Sarah was not one to believe in things that go bump in the night or in anything paranormal for that matter. At her grown up age of thirteen she saw the world as being black and white. There was no grey area, no unexplainable event. So when she heard that Mrs. Crawford, the town’s social butterfly, was suddenly refusing to leave her house Sarah hadn’t seen any need to really concern herself with it. Simply calling Mrs. Crawford a social butterfly though was not really doing her justice. She went to all the town meetings, every social gathering, and she could always be found at one friend’s house or another.
So the fact that she now refused to step outside was a cause for concern, but Sarah could not see how it could be anything but Mrs. Crawford being ill or tired of all the excitement. For hours Sarah would look out to find Mrs. Crawford sitting in her rocker staring vacantly out her living room window. The town whispered about the event leading up to Mrs. Crawford’s sudden hermit like behavior. From what Sarah had learned from the town gossip, Mrs. Crawford had been at a party late the previous night, having a couple of drinks and being her social self. As one o’clock rolled around she had announced that it was getting late and she needed to be up early for church that morning.
Some of her friends had tried to convince her that since it was snowing out she should allow them to take her home. An offer which she had politely declined, saying that it was only a light snow falling outside and she had walked through much worse. Since this was such a small town she was often found walking from one place to another instead of driving. That night in particular she was only about a fifteen minute walk from home. After saying her goodbyes, which of course took at least a half hour since she had to chat with everyone before she left, Mrs. Crawford put on her coat and with a last waive she began her walk home. The last anyone saw of her that night was her walking merrily off into the distance, humming some classic Christmas song softly to herself.
She never showed up to church that morning and when members went to her home, concerned that she was ill, they had found her sitting there in her rocker, staring out the window. The townspeople say that she would only utter a couple words at once, never a full sentence, and refused to look away from the window. Her voice had been so quiet that those around her had to lean in extremely close to make out what she said. Her eyes were red and teary as if she had been crying all night. And when asked what had happened to her on her way home she would only let out a low moan and mumble something about a storm and the dark.
Sarah heard that even the local doctor had been by to see Mrs. Crawford. He had stayed for some time, checking her temperature and listening to her heart. Other than being unresponsive and having a very strange looking bite on her left calf the doctor had found nothing wrong. He ended up leaving with just a simple shake of his head and muttering under his breath. The town was at a loss.
So there Mrs. Crawford sat, night after night, day after day, staring out her window. Sarah would look out at her from time to time, finding it strange that Mrs. Crawford never seemed to move from that one spot. Though Sarah still felt that whatever was wrong with Mrs. Crawford could be easily explained, she did agree with the town that Mrs. Crawford’s refusal to leave her rocker was unnerving - even unsettling - seeing that she never seemed to look away from her window.
One night, two days after Mrs. Crawford took up post in her window, Sarah found herself lying in bed staring at the ceiling. This night however, it was not Mrs. Crawford’s condition that was keeping Sarah awake. It was her upcoming english exam and science project that was keeping her mind going. With her poker straight brown hair and thick black rimmed glasses, Sarah was all about her school work. Since she had no real social life outside of school, her lessons were all she really thought of, and ultimately they were all she really knew. She had always been a straight A student who took her school work very seriously, and any exams or projects even more so.
So here Sarah laid, debating on different ideas for her project and the many study materials she would need to look over for her exam. Being only months away from graduating 8th grade, moving on to high school only made her concentrate on her studies more. So it isn’t surprising that only after her name was carried softly through the air a time or two did Sarah take notice. Sitting up in bed she listened intently for the sound to repeat itself again. After some time passed she convinced herself that it was only the wind. She reached over to click off the light, and once she was nestled down under the covers, she was soon fast asleep.
The following day went by without Sarah giving much thought to the sound she had heard in her room. Small things here and there however began to stand out to her. She found herself feeling like someone was watching her as she came and went from her house, and more times than she could count, different lights would begin to flicker as she walked past them. Now when Sarah was in her room she would find herself drawn to her window, no longer just out of curiosity though, but out of a strange need to see if Mrs. Crawford still sat there. Like clockwork there she sat, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular.
