The first oddity was found on the kitchen counter: a fork with twisted tines. Sheila stared in blank shock until thoughts tumbled into consciousness. What the hell? Who did this? Are they still here?
Sheila spun around, fearing an intruder sneaking toward her. Nobody. She ran to check the front and back doors, the windows. All locked. The alarm system was still armed.
Did I do this? Sheila pictured herself sleepwalking, then warping a fork into a squid shape for some weird art project.
It didn’t make sense, and Sheila anguished over the fork through her workday and the evening.
The idea of sleepwalking was broken the next morning by the bouquet on the coffee table. The dead flowers weren’t from her backyard garden, surrounded by a tall fence. No flowers had been delivered yesterday. If Sheila had sleepwalked, she would’ve ordered a ride service to a florist; she didn’t own a car. But what florist was open after Sheila had gone to bed at 10:00?
Sheila ordered an upgrade to her alarm system, and would have to wait for tomorrow for the guy to show up. After the next morning’s appearance of the skull sticker on one of the exercise room’s walls.
The alarm company guy was polite while installing cameras aimed at the doors. The cameras offered no answers, however. Nothing triggered their motion sensors overnight, but a new magnet decorated the fridge. The magnet—a fanged rabbit—looked grotesque.
For years, Sheila rarely left her townhouse, due to powerful anxiety in public. By computer, she worked and shopped and chatted with others. Food and sundries were delivered. Working in the garden gave her fresh air. Houseplants grew in every room.
Now her sanctuary no longer felt safe.
Sleep came in short passages riddled with unnerving dreams. The newly purchased lock on her bedroom door failed to give hoped-for sense of security. No answers were given by new cameras that continually recorded, cameras that Sheila placed in the kitchen and living room. Items appeared in locations out of camera shot.
Online friends said a spirit might’ve been the cause, and suggested burning sage. Sheila felt silly waving the smoking bundle around her house. The next morning, she followed the cigarette smell to the bathroom, where a burning cigarette balanced on the sink’s rim.
“Very funny, asshole,” Sheila said. “I’m gonna catch you this time.”
That night, she sat on the couch. She didn’t trust her trembling hands to hold the coffee mug—she might’ve spilled the beverage and burned her legs. The mug was on the end table. Sips of coffee and fear kept her awake. A large knife rested on the sofa next to her. A knife probably wouldn’t do much against a spirit, but she figured it was better than throwing sage.
She didn’t know which potential terrified her more: a spirit floating into the living room or an object popping into existence. Both were horrific, and she worried for her sanity.
About The Author
Surely many people are named “Dave Williams” and this particular Dave is a redheaded one who enjoys writing speculative fiction, drawing, and reading. He lives in Maryland with his wonderful wife, two inspirational daughters, and two cats (a lazy one and a playful one).