Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
It’s Saturday night and I’m home alone playing a video game. Not exactly the exciting partying life you’d expect from a college student, but what else could I do? My parents had the car. In fact, my parents drove off to Maine for a mini-vacation, and while I’m heating up a frozen pizza for dinner, they’re probably stuffing their faces with lobster. It’s okay though; they originally didn’t want to go without me when I told them I had an English paper to write this weekend, but I told them I preferred to be alone so I could focus on the paper.
I wasn’t writing it now, though. It was around 7 o’ clock. Not really late, but since it was winter it was already dark out, so I decided to take advantage of the darkness and play my “Resident Evil” video game. It was a horror/suspense game centered around a zombie infestation, and to maximize my playing experience I always played at night when it was dark out, shutting off all the lights inside, as well as making sure there was no excess noise anywhere (read: my parents are asleep). It might sound like a stupid thing to do, but you don’t know true terror until you’re in a dark open space and the only thing visible is your big screen TV showing a zombie slowly limping toward you.
So I’m playing my game, sucked up in the moment, and terrified as my character is making his way through an abandoned zombified subway station, when the phone rings from the kitchen and scares me half to death. “Thank God my parents put the volume on super-extra-loud before they left so I wouldn’t miss their calls,” I thought to myself as I went and got the phone, only to see “MEMBER SERVCS” show up on the Caller I.D. I was pretty mad, not only did these people interrupt my game and scare me, they already called this morning and left a message on the answering machine trying to ‘lower my mortgage interest rate’ or some bullshit like that. I picked up and before some woman could finish saying hello, I angrily shouted “I’m not interested in lowering my fucking interest rate, you made me die in my game, stop fucking calling my house” and hung up.
Since my gaming ritual was disturbed, I took the opportunity to eat the pizza I made and browse the internet for a few minutes (and took the battery out of that stupid phone and threw it across the room. I actually think I broke it). I had to take advantage of being home alone, so I decided to continue playing my game, but a minute after shutting off the lights and getting back into the perfect atmosphere, I heard the sound of my gate opening outside. I paused the game and quietly snuck upstairs to look out the window to try to see who came. Upon looking out, I saw a Con Edison truck double parked outside. I saw a figure make its way back to the front of the house coming from the side, and shrugged it off as a Con Ed employee and doing a scan. (Con Edison is our electricity provider and they do that once a month: just come by and scan something on the side of the house to check how much electricity has been used, or so my Mom told me once.) I continued to spy on the guy, waiting for him to leave, but he paused in front of the house, looking at the device in his hands. After a few seconds, he made his way to the front door and rang the bell.
I considered not answering, hoping he’d just leave. Sad to say, but I was a coward. I lived in New York and this guy could be some psychopath trying to kill or rob me. That shit happens all the time here, check the news. After about thirty seconds, he rang the bell again. I built up some resolve: I was a twenty year old college student, and I was a pretty big guy, worse comes to worse I just close the door on him and call the cops. (Call from the phone whose battery I just broke. Not a great move considering I left my cell phone in the car, 5 hours away) Besides, this guy probably just wanted to ask a question or tell me something trivial, he worked for Con Ed for god’s sake.
I rushed back down to the first floor and opened the window next to the door, casually saying “Hey sorry I was in the bathroom. What’s up?” I inspected the guy since I could see his face clearly now. Pretty decent looking guy, he was white and had average brown eyes and unkempt inch-long dark brown hair that was almost black (maybe it was the lighting; the place was still dark from when I was gaming). He wore what looked like a standard Con Ed uniform and held the scanning device under his arm. Probably around 30 years old. He had a friendly smile and seemed to be full of energy, despite working so late on a weekend; he probably wasn’t married or had any kids.
“Sorry to disturb you,” he said, “but there seem to be some abnormalities with current running in your house. Can I come in and take a look at your fuse box?”
I hesitated. He wanted to come inside. I took another look at his uniform and snuck a glance at his van. After a few seconds I reluctantly muttered “Uhhh yeah sure.”
