Scared Of The Night ~ Short Story Fiction
Scared Of The Night
She sensed the sun was coming up as she loosened her grip on the blanket. The one that had protected her the past ten hours. Darkness had hit and she had taken her usual spot in the closet, behind the pink plastic shoe organizer and under her magical blanket. Every night the same. Every morning a relief.
Her crippling fear had hatched early in life. One slumber party and one monster movie was all it took. Nine years old and scared of her own shadow. She lost friends after that. After all, no one wants to be friends with a baby. Now, fourteen years later, she still had no friends.
She stepped out on the deck and closed her eyes to the bright sun beaming down on her. Exhaustion set in almost immediately. She made her way to the bed and fell asleep seconds after her head hit the pillow. The next five hours she slept restlessly.
The sweet melody of a songbird woke her. She jumped and snatched up the clock to make sure she had not overslept. A long breath of relief rushed from her lips and she relaxed once again.
A quick shower and energy bar later, she was out the door. Errands must be done, and they must be done quickly so that she could get back home before the sun even thought about going down. She checked her list. Post office, library, and grocery store. Always the same destinations. Always in that order. A time limit set for each.
The post office had a limit of ten minutes. Most of the time, she never needed that long, but a few minutes as a cushion was always a good idea. Today it took her three minutes to run inside to check her P.O. box and then back out again. She smiled to herself as she checked her watch. Accomplishment made her happy. Little else did these days.
She knew exactly what books she wanted before she entered the doors at the library. As always, they were mostly self-help books. Overcoming fear, dreams interpreted, and a trashy romance novel. The men she found between those pages were the only ones she had ever known.
The grocery store was a bit trickier. She never used coupons because they would just slow her down, but she usually got stuck behind somebody with a stack. Once, she even left her items in the cart and ran to her car. It had been close to three in the afternoon and the sun was setting faster than the cashier could scan. That night she had popcorn and water for dinner.
This time, the grocery store was nearly empty and she made good time picking up things from her list. Twenty-three items in all. Ten minutes to put them in her cart. Another five minutes to ring them up and to pay. She was making good time.
The drive home always worried her. Full of "what-if’s". What if she had a flat tire. What if her car broke down. What if a carjacker tried to take her car. What if she passed out while driving. Ten tense-filled minutes later, she was home.
Her heart started beating faster when she saw the young man sitting on her porch. He did not look familiar. Definitely not from the neighborhood, but he was wearing a uniform. Upon further investigation, she saw that he was from the cable company. Her heartbeat started to return to normal.
He came out to help her with her groceries and explained that he needed to get inside the house to switch out her old cable box with a new one. They were updating equipment one neighborhood at a time. The thought of a stranger in her house almost made her panic, but he was well-groomed and looked barely eighteen. He reminded her of Richie Cunningham from Happy Days.
She relaxed a little and let him in. The sun was still shining bright in the sky. The birds were chirping and the old man across the street was mowing his lawn. It was daylight, the neighbors were out, and bad things never happened in the daytime.
Or so she thought.
Upon closing her front door, she found the young man standing directly behind her. Almost touching her. So close, the wind would not have been able to squeeze through.
She jumped back and he grabbed her arm to keep her from falling. He led her to the couch and asked her to sit with him. He told her of his life. His loves. His family. His death.
That last tidbit was almost too much for her to take. She laughed a nervous laugh. He stared deep into her eyes and she knew he was serious. He had died years ago. At the hands of a madman. At the hands and fangs of a madman. He explained to her that he was a vampire.
She giggled a little more. He must of thought she was stupid and so gullible. She knew vampires could not be out in the daylight. She knew this like she knew her own shoe size. Hours and hours had been spent pouring over library books about vampires. Her greatest fear. The reason she never slept at night. The reason she hid under a blanket behind a pink plastic shoe organizer. She knew her vampires and vampires and the sun did not mix!
At that very moment, her anger took the place of her fear and she was finished with this stupid conversation. She would call the police this very second and get this lunatic out of her house. There were only a few more hours before sundown and she had flowers to water.
Dismissing him, she reached for the phone on the end table just as he sunk his teeth into her shoulder. Pain surged through her as she thought to herself ‘What a vampire! He missed my neck by a mile!’
Within seconds she was dead. Dead hand holding a dead phone he had pulled from the wall. He drained her of every last drop before heading to his van.
He looked to the sky. Brilliant rays of sunshine turning red and orange as the sun prepared its descent. He quickened his step. The thought of darkness chilled him to the bone. The werewolves would be out soon. Not much time to get home and into the closet, under the magical blanket and behind his blue clothes hamper.
Was that a howl in the distance?