I should’ve gotten the hint when the lights started flickering as I lounged on my couch Saturday night, a pencil tucked behind my ear as I read through the rough draft of my English dissertation, focusing every fiber of my being to make it perfect. Ginger was curled up on my legs, purring in contention. I dismissed the flickering as the result of the wind that howled outside, causing everything to sway effortlessly, including the electric poles. I needed this paper to go well, as many of my job offers hung on its success. As I reached for the pencil to scribble in an illuminating thought, my world went dark. Pitch dark, a blindfold I couldn’t lift. So dark, it was suffocating, as if all the air had left the room with the light. Ginger let out a yowl and skittered away, her padded feet thudding against the hardwood. I slowly pushed myself upright, sitting there, straining my eyes as they adjusted. The couch creaked as I shifted, groaning loudly under my weight, a groan that cut through the loud silence.
Rain pounded away on the curtained windows like a million tiny hands begging to be let in as the flashing lightning brought my eyes periods of momentary relief. I gingerly patted the couch, searching for my phone when I remembered I had left in my bedroom to make sure I didn’t get distracted. A groan slipped my lips. Well, at least I know the general direction of my room, I thought, I can just carefully feel my way there. I stood, arms extended in front of me, and started to take a step forward, which turned out to be a huge mistake. While I was preoccupied with searching for my phone, Ginger had returned and curled up at my feet, as the lack of light was not a huge issue for cats. My foot caught in her dozing body and twisted in an unnatural angle, a sharp crack filling the air accompanied by my scream.
Pain shot up my right leg, as I lay on the ground, tears distorting whatever little I could make out in the lack of light. Thankfully, I had landed near a wall. I dragged myself up, sitting leaned against the wall as Ginger licked my face, apologetically. My mind raced, trying to figure out how to get to my phone so I could call for some help. The storm had picked up outside, lightning flashing violently. This gave me more frequent glimpses of the room. I leaned and reached to my left, where a bar stool was situated, pulling it towards me. Using it as a crutch, I pulled myself back into a semi-standing position, putting all my weight on my left leg. I stood, waiting for the lightning to flash again so that I could make my next move. And when it did, my heart jumped to my throat at the sight of the silhouette of a man against the far right window. And then dark again. Terror flooded every inch of me, my heart racing. The room was again flooded momentarily with light as thunder followed to reveal an empty room. This galvanized me. I made my move to the left, dragging my throbbing foot behind me as fast as I could, one hand covering my mouth to muffle any sound that might try to escape me and one hand holding the cold wall for support. I had to hide.