Thursday, October 31, 2013

Echoes Of An Empty Box

Midnight awakenings are never good for me.

I quite often wake from improbable dreams around this time, and spend what feels like minutes shaking it off. It's an unnerving feeling, being unsure of reality, and trying to separate the Now from some darkly conjured metaphor.

So for a few seconds, I am unsure about the knocking. The banging. A gentle, rhythmic drumming, slow and deep. Like the echo of an empty box.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

I'm immediately aware that I'm scared. In fact, I'm terrified. I want to turn in bed, to hear more clearly, to dismiss the sound. But I can't. Terror has me, and I feel like I did at ten years old when the gnarled tree outside would claw at my window on windy nights.

I'm cold. I can't move. But I listen.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

It's coming from the kitchen. Downstairs.

I have no idea what it might be. Two hours ago I locked the house up tight, same as ever. And when I turned out the light, I expected nothing more exciting than dawn light to wake me.

The light. Yes, I should turn on the light.

My hand feels clammy as I reach for the bedside lamp. I don't find it, and fumble left and right in the darkness, trying to locate the cable. I find it on the third or fourth pass and move along it 'til I reach the control.

My heart pounds as I flick the switch.

Nothing. The darkness holds fast. The power is out.

Downstairs, the thumping stops. My heart tries to join it.

Nothing. No sound. Have I shaken the dream off? Am I dreaming still?

Light would drive a dream away, but there is none. I try to remember where the fusebox is? Ah yes. With the candles and the torch in the utility room. Beyond the kitchen. Downstairs.

Then the drumming starts again, a measured and menacing beat.

My heart races ahead of the score now, playing whole bars over the slow, heavy background rhythm. But somehow the spell has lifted a little, and as I swing my legs from under the impossibly heavy duvet I fumble about for something heavy. Keys. Socks. The paperback Hemingway on my bedside table; For Whom The Bell Tolls. Ironic, but no help there.

Treading softly, I move to the chair on which I hang my clothes, and try to locate something to wear. I have no wish to confront an intruder in my unmentionables.

Nothing. Not a single item. And I know I put them there. Along with my phone, also absent.

So I move onto the landing, dressed and armed as nature intended. The light here is poor; it's a cloudy night out, and the street-lights are on the other side of the house. I can see my way, but my feet are in no hurry.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

There is none of the usual glow in the hallway. It should be illuminated from the street, but it's not. Again, I wonder if I'm dreaming. But the bannister feels solid in my hand, and my instincts tell me that this is real.

The unnerving rhythm is slower now, and closer. Louder. I find my cautious steps down the stairs falling into line with it, as if it's drawing me down. I try to stop, I want to stop, but my legs keep moving.

I have to find out. I have to know.

The hallway is short during daylight, but my steps towards the kitchen door seem endless. And always, that damned thumping.

I step boldly into the dim kitchen. I'm aware of the patio doors, the table, the fridge, the sink. I'm running on adrenaline, and my mind is telling me to run, to fling open the front door and make for the road. Though the front door is locked, and my keys are upstairs.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

It's coming from the cupboard by the sink. I step forward hesitantly.

My mind races. What can it be?

I reach out with a trembling hand.

And the noise stops. I pause, waiting for it to start again. Time passes, hideously distorted seconds. I'm frozen in mid-reach, a solitary frame from a movie reel.

The silence is endless.

Ro-o-o-o-th, comes a low, drawn-out hiss.

The masculine voice is behind me, and I spin, crying out, my hand at my mouth.

There is a silhouette sat at the kitchen table. How did I not see him? The damned noise must have held my attention.

The figure stands, the chair scraping noisily.

Ro-o-o-o-th. The voice is familiar. You've kept me waiting.

He takes a menacing step toward me. He's tall, broad.

But he's just a man. And this is my house.

This guy has no idea who he's dealing with.

This guy is in trouble.

I raise my fists and prepare to fight.

The figure chuckles darkly and moves closer.

And I see his face in the faint glow from a high window.

Good grief, It's me. Indigo Roth. What? How can it be me? How is that even possible?

But there's question about it. It's me.

My jaw drops as realisation dawns over me.

Good grief, I'm in trouble.


This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2013

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  1. Hari OM
    ....not with me you're not... If that helps? YAM xx

    1. Namaste Yam! Thank you, always. Indigo x

  2. Good grief! Two of you?! I hope it's not one of those pod people coming to replace you. Where's a badger when you really need one?

    1. Hey Jayne! Well, we all have an evil twin, right? =) Indigo x

  3. Oh dear! The Scottish play? "‎By the pricking of my thumps,. Thumping wicked this way comes. Open, locks. Whoever knocks..."

    1. Ooooh, nicely done, wish I'd have thought of it =) Indigo

  4. My heart, I was sacred! Nicely played, Roth.

    1. Hey Me-Me! You jest surely? But hey, I'll take it =) Thanks, Indigo x

  5. I've had the same reaction when I've seen myself in the mirror unexpectedly at night. Brrr. But what was the thumping?

    1. Hey Jenn! I think he was bouncing a ball, the most infuriating noise in the world. Actually, to tell you the truth, it was a massive shark in a cupboard in the flooded cellar, but I forgot to write about it ;) Indigo x

  6. Scary. And just in time for Halloween. Which I've just read is the third-largest holiday in England in terms of consumer spending. (I looked it up because I wasn't sure you even observed it over there.)

    1. Hey Nancy! Really? After Christmas and Valentine's? I'm really surprised, because I really don't think we DO observe it. We tried it on, and it never really caught, I would have said. But maybe I'm just kidding myself. That said, nobody knocks on my doors, and I don't see trick-or-treaters. Hmmm. Indigo x

  7. I knew I shouldn't have stayed away so long... now there are two of you!