An Open Window
by Kerry Billings
It was the breeze that woke me. I opened my eyes to the gaping window, white curtains catching wind, dancing like spirits. The whole thing made me uneasy, but I in a way I couldn’t explain.
Pulling the covers over my shoulders, I rose to close the window pausing at the sill to look out.
It was the time of night where the streets are so still they’re almost a photograph, and the only light pools from the buzzing street lamp. It seemed every sound was caught in the thickness of the air, insulating the world in silence. I normally found this peaceful, but tonight it was unnerving.
As I was closing the window, something caught my eye. One of screens had a long tear in it. Long and purposeful, as if someone had tried to break in. I traced it with my finger delicately, before making a mental note to tell my landlord about it tomorrow.
I shut the window tight, locking it at the latch, before climbing back into bed. It was then that a thought occurred to me—I didn’t remember leaving my window open last night.
A chill ran up spine, freezing me like a statue. I listened to what I’d thought was silence, slowly realizing that it was pierced by the thin hiss of breath, snaking up from directly below me. My heart beat too loudly in my chest, and I was certain whatever was under my bed could hear it too. I worked up the courage to dip my head over side, looking into perpetually dark space, which was currently illuminated by yellow, filmy eyes. Making eye contact with me, the creature smirked, flashing its sharp saw bone teeth. I felt my scream catch inside me, as its long shadowy fingers snaked around my neck.
It was not the breeze that woke me up.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.