>Sandra Torres adjusted her scarf around her neck for the fourth time and squinted through the semi lit path.The road ahead was a strip of a pale grey flecked with specks of white.She was on her way home after a late night rendevouz with her boyfriend of four weeks.As she walked,she mused on what she would tell her husband.The lengthy explanations,lies really,were getting stale and monotonous.She needed a new excuse.The sky overhead rumbled deeply once,dark water heavy clouds gathered around a bravely shining moon,ready to pour their tears onto an unsuspecting earth.The street was fairly deserted,except for young,adventurous lovers,bookworms trying to finish twenty books in one night and lonely old people wishing they had someone to talk to.As Sandra trudged through the street,she wondered where it all began.
The last house on the street was not a creepy place at all.In fact,a cheerful wreath of daisies greeted anyone who came up to the huge oak door.But for some reason unknown,people stayed away from the house.They would be all right while walking past the other fifteen houses.But as they approached the sixteenth house,an unspoken fear would grip them and make them uncomfortable.The house had no history,no unsovled murder mystery had occured and it certainly did not rest on a graveyard.”It’s just….something,”people would say.Of course,this ‘something’ riled the lone inmate of the house,Sam Terrence Wilson.A forty year old kind looking widower,Sam had recently shifted to the neighborhood.He was quiet,kept to himself and never bothered anyone.Nothing much was known about his history or previous neighborhood save for the fact that he had lost his wife to a strange illness.The neighborhood kids would make fun of him but all that stopped one day when Larry Muldoon almost ended up being viciously attacked by Sam’s dog,a German shephard, Rover.From then on,kids and adults alike avoided the Wilson residence.For someone who had just lost a wife,was living in a huge house with only a dog for company,such alienation,no doubt,made Sam quite angry and restless.
You see,I am Sam.
Mike Torres was fast asleep in a huge comfy mahogany bed when little raindrops began pattering his windowsill.The bed had been the first joint piece of furniture he and Sandra had bought after their marriage.It always gave him a sense of comfort and belongingness.The severe cold he had caught a couple of days ago seemed less threatening now,after he had gulped down half a bottle of cold medicine.The depressants in the syrup had finally worked and Saturday night found him fast asleep on the mahogany bed.
Theirs was a modest middle class house,burdened by mortgage payments.Mike was a junior lawyer at a local law firm in the city and even their combined incomes were barely enough to meet their needs and expenses.Their marriage,perfect to begin with,was under a considerable strain now,what with Mike’s terrible work hours and Sandra’s job as a children’s nurse.It was rare to catch them together at home,one would always be away.Lately,Mike had noticed that Sandra seemed preoccupied with something and always came home much later than her shift ended.He had tried asking her about this a couple of times,but she had remained evasive.
Outside the window,the raindrops began falling with a little more enthusiasm now.Mike snored on,blissfully oblivious to everything.He turned to shift sides and in doing so,knocked over a glass of water over the newspaper.The seeping liquid slowly blurred the black words from the white background.For the past several months,reports had been arriving of mysterious deaths.The victims were all women and the cause of death was almost always a fatal neck wound.In most cases,the bodies had been found without a head.The cops were as puzzled as the coroners and medical examiners.Nobody had ever seen the perp,so there was no description with the police.The community lived in a state of total fear,anybody could be the next victim.It was just a matter of time.
Sandra knew that she was being foolish,walking home all alone on a night like this,nonwithstanding the reports.She looked above at the sky,now menacingly black with angry flashes of lightning in between.As the rain fell on her face,she increased her pace.At this moment,she just wanted to be home.She wanted to snuggle up to her husband under the covers on the mahogany bed.The torrid affair with Jim was mere desperation,Mike was the only man she would ever love.Now,hurrying through the desolate street,Sandra made a decision.She would come clean.No more lies,no more far fetched explanations.She would tell Mike everything and clear her conscience.
What was that?
Something had darted behind her.She could feel her heartbeat escalating.Gulping nervously,she turned.
“Oh god,it’s you Officer.You scared the hell out of me.”
Officer Barnes was on his beat,an overweight man with the face like Santa Claus,frowned at her.
“What are you doing alone on this street,Mrs.Torres?It’s dangerous.Haven’t you heard about the killer?”
“I….I..um was visiting a sick friend Officer.On my way home.Wouldn’t want to end up dead,”she nervously chuckled.
Officer Barnes shifted his weight to the other leg.
“Come on,let me get you home now.”
But Sandra was already leaving.”It’s quite okay Officer.It’s just three blocks from here.I’ll be fine.”
With that,they parted.
Callie and Jake were yelling again.This time,it was a bath towel.Jake had left it on the bedroom floor again.Callie,in the middle of a loudly contested argument,stopped suddenly.
“Hey,isn’t that Mr.Wilson?”
Jake squinted through the window.Sure enough,Sam had just locked the front door and was out on the street.
“What is he doing out there on a night like this?He’ll be soaked.” Callie had forgotten the argument.Jake silently thanked Sam.
“Uh…look hon,if Mr.Wilson wants to go out for a walk,that is entirely his business.” He stepped forward and stumbled onto the wet towel.
He knew from her eyes that her sermon would last all night.
Being lonely is a choice I made.Some people need other people to tell them how nice they are,how pretty they look,how their cooking is the best in the world.That kind of talk makes me sick.All I want is a faithful dog and a television.And I have them.Adults bore me,kids are inconsequential to me and companionship is like a perfuntory appendage.True,I had been married once.But it was a forced decision.I kind of felt bad when Jenna died.She was like a scared mouse around me,never contradicting,always speaking in an inaudible voice.Nice to have around.
Walking in the rain somehow soothes me.When rain is pouring down my head in torrents,I am at my peaceful best.I am actually in search of food for Rover.You see,my little angel eats a lot.A lot.I managed to chain him tonight.Hopefully,I can find something soon.
Sandra almost ran the last two blocks,trying to evade the rain.Her red and blue scarf was soaking wet and useless now.There.She could spot her block.Two more minutes and she would be home,nice and warm.So engrossed was she in scurrying that she failed to notice a small elevation in the ground.She tripped and fell,tasting murky rainwater mixed with dust.She cursed and got up when she had the strange feeling that she was being watched.She looked around.All quiet.She turned to go when something or somebody caught hold of her arm.
“Hey,hey,take it easy,it’s me,Sam.”
Sandra clutched his arm and her terrified gaze met his.
“Oh dear god,it’s you.Sam,something….some..thing has been chasing me.Or looking out for me.I’m so scared.”
Sam guided his hand around her trembling shoulders.
“Now,now.No need to fear.I’ll take you home.I was worried for you,Sandra.”
Bright flashes of lightning shone down upon them.Sandra thought she saw something strange in Sam’s face,but dismissed the thought.As they walked together,a thought struck her.
“Sam,what are you doing here at this time of the night?” She turned to face him.
Sam stood before her,his six foot three inch frame suddenly looking grotesque and frightening in the moonless night.He smiled at the same time as another streak of lightning flashed by.
Then,she saw them.
There they were.Two hideously long and pointed teeth growing on the sides of Sam’s mouth.The smile grew wider,the teeth now fully visible.Sandra could feel her heart stop.
Sam took a step forward.
“Sorry Sandra,you see,Rover is hungry.”
A scream which had worked up her throat stayed inside and Sam grabbed it and gazed at it lovingly.The rain was still pouring as the two gleaming teeth gleefully dug themselves into the white throat.