He opened his eyes. Awake. Finally. Beads of sweat lined his neck like a noose. A taut noose. About to snap. He clasped his neck with both his hands and groaned, willing the sensation to stop.
But it wouldn’t.
He looked around him. The room was dim. Clearly there was no power in his house. But he heard no whirrs from neighbours’ generators either. He walked to the window and touched the sill. It was dark outside. He realized it was the middle of the night.
Then he heard the screech.
It sounded like a bird of prey going in for the kill. But this was a well tended residential area. No room for that. Or was there? His blood curdled instantly. It sounded really close. Eerily close.
He turned around. His eyes scanned the room for any movement. He started walking towards his bed. He saw something and jumped; startled. He glanced around and saw nothing. ‘Must be my shadow,’ he thought. He moved towards his bed again. Tentatively this time.
A reflection of yellow caught the corner of his eye.
Power had returned.
He altered his destination and headed for the stairs. Exiting, he shut his room door behind him as he saw the glow from downstairs.
He stopped short as the beads of sweat became mini-streams, coursing down unbridled. Tension morphed into fear. He turned back and made for the door knob but he already knew. It was locked. He began to pant loudly. He closed his eyes briefly, trying to think. But he couldn’t. The tautness around his neck seemed to intensify. Grabbing his neck again, he lumbered towards the stairs. If he could just make it out of the house, perhaps… He figured the glow was coming from the bulb in the far corner of the living room. Above the television set. He trudged down the stairs one step at a time, suddenly weak from fighting what he couldn’t see.
And then his right foot hit the parlor’s carpeting.
As if on cue, he heard glass shattering all around him. His eye caught the last of television set as the tube exploded violently, sending shards towards him. He bent down quickly to avoid them finding rest on his skin. The bulbs had been exploding serially. The one above the remains of the tv was last. He stared wide-eyed as it left its socket. Still luminous, it sped towards him. Already prone, he crawled across the room trying to get away. He could see the light approaching him. He felt it smash into his side then…
By now, he’d lost his bearing. He couldn’t tell what part of the living room he was in. Panic!
He propelled himself atop the shards of glass that littered the floor. He was numb to the bruising. All he needed was to get out of this mess; this madness. Scrambling on the floor, he put his arms to work about him searching for something to latch on to: a couch, a stool, anything. He touched something and got a hold of it. It felt like one of the legs of the dining table but a lot bigger. And warmer. This was certainly not wood. He still couldn’t see anything so he reached up to get a better feel for what he was trying to get a hold of. An arbitrary flash of lightening illuminated the room for a moment.
It was long enough for him to see it…
Huge drippy eyes green as a young garden; vicious as viper’s. Long sharp teeth that converged at least three inches from its noseless face.
It seemed to be sweating grime yet the rest of its body seemed feathery.
It screeched again. This time he couldn’t jump. Or run. Instead he felt the warmth on his lower extremities as he was bathed in his own urine.
Then it spoke. Half growl, half scream, full terror: “Hello dinner. It’s going to be a long night!”
It bent down and opened its mouth…