Car lights moved across the glass, refracting into the room and causing shadows to dance across the walls. Thunder rumbled as the sky was lit up once again in a flash of blue that did not belong to a car, lightning? Christopher sat with his back in a corner, breathing deeply. It was becoming increasingly hard for him to breathe as he pulled his knees closer into his chest. The nightmare had been a recurring one: clowns, smiles, guns, screams, and blood. He didn’t want to go to his parents. they didn’t know that he had watched the babysitter’s movie from the shadows of the staircase.
The house creaked. Old houses always made sounds. It was the way they breathed, his father told him. He didn’t like thinking that the house needed to breathe. The house wasn’t alive, or at least he hoped so (he’d seen a movie about a living house once). The house whispered out as if someone was walking through the halls. He knew that it was childish of him to even believe that someone was in his house. His parents had a security system, the best around. No one could break – there was the distinct sound of footsteps. The footsteps were heavy, much like his father’s before morning coffee. Christopher focused on the crack along the door frame, trying to decipher the shape of the changing shadow on the other side of the door. Car lights moved outside, causing the door to glow intensely. Then they bled, and shook, rattling and cascading lighting the world in fire. His entire world was shaking. The fans, the lights, his bed, his world, and he knew it was himself. HIs entire body was jittery as he tried to sit still, silent, hiding.
Christopher leaned forward, holding his breath and hoping that he had misheard. There was nothing on the other side of the door, he believed it to be true until the footsteps continued down the hall and the shadows from under the door changed. The world lit up in sound. He thought of all the people it could be, the masks, the voices, the weapons they could have. Reaching for his bed, Christopher pulled his comforter over his body. The world became a cave around him as he thought about all the possibilities. Did the person have a gun? Perhaps they had a knife? It could have been his father. His father checked on him at night, he tried to convince himself.
The sound of the air conditioner rumbled from above as the low car rumble continued outside. A deep reverberating shake rushed through his body even though he swore he wasn’t shaking any more. The house moaned under the rain outside and seemed to sing from the wind that blew through the cracks. Then, in the distance, he could hear it: footsteps. The footsteps had to be accompanied by heavy breathing, and squeaking floors – he definitely could hear the floors. Christopher got to his feet, pulling the comforter from his head. With his safety shield he approached the door.
Cold metal came in contact with his hand, sending his hand flying back. The knob started to move. Someone was trying to get in. Stumbling back, he dropped to the ground and crawled under his bed. The bed shaked around him no matter how much he tried to keep still. The floor wobbled and moved, more crashing sounded. The world became so filled with the shaking, that he wanted to scream. His fear was overwhelming him, and the bad people were going to hurt him. His sister could be heard screaming down the hall. Their father could save them. Christopher had to believe that their father could save them from the intruders.
Christopher held his head tightly. The world around him seemed to break. Alarms were going off now. The shaking wouldn’t stop. The door handle kept moving and things were breaking. Glass shattered downstairs. His night light went off and the world was crashing apart. He heard his portraits falling off his nightstand. He heard the furniture falling over. What kind of destruction were the men causing on their house? How he wished that they would just leave.
Christopher held himself tightly, bumping into his boxes that hid him. The footsteps returned to his bedroom door. They were panicked and light. He heard his name being called by his sister outside. Had they taken her? Pulling himself from under his bed, he knew that he needed to get outside and escape. He wasn’t sure if his sister was safe outside, but he needed to leave. He tried to steady himself but his legs kept giving out even when he forced the shaking away. Why was the world still moving?
The handle began to move again and the door swung open.
Just a few story ideas coming out today. This one was written in college. I was trying to play around with a child’s terror as well as an actual earthquake.