerable, the ground was damp from the previous night’s downpour, and leaves of many colors were scattered everywhere. The small neighborhood that she was walking through seemed very quiet and peaceful at the moment, and not a soul could be seen on the street, unusual considering that it was only mid-afternoon. The houses were surrounded by many tall trees, which gave this street a comforted, shady feeling.
As she strolled on further, her home finally came into sight. It was an old, brick one-story house, and a rather nice-looking one. She hustled as she neared her home, for she was growing more and more cold by the minute.
As Emily walked up the steps to her porch, she withdrew a key, and upon reaching the door, she unlocked it, quickly closing the door behind her in an attempt to shut out the cold air as quickly as possible. The warm, toasty feel of her house soothed her and she was finally able to peel off her thick coat as she turned up the heat. Finally, she could rest.
Emily sat down on the large green couch that was sitting inside of her living room, and began to relax. She had had a long day at school that had been filled with exams, work, and stress. For now, she was just going to unwind.
Although she was glad to be able to finally kick back in her warm, cozy house, Emily could not help but feel just a bit nervous. Although, like any other seventeen year-old girl, she was glad not to have her mother breathing down her neck, she was somewhat uncomfortable having the house all to herself. Ever since she had been a young child, an irrational fear of being home alone had always daunted her. In her youth and though to a lesser degree, even now, she had been very nervous and jumpy whenever she was in the house by herself, especially during darker hours. She had always had the strange sense that somebody else was in the house with her and had made the mistake of blaming every single unusual noise on that supposed someone.
However, her fear had been tamed over the years, though the dark thoughts still lingered in her mind. As a teenager, however, she generally had both the maturity and reason to block them out.
Emily closed her eyes after lying on the couch for a few minutes, hoping to fall asleep. She felt lucky to be indoors, out of the harsh climate directly outside. The sky was now beginning to darken, and in just hours night would fall. She only wished that her mother would not return home too late.
Sleep. Thinking the very word inside of her head made her mind go numb. After a busy day, it would be quite easy for her to drift off, and she was already beginning to do so. Many minutes passed, and with each one she fell further and further into sleep. Her anxieties about being alone faded as she lay there dozing. All was silent in the house, and not a peep could be heard within these walls.
Thud. A sudden, unexpected noise sounded from down the hall. The sound drifted to Emily’s ears, and in less than a second, she bolted up off of the sofa, wide awake. The tired, unconscious feeling that had fogged her mind mere moments ago had vanished, and in place of it was a new feeling: that of terror. Emily’s heart pounded in her chest, and she could feel her blood coursing violently through her veins. Her skin color had lightened several shades to that of a chalk white hue, and she was shaking with fear. Her eyes were gaping wide towards the hallway from which she had heard the disturbance; in a petrified manner, they scanned the entirety of the corridor for sinister things. She saw nothing, but was not the least bit comforted.
This feeling, the one that somebody else was in her house, was one that she had felt before, but it had not been anywhere near this strong for some time. It was rare she heard such loud noises in her house, and her mind seemed to be looking for the worst possible explanation for this particular one. Her brain was starting to go crazy with the horrible thought that maybe, just down the hall, there were visitors.
She wanted to run as far away from the source of the sound as she could, but knew that this was not the right thing to do. This was her house, she needed to protect it, and going to the neighbors’ just because of a noise would make her look dumb. Emily needed to check it out, to make sure that everything was all right...
Slowly and quietly, she began to tiptoe down the hall. Moving at a snail’s pace, and struggling to keep her balance as she walked about bizarrely, her heart continued to race. There were three rooms down this hallway; the bathroom, her parents’ bedroom, and her bedroom. She crept towards the bathroom, and reluctantly giving a look inside, she saw nothing. There was no possible place that anybody could be hiding from her; however, she saw no sign of what could have made the noise.
Moving about ten feet forward, she neared the bedroom that belonged to her mother and father. It was a large room, one with wide windows that looked out on their backyard. Again, there was nothing strange to be seen in here.
