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The Message

    Afton came home from work after a long day on the job, pulling up to her house like any normal day.  Carrying her things in her arms, she stepped out of her car and around to the side door of the garage and locked it behind her.  She walked up to her front door, and her heart sank instantly.  It was ajar.  Being a police officer in Melbourne for the past five years, she instinctively reached for her holstered weapon.

     She entered her home tactfully, checking every closet, the shower, and any hiding place she could think of.  Checking under her bed, she let out a deep breath of relief and smiled.  She didn’t realize that she had been holding it in subconsciously out of anxiety until just then.  She slid her body halfway under her bed, pulling herself by her elbows, doing a sort of army crawl.  “Come on, girl, come on,” she called her dog.  “Let’s go girl, do you want a cookie?”  That was all she needed to say to get her out from under her refuge.  She must have hid under there when whoever it was was here.  After she gave the promised treat to her dog, Afton then began to go through the papers scattered everywhere.  This task was particularly annoying, as she always kept a meticulously clean house.  It would take at least a couple hours to sort and put all this away – something that took maybe just 15 minutes to mess up.

     “Nothing taken,” she said to herself.  Her safe, tucked away in the back of her closet, hadn’t been touched.  This person wasn’t after her important documents, her passport, and the stash of money she kept in case of an emergency.  There were no signs that it had even been tampered with.  Same with her desk.  Disturbed, yes, but nothing stolen.

     She picked up her phone and called the station.  They had advised her that an officer would be there shortly to take a report.  She asked if they would send Sean, her former partner of three years and first trainee.  She was just out of training school, and he was fresh out of the academy when they had been paired together.  She trusted him (which was hard to get from her), and wanted no one but him to do this for her.  As she went to return the phone to its receiver, she noticed a blinking light on the base.  She had three messages.  She pressed the button to play them.  The first was a dinner invitation from her older sister.  They had been trying to repair their relationship after years of a difference in beliefs.  “Alright, next one,” she thought, skipping her verbose sister’s invite. It was Afton’s friend.  She listened intently.  “I mean, of all the gin joints in the world!  There she was at Cotton On!  She had the nerve to talk to me, like you two were still together, like nothing happened and she never cheated.  She still can’t believe you broke up with her.  That snake of a-“.

     “Enough of that,” Afton decided, skipping to the final one.  This message scared her more than anything she had ever encountered in her five years of law enforcement.  It was a deep and raspy voice.  An inhuman voice, maybe someone speaking through one of those voice changers.  “Like the mothman,” she said aloud and shivered.  That movie had creeped her out. 

     The voice said “we are coming.”  A chill ran down her spine, but it wasn’t from the cold of the crisp July air.  The hair on the back of her neck began to stand up.  Suddenly, though she was a bit embarrassed to admit it, she was very uncomfortable being there by herself.  She was a police officer, after all, and she’d lived on her own since university.  But this was scary.  She looked at the time.  The minutes seemed like hours.  She was anxious for Sean to get there.  “Really, what’s taking him so damn long?” she wondered to herself.  Sean had been to her place tons of times.  He should be able to zip there from anywhere. 

     The phone rang.  Afton jumped back, startled.  Thinking it was one of her comrades, she answered it.  “Hello?” she said.  There was no voice.  It just sounded like static.  “Hello?” she asked once again.  Finally, just as she was about to hang up, the raspy voice broke through.  Again, it uttered the same message: “We are coming.”

     She slammed down the phone, and then picked it back up, planning to call the station to give them an update.  She put the phone to her ear.  There was nothing – no dial tone, no noise.  The lines must have been cut.  “Damn.”

     She thought she heard something outside, but there was no sign of a cruiser or Sean.  Next thing she knew, there was a knock at the door.  “Maybe he’s parked where I can’t see him,” she thought.  She opened the door.  Instantly, the pallor of her face changed from a youthful, young pink that had a glow about it to a ghostly white, devoid of all life.  It was like a bag of flour had been dumped on her.  Her eyes were the size of half dollars, and her mouth hung open like a cavernous hole.  In front of her stood a person in a simple mask.  Small round cut outs for eyes, and a thin strip at the mouth.  She immediately reached for her gun.  It wasn’t there.  She had left it on the counter.  “Great, what a time to start a bad habit,” she cursed herself in her mind.  She pulled her mobile out of her pocket.  The person just stood there, staring at her, let her put the phone to her ear, and then smacked it out of her hand.

     She stood still in shock.  Was this really happening?  Then she heard a bark and the tapping of her dog’s claws on the wood floor.  Her dog ran to the door, the masked figure making way for her and letting her pass.  Knowing she wouldn’t be so lucky, and not knowing what else to do, Afton ran for a window.  She saw what looked like the same figure, only a different build, outside it.  She went to another, then another.  It was the same at every outlet.  The side door.  The back door.  All with these people in simplistically terrifying masks.  And still no Sean or a cruiser.



21/10/2012 · 4:31 PM