I unlocked and opened the door and ran over to turn some lamps on. The Con Ed guy came inside, pushed the door closed, and enthusiastically said “Thanks. I’ll try to make this quick.” I led him downstairs to the fuse box, and as we passed the TV, with my game still on pause from the phone call, the Con Ed guy said “Oh wow Resident Evil. My kid loves this game.”
I was pretty shocked at this, in a curious way. I stole another glance at this guy’s face. He still looked young enough for me to reason that he didn’t have kids. Normally I’m not good at judging superficial characteristics, because I just don’t pay attention to them, but I really thought I had this guy pegged. Not only did he have more energy than I figured a parent oh a young kid could have, but he genuinely looked 30. (And since I’d just been playing my game, my observational senses were heightened. Trust me, I was in survive-a-zombie-apocalypse mode.) If this guy was 30 like I thought, then his son would be maybe 12 years old, assuming he him at age 18. Resident Evil wasn’t a game 12 year olds should be playing.
“Oh really?” I feigned innocence. “Do you play with him?” I figure this would give me some indication of how old his son could be.
“Her,” he corrected. “No, she plays on her own. Oh I see it.” He opened the fuse box and started messing around with its contents.
‘Her?’ I thought to myself. I hardly encounter female gamers, and definitely not ones who play horror genre, let alone being so young. But whatever.
“I’ll need to work on this for a bit,” the Con Ed guy said as he interrupted my thoughts, and pulled a few tools out of his pocket. He mentioned something about what the abnormality in the current was, but honestly I didn’t understand.
After a few minutes of awkward silence and me just standing around watching him work, I decided to offer him a beverage. “Could I get you a bottle of water or something?”
“Sure that’d be great,” he said. “It’ll just be a few more minutes; I think I found the problem.”
I walked upstairs and took my time getting the water. I wasn’t in a rush to go back down there with him. When I got the bottle and went back to the stairs, I noticed the front door leading outside was slightly open. The last time I saw the door was when the Con Ed guy came in, and I was sure he closed it. Did someone come in? I looked around first floor and even went upstairs, just half-checking upstairs though, it was scary up there in the dark, especially with the thought of a stranger lurking around somewhere (although I strangely took comfort in the Con Ed guy being in the house so that I wasn’t alone).
I shrugged it off; half-hoping it was just my imagination. The thing is, we had Sloman’s Shield protecting our house, so that if the door was opened the system would make a beeping sound that I would have heard, even from the basement. It was definitely working, because I heard the beep when I opened the door for the Con Ed guy. I closed and even locked the door, and went back downstairs and offered the Con Ed guy his bottle of water. He seemed to be finished, since he was putting his tools back into his pocket.
“Thanks,” he said as I gave him the water. After drinking a bit, he said “I fixed the problem, everything should be running smoothly now.”
“Well thanks then” I said, leading the way back upstairs. I wondered if things weren’t running smoothly all this time. Everything seemed fine. The microwave was weaker than usual: we had to heat things up longer than we normally would, but we just attributed that to the microwave being 5 years old and needing replacing.
My mind already off this night’s interruption, I started considering whether or not I should continue to play my game or if I should work on my paper, when what I saw something bewildered me. The front door was slightly open again.
The door pushed opened slowly. Why didn’t the alarm make its usual beep? A young woman around my age entered, wearing the same uniform as the Con Ed guy, but it looked too big for her. She glanced behind me before looking at me, but when our eyes locked she drew a hideous contorted smile on her face. I froze. The combination of her evil gaze and the presence of the man behind me filled me with a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I slowly backed my way into a wall so that they were both in my field of vision. The man stood in place looking at me, but he lost the energy he carried before. He looked older, his face now visibly worn from age. He was no longer smiling. He had a serious, almost sad look in his once vibrant eyes. Turning my attention back to the woman who closed the distance between us, I noticed both of her hands held something. In one hand she held a gun, and in the other hand she held a cell phone that had a case eerily similar to mine.
“What do you want?” I asked in desperation.
“Don’t worry sweetie,” the woman’s familiar voice said as she held the gun up and released the safety. “We’re not here to lower your interest rates.”
Credit To – Tariq R.