Emily grew uncontrollably tense as she moved towards her bedroom, which was at the end of the hall. The door was closed, and she was tortured more by her wild imagination with every step that she took towards it. The thought of what could possibly lie behind the door was practically paralyzing her with fear, and the only thing that kept her from sprinting out of the house was the reminder that she attempted to instill in her mind: you’ve been scared by sounds in the house many times, and not once has it really been anything scary. Nevertheless, even sensible thoughts like these could not relieve her of her fright.
At last, Emily reached the door, and touched her trembling hand to the knob. As quietly as she could, she turned it, and steadily brought the door open. She had pulled the door open only a few inches when something abnormal did catch her eye, and despite the harmlessness of what she saw it jolted her anyways; her Spanish textbook, a thick, hardcover book, lay upside-down on her floor. Growing impatient, Emily flung the door all the way open, and saw that there was nobody inside of her bedroom. Everything, other than her textbook, was just where it should be, and nothing stood out of the ordinary.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Emily bent down to pick the large book up off the ground. She could not help but feel just a bit stupid at her overreaction to this situation; however, she knew that her fear of being home alone was one that was beyond her control, and that she had tried her very best to minimize.
Emily looked out her window at the backyard, giving it a brief scan with her eyes in order to reassure herself that, indeed, not a soul was trespassing. Nothing strange caught her eye; nothing stood out among the shady green shrubbery of the yard. The tall, sprawling trees that stood just behind the fence caught her eye, and she was instantly reminded of how much they had scared her as a child. As her family’s property backed up directly on a forest, her house from the back was surrounded by these colossal oaks, which in stormy weather had been rather frightening to her. Emily could remember being a little girl and being kept awake during the night, petrified, as she listened to the awful creaking of their branches and saw the gigantic shadows of their limbs being tossed about it the storm being projected upon the floor of her bedroom. Oh, how those trees had terrified her in her younger, less intelligent years; she was glad to be much less anxious-minded now.
All this thought Emily was having about her past fears was giving her skin slight goosebumps, and she snapped herself out of it. She walked over to her desk and laid her cell phone on top of it, and then left the bedroom, heading back down the hallway. She was no longer that tired, as the sound had startled her enough as to completely break her sleepy spell. She wanted to do something that could keep her mind busy as she waited for her mother to return, and as she walked back into the living room she made up her mind that she would make herself some hot chocolate. In this chilly weather, it would most certainly be a yummy treat to have.
Emily stepped into the kitchen and pulled some hot chocolate mix out of a nearby cupboard. Setting it down on the kitchen counter, she opened up the fridge and reached for a bottle of milk. As she did so, a thought popped into her head. What had caused the textbook to fall down onto the floor? She had been so relieved not to have seen anything bad in her bedroom that she had not even wondered this. She was pretty sure that it had been lying flat on her dresser, and could not imagine how the book could have just toppled off. But, she thought, she had seen nobody in her bedroom, so the thought was preposterous that any outside forces could have toyed with her textbook. She must have set it down in an unusual position and simply forgotten about it, she assumed.
Emily stirred the milk and chocolate mix together, and when she finished she laid back once again on the sofa, hoping that this time, she could relax without interruption.
Flopping lazily onto the cushion, she sipped her hot chocolate for a few minutes, every now and then making a quick glance towards the clock. It would still be many hours before her mom arrived home, but strangely enough she did not seem to mind nearly as much as she had earlier. She had been reassured, when she had stepped into her bedroom and seen nothing, that she was safe.
Some time passed, and after she emptied the mug, she pulled The Great Gatsby out of her backpack, which lay right next to the sofa. Emily had been assigned the novel for her English class, and, despite the fact that she had a test on it coming the next day, she had not yet read a word of it. She was not in the mood to read 200 pages, yet knew that she must do so tonight. Grudgingly, she opened up the book and started reading the first chapter.
As she skimmed the first page of the story, an odd little sound caught her attention, a faint but noticeable one. Her ears perked up as her heartbeat grew faster and faster, and once again that dreadful sense that she was not alone entered her thoughts. Putting the book down, Emily listened as carefully as she could to the peculiar resonance that, like the last sound, echoed from down the hall. It was a continuing sound, one that, while relatively quiet, was not ceasing.
