Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
Hope didn’t like being home without her parents. All of her friends did, and they had all shared wild tales of what exactly they had done when their parents were gone. They all seemed to get a sense of satisfaction at disobeying their parents and defying their rules. Hope didn’t have a rebellious streak. It wasn’t that she was a goody two shoes; it was just that her parents had always been reasonable with her, and in turn, she complied with their wishes.
On this particular night, Hope’s parents had gone out for dinner and a movie, and probably wouldn’t be back until very late at night. Hope flopped down on the couch and picked up her book. It was a novel by Stephen King. Before long she was beginning to grow a little nervous. Her eyes flitted around the room, seeing she was still alone, she relaxed a little, before noticing the open door that lead into the kitchen.
The light in the room was out, and the darkness was unsettling, Hope couldn’t shake the feeling that something inside the kitchen was watching her, perhaps leering with a sinister grin.
Hope tried to continue reading her book, but kept getting distracted. At last, she finally got up and ran towards the kitchen door. She slammed it shut and drew back in one quick movement, as if expecting a hand to snake out of the blackness and grab her wrist.
Needless to say, this did not happen.
She let out a sigh of relief and even laughed at herself a little before going back to the warm comfort of the couch. Instead of retrieving her book, Hope simply grabbed the remote and flicked on the television. She reached over and turned off the lamp on the nearby nightstand before adjusting herself on the couch, curling into a cozy position. The television was displaying a rerun of the newest Criminal Minds. Hope swiftly changed the channel to the Cartoon Network. She had had enough scary stories for one night. She glanced ruefully at her library book, which was now discarded on the floor.
Hope slowly turned her head back to the television screen and, in her snug posture, gradually fell asleep.
About an hour later, Hope was awoken by a sudden stream of light hitting her face. The light was shining in through her window. She winced and turned away, moaning softly, and cursing the light for interrupting her slumber.
Just as suddenly as the light had come, it was suddenly gone. Thinking that a car must have come up her street, Hope shut her eyes and tried to blot everything out, from the blaring of the TV to the gentle rain that was beginning to fall outside.
The light came again, cutting through the window and illuminating the living room before shutting off once more.
It seemed to be coming in short and long bursts. Hope blinked sleep from her eyes before sitting up.
Why are there lights coming from outside at this time of night? She wondered to herself, and why are they coming in quick bursts like that?
She eventually realized that one of her neighbors must have a faulty garage light. Thinking well of herself for having solved such a mystery, Hope turned to the television and, grabbing the remote, turned the volume up a few notches.
Then something very peculiar happened. The television shut off. The power had gone out. Power outages themselves were not uncommon where Hope lived, and it really did not surprise her. What did surprise her, was how the light outside kept flicking on and off.
Hope realized that the light that was flashing outside couldn’t be a garage light, now that the power was out. Fear welled up inside of her and her heart began to beat fast.
What if someone is trying to lure me outside? She thought.
I might be being stalked by a madman!
She realized that she was trembling all over and she grabbed a blanket from the far end of the couch. That’s when a more disturbing thought hit her.
What if he can see me right now?
Hope looked at the window, and a feeling of unease crept over her. She definitely had the distinct feeling that she was being watched.
Hope made up her mind, then and there, what she would do. In a quick movement, she vaulted herself over the couch and huddled in the darkness. The flashing lights continued, and seemed to grow more insistent, more impatient.
Hope crawled along the floor before reaching up and grabbing the doorknob to the kitchen, she slowly turned it and slipped inside. She shut the door behind her, blocking out the flashing of the lights, but she could still see them underneath the crack of the door. She moved through the darkness and grabbed a kitchen knife from the counter. She sat down in one of the chairs at the far end of the kitchen and watched as the lights became slower, as if discouraged, before eventually stopping altogether.
Relief flooded over her, and in spite of herself, she let out a smile.
An hour later, Hope’s parents came home. They opened the front door and were greeted with silence. They called out Hope’s name and got no response. When they went into the kitchen, a ghastly sight awaited them.
Hope sat in one of the chairs at the far end, a horrible expression of shock was evident on her face, and her throat had been torn into by a vicious blade. Hope’s own kitchen knife lay useless on the floor beside the chair.
The police came immediately after Hope’s parents called, and began searching the grounds around the house at once.
They were very surprised to find a young teenage girl close to a ditch across the street from their house. There were multiple stab wounds all over her body, and it was quite obvious she had been murdered in the same manner as Hope.
Clutched in the girl’s hand was a small flashlight.
She had been trying to signal for help, and trying to warn whoever was inside Hope’s house.