sound to it. As I closed my eyes for the night, a distant familiar song started playing: Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. I shifted in my bed, getting comfortable as the tune played in the background, a foreboding air being carried by the lyrics. “Stole many a man's soul to waste...”. I shivered under my thick blanket. God, what a song. Just as I’m drifting off,
and the chorus is reached, “Hope you guessed m—“, I never hear it finish. Dead silence. I waited for the music to start up again, but that’s when I looked at my clock and saw it blank. A power outage. A tree must have fallen on a powerline, and I have no generator. I groan as I reach over to my bedside table and open the drawer, taking out a flashlight and testing it.
Also dead. Might as well fetch candles now, as I have no way of telling how long this outage will last. It’ll take a day or two for town trucks to come out this far and fix the lines if it’s really bad. Stuffing my feet into slippers, I blindly shuffle down the stairs and into my kitchen, opening and hunching over my clutter drawer. I grab the candles and close
the drawer, looking up and through the window at my noisy neighbors house. Now, with no music and no lights, lit only by the faint moonlight, it seemed peaceful. Hopefully the hermit music man who resided there will finally get some sleep. I’ve never talked to him, never even seen him, other than his car leaving every month or so for a supply run. I only knew he existed because
of his music. Now he might as well not exist at all. I locate the matchbox on my counter and strike one to life. Lighting a candle and holding it in my hand, I begin to turn back to the stairs when I hear it. Faint whistling. The wind? No, no not whistling. It’s too...raspy. Broken. It was...screaming. I turn back to the window and squint at my neighbor’s house.
Scanning from top to bottom, from the widows walk to the ground. And when my eyes rove to the basement windows, a faint movement catches my eye. I jump back as a bloody hand slams into one of the windows, and I see the unmistakable glimpse of a woman’s face in unimaginable agony. I inhale sharply and I swear I make eye contact with her. She opens her mouth and
lets out a bloodcurdling scream, and is cut off when a large hand grips her by her throat and throws her back. I begin trembling as a male face appears where the woman’s once was. I suddenly feel a deep sense of recognition taking in his face, although he was no one I knew. But my instincts roared that it was the elusive music man. He stared for a second, maybe an eternity, and then
backed away. Still dazed and shocked, I yelped as hot wax dripped onto my bare hand and I cringed in pain, accidentally snuffing out the candle, plunging me into unending darkness. Panic surges through me and I drop the candle to the floor. I just witnessed a woman being tortured, with a possibility of more victims in that house, and had been caught staring by the man responsible.
No land phone, no WiFi, no chance for cellular out here, and snow so deep I can’t drive anywhere. I sprinted to the door and locked it fast, not even risking to look out the panes, fearing a face staring back that wasn’t my reflection. I turned and took the stairs two at a time, landing at the top and sprinting to my room, whirling to slam the door shut behind me and shoving a chair under the knob to keep it from
opening. My breath comes unevenly, but I focus on it, forcing myself to quiet. I shut my eyes, and begin to pray silently that he didn’t see me looking, didn’t see the candle light. Please please please....
Knock, knock. No. No, please don’t be on my front door. Please be a tree branch hitting the house. A moments pause. And then again: Knock, knock. That was my front door, no doubt. I started trembling uncontrollably as I heard glass shatter, footsteps approaching,
and then froze as music started playing, closer than I’d ever heard it before. “Tell me baby, what’s my name”. I watched in terror as my door knob turned.