Emily got up off the sofa, hurrying down the hall. She did not wish to prolong her fear this time as she had previously, and wanted to check things out as quickly as she could. Though she did so fearfully, she rushed through the hallway, checking in each room. Once again, she saw nothing in the bathroom or her parents’ bedroom; the sound was indeed coming from hers’, as it had been earlier. As she walked out of her parents’ room, she took a glance into hers, and saw the culprit of the noise at her window, though the sight did not frighten her, for the one who was tapping against the glass was a small brown bird, one which often fluttered about their backyard.
Emily was beginning to feel angry at herself for being so foolish. Twice, she had allowed her thoughts to run wild and had needlessly terrified herself. Both times the unusual noises had occurred, she had panicked, yet discovered mere moments later that nothing was wrong.
Once again, Emily felt relieved as she walked out of the room, hoping that she could now concentrate on her reading without any distraction. Just as she walked out the door, she paused, deciding that before she got back to work, she wanted to check her phone for text messages. Like most other teenagers, Emily was quite attached to technology, though she made the deliberate wise decision of leaving her electronics in her bedroom while she did her homework. She turned around, and looked down at her desk, where she had placed the phone just before leaving.
Nothing sat there, not a single object lay upon the center of her desk where she had put her phone. It was gone.
“What...what the...” For the very first time since she had arrived home, Emily spoke out loud to herself. What she saw before her made her still with fright and blurred her mind with shock. She knew very well that she had placed the cell phone on the desk, she was absolutely certain of it. There was not a chance in the world that she was wrong; she knew positively that she had put it there and not moved it, for she had not even been in the room. Desperate for an answer to this recent mystery, she bent down to look underneath the desk, and saw nothing. Her phone, which she knew had been there, was gone. There was no way that it could have fallen off, no way she had placed it anywhere else; there was only one explanation. And one that she could not have possibly dreaded more.
She was not alone in the house.
More waves of shock vibrated through her body by the second. She was terrified to so much as even breath, for every noise that she made, however slight, could be intercepted by the intruder. Emily wanted to cry, but knew that this would do no good.
She felt helpless. Emily had no one to run to, no one to cry to help for, and nowhere to hide. The stranger who lurked in her home was well aware where she was, and she was at his very mercy.
She could not bring herself to leave the safety of her bedroom. If she dared make an exit out of her house, the mysterious lurker would come after her. The only way which she felt she could survive was by not acknowledging this person in her house.
Emily’s skin tingled and burnt with sheer tensity, and her legs quivered uncontrollably. She moved as slowly and quietly as she could towards her window, and steadily drew the blinds closed. If there was any chance the person, or any accomplices he may have, were outside, they would not be able to lay eyes upon her inside of her bedroom. Tiptoeing gently to her door, she lightly touched her finger to the button, scrunching up her face with nervousness as the button gave off a loud clicking sound as she pushed it in. She was now locked inside her bedroom; however, this would prove no good if the voyeur used brute force to enter.
Emily jumped as a blasting sound echoed throughout the bedroom. This one was not just a lone sound: it was a song, a loud Spanish-sounding tune. Though not normally a sound that would have disturbed her, its shrillness in this purely quiet atmosphere was beyond jolting. It took her more than a few seconds to realize what the source of this new sound was: her cell phone. And it was coming from behind her bed.
Once again walking like a nun, Emily moved to the cramped little region behind her bed, and fumbled around for the phone. Her fingers brushed up against something small and metallic, something which she grabbed as quickly as she could. The phone was still giving off its catchy beat, signaling that somebody was calling her. The name which appeared on the screen, Sarah Williamson, was that of her best friend. Desperate to speak to someone, she flipped open the screen of the phone, and talk in a tone as low and whispery as she could possibly speak in, she whispered, “Sarah. Listen.”
“What?” The voice of her friend sounded back, and Emily growled with frustration.
