Read Part one Here
Read Part two Here
Read Part three Here
All things in the kitchen stood still. Moonlight through the window over the sink glinted off the dishes in the draining tray. Shadows lurked beneath the cabinets. The back door stood open.
It was that door that caught him most. It should have been closed. They kept it closed since the week before when a storm tore off the screen door. With no way to bar animals from getting in, closing the door was an absolute rule. Who would break the rule?
Maybe that was it. Maybe an animal came in and knocked the plate off the counter. It could have been a raccoon or opossum looking for food. Looking around, he saw no such creature. It probably ran out. But who opened the door in the first place?
He shook his head to try to clear his fears. It didn?t do much good, but at least it was a distraction. Scanning the kitchen one more time, he crawled all the way through the door.
Nothing attacked him. Nothing screamed out of the darkness to rip his soul away and shred it to jagged rags. Nothing happened but the fast, heavy beat of his heart.
He stood. Crawling so long left his knees stiff. They cracked as he moved upright. In a moment, he was fully up and looking around. Standing brought some measure of confidence back. Something about crawling like a rodent that makes one feel like a mouse sneaking through owl country. With his new found bravery, he moved to look out the kitchen window.
He froze. His eyes widened further. The sound came from the front of the house. It sounded like the front porch. There were boot steps on the front porch. They walked slowly toward the door.
He grabbed a steak knife from the drain tray. His fist clinched tightly around the handle. He headed toward the living room, stepping as softly as possible.
The boot steps reached the front door before he did. They paused a moment. Then the screen door opened with a slow, rusted screech.
He nearly leapt the last few steps to reach the wood door before it opened. His heart pounded in his ears. Sweat ran out through every pore. He moved toward the hinge side and crouched so his head was even with the lower sill of the door?s window. He reached up with the knife and slightly nudged the curtain aside so he could see who was there.