“Listen, Sarah. I-I need help. I-”
“What? I can’t hear you.”
“Screw it.” Furiously, Emily hung the phone up, giving a nervous glance at the door to make sure she was still safely locked in. She didn’t need to talk with Sarah; there was nothing the girl could do about her problem. She knew quite well, however, who could.
Her hands trembled as she touched the numbers 9-1-1 upon the dialing pad. A momentary sense of accomplishment filled her as her thumb touched upon the “dial” button, and the call to those who hopefully could rescue her was sent. Turning down the volume as not to attract the intruder, and at the same time pressing the speaker firmly against her ear, she listened carefully to the sounds on the other end. A few rings were heard, then the voice of a man answered, “Hello?”
Continuing to speak in a hushed manner, she explained the situation to the man on the other end. He was very kind and reassuring, and told her that help would be on the way very soon. He said one thing to her, however, that bothered her: that she must leave the house. Not wishing to be ungrateful, she did not argue with him, and kindly wished him goodbye as he told her not to be frightened.
As she disconnected the call, she felt more weight upon her chest than she had at any point inside of the house. No matter what anybody told her, she could not bring herself to exit her comfy, protected room and walk out into danger territory. The watcher would either hear or see her, and she felt that leaving the boundaries of her bedroom would be a death sentence. The man’s advice to leave her room, revealing herself to this freak, seemed like telling a deer to walk out in the path of hunters. What demented, perverted souls may lie on the other side of her door, she did not want to know.
Nevertheless, the man, who most likely knew far better than she did, had advised her to leave the house. Yet, she and the bedroom door were being forced apart like repelling magnets, terror being the opposing force.
She needed something to protect herself with. Unsurprisingly there was not a single weapon within this room, but she was sure that she could find something within the bedroom that could be used in an intimidating manner against the stranger. Her eyes darted about, looking for things she could use against him.
Should I use the glass from her picture frame, if I break it apart? Or the large, thick baseball bat from middle school by the window? Or the bee-bee gun inside of my closet-wait, what is that strange black object hanging outside of my closet door?
Emily’s thoughts about fighting back came to a screeching halt as she detected the unusual thing protruding from her closet. It took awhile for her to realize what it was, but soon enough the truth befell her; it was a finger. Most likely a thumb, gloved in black felt.
“No...” The word escaped her mouth as she stepped back from the closet, inside of which she was now well aware a madman was hiding. She had never checked inside of her closet to make sure that nobody was there, and had made the mistake of assuming him to be outside her bedroom. The finger of this person did not move an inch, yet she was well aware that any moment, he would reveal himself, and that would mean a most definite doom for her.
Without doing any more thinking, Emily ran. Forgetting that she had locked the door, she went crashing into it as she attempted to make her escape. Wincing with pain, she hit the button on the doorknob, unlocking the door and swinging it open. She sprinted through the hall, past the stairs and to the front door.
Emily panted like a dog as she darted carelessly towards the door. Her hand flipped about wildly as she tried to unlock the door. She finally loosened the lock, and immediately after she opened the door she made a run for it.
The sky was now much darker, as much time had passed since she had returned home. The windy and cool air ruffled her hair as she ran down the street, her heart pounding. She did not look behind her, nor did she want to; she was unaware if she was even being pursued by anybody. Her energy was starting to burn out, yet she carried on.
After running many yards, she reached the driveway of her next-door neighbor, Mrs. Dawson. Rushing up the steep path to her doorway, she could feel her muscles weakening from the intense running, and only prayed that the woman would be home. At last, Emily reached her neighbor’s porch, and began fiercely pounding on the door.
“Mrs. Dawson!” she cried out. Tears were beginning to swell in her eyes, and her face was red as a carrot from both terror and exhaustion. Her tight fists kept beating mercilessly upon the door when there was no answer, and she heightened the level of her voice. Still, she could not bear to turn around and face the intruder.
Just before she had lost all her hope, the door creaked open, and the face of an elderly, white-haired woman appeared. Her eyes were gaping wide with shock behind her tiny spectacles, and her expression grew even more stunned as Emily pushed her aside, ran into the house, and slammed the door so hard that it violently rattled its hinges. As she locked the door, Mrs. Dawson yelled at her, “What the hell is going on?”
“There’s...there’s someone in my house!” Emily panted back to her, collapsing upon her floor. She lay eagle-sprawled upon the soft, cozy carpet, trying to regain her breath, which had almost completely escaped her.
Just by staring at Mrs. Dawson’s face, Emily could tell that the lady was growing just as frightened as she had been. “What do you-” the old woman began to ask her, but Emily interrupted her in mid-sentence with a hush, for something outside had attracted her attention.
A figure, covered entirely in black, could be seen through the window off in the distance. It appeared to have the body of an adult man, and was covered in some kind of clothing, probably sweats, that were colored a hue as black as night. Even the entirety of his head was concealed by this blackness, for it looked that he was masked from head to toe in an outfit that revealed not a patch of his skin. The man, who just minutes ago, had been mere feet away from Emily, was looking about the block, most likely checking around for her, she assumed. Just looking at the figure of this person, no matter how far away he stood from her, made her flesh crawl, and she quickly ducked away from the window, hoping that he had not caught sight of her.
A great weight seemed to be lifted off of her chest as she saw the darkened figure stand still for a moment, then begin running off in the opposite direction from them. Where he was going, she did not know; she preferred not to know, for it was most likely to terrorize others. Emily did not take her eye off of him for one moment as he vanished into the darkness of the evening, his body growing more and more slight with every dash that he made. Eventually, she saw him near the corner many blocks down, and disappear down the road. He was gone, at least for now. No one could truly say whether or not he would ever return to their town.
“Well Emily,” Mrs. Dawson spoke to her. She, like Emily, had watched the man disappear down the street as well, though she was very perplexed and confused about the situation. “I think I need an explanation of what’s been going on.”
“You do,” Emily replied after some thought. “But I can’t answer everything. Most of what just happened is a mystery to me as well.”
And indeed it was. Truth be told, neither Emily or her family ever found out the identity of the masked man who had snuck into their home. Never were the secrets of why he had entered their home, how he had made his way in, or where he had fled to ever answered to them. Very fortunately, he never broke into their home again, nor to any other homes in the community. Both of Emily’s parents, as well as all of the neighbors, were extremely relieved to hear that she had exited all right from the brief invasion of her house.
Emily did not come out from the situation unscathed, however. Her fear of being in her house by herself was fueled by this experience, and many months went by that her parents never left the house without her. She felt embarrassed, as this behavior was far more rampant among young children than it was teenagers, yet everyone around her was kind and accepting of her fears. They were well aware that she had been through a lot.
Emily kept faith, through her struggles afterwards, that her little visitor would never show his face on their property again. She was, despite some doubts, fairly certain that he was gone for good. After all, what would be the point of returning and risking arrest from a community that already had their eye upon him to begin with? Yet, every now and then, Emily had the strange feeling that someone was feasting their eyes upon her. It was a feeling that occurred at random times, and that always made her uncomfortable. She would always move away from windows, to places where no outside prowler could see her, and the feeling would fade quickly.
She thought it to be ridiculous deep down, for how could he be watching her so many times without her knowing? Every time that Emily got the creepy feeling, she simply stared out her window and saw nothing. Over time, she convinced herself that it was just an irrational sense that should not bother her a bit.
But then again, he had once falsely convinced her that she was alone when really, he was slyly hidden in her bedroom. If he had fooled her once, then who can say with certainty that he could never do so again?
© 2012 Thomas Fogarty
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on February 13, 2012
Last Updated on February 13, 2012
AboutI am a 19 year-old writer who is currently a college freshman at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Besides writing, I enjoy genealogy, making YouTube videos, and biking. more..
Paper Editing $4.99/page
Have your academic paper proofread by professional editors for as little as $4.99/page. Use Coupon Code PEN05 for 5% Off
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5
People who liked this story also liked..