Almost a week had passed now since the incident and Mrs. Crawford had yet to move. It had gotten so bad that the townspeople began to take turns checking on her. One minute someone would be by to force her to drink some water, another minute someone was trying to coax her from her chair. But she never moved and she no longer uttered anything except for a low moan from time to time.
Late on the seventh night, Sarah found herself unable to turn away from the window. It was storming badly outside with large heavy rain drops pounding angrily against the window. Lightning streaked rapidly across the sky, only lighting any given area for the briefest moment before plunging it back into darkness. It was within these seconds of light that Sarah was able to catch glimpses of Mrs. Crawford, sitting there - barely rocking the chair at all. Then suddenly between the lightning strikes and thunder, she heard her name. She almost missed it for it was like a whisper, like a sigh being carried on the breeze. Sarah glanced around for a moment, and like she knew she would, she found she was alone. Her room was dark except for a single dim light coming from the lamp on her nightstand and the soft light coming from the space around her bedroom door, leaking in from the hall. The lightning strikes sent brilliant white light throughout her room, illuminating everything like a flash from a camera. Shaking her head, Sarah pushed back this unsettling feeling, sure that it was just from the storm and nothing more.
Pushing a few strands of hair from her eyes she turned her head back to the window and squinted through the blinds, looking out into the darkness towards Mrs. Crawford’s house. It was so dark out the single street light two houses down didn’t even seem to light anything but the small space around it. Glancing up toward the skies, Sarah watched as yet another lightning bolt spider webbed through the clouds. With an involuntary shudder Sarah looked away from the ominous clouds. Looking out into the darkness she could just make out Mrs. Crawford’s window when with a sudden flash of lightning Sarah gasped. She could not believe her eyes! For sitting in that window was indeed Mrs. Crawford but she was no longer just staring out at now where - she was looking right at her!
Sarah’s hand went to her mouth as she watched Mrs. Crawford actually smile as she stared up at her. And as the light from the lightning began to fade the lights on the block flickered once... twice... and then went out. The street went completely dark and Sarah took several steps away from the window. Mrs. Crawford’s eerie smile and stare was replaying over and over in her mind. Sarah pulled her hand away from her mouth slowly as she began to turn from the window, already trying to convince herself that she had mistaken what she had seen and that because of the storm, her mind was just playing tricks on her. Just then, another streak of lightning ripped through the air, and with a start Sarah looked across her room and screamed.
Standing there, right on the other side of the bed was Mrs. Crawford! Her usual blue eyes had taken on a yellow glow and her mouth was twisted into a sadistic smile. This was not the Mrs. Crawford that Sarah knew. Sarah quickly stepped back as she felt another scream building.
“Sarah...” The being whispered, “I’ve come for you Sarah. It’s always been you.”
“No!” Sarah said as she felt her stomach turn, “This isn’t real...you’re not real!”
“Ohhh, I’m very real Sarah. And I’m here for you.” Then with a twist of its head the being that was Mrs. Crawford lunged across the bed right at Sarah.
Sarah screamed and fell back into the wall, throwing her hands up in front of her in attempt to ward off the attack.
“Sarah are you ok?!” her Dad yelled as he came running up the hall, practically falling through her bedroom door. Out of breath, he reached over and switched on her ceiling fan light. Gasping, Sarah looked around. “Sarah what’s wrong?!”
“Where is she?!” Sarah stammered out, “She’s in my room! Where is she Dad?!”
“Where’s who honey?” Sarah’s dad looked wildly back and forth, “there’s nobody here!”
“Mrs. Crawford was here! She was standing right where you are!”
“She was here but it wasn’t really her dad. Something was not right about her, she didn’t look right. It was her eyes, they were yellow and they glowed. And she was right here in my room.”
“Sarah honey, you’re not making any sense. There’s nobody else here and Mrs. Crawford is still sitting in her house. She hasn’t moved from that chair Sarah, you know that.” Sarah’s dad states as he walks over to her and helps her up. “Here look and see…”
He helped Sarah get up and they stepped over towards the window. Sarah glanced at her dad, not wanting to turn fully away from the rest of the room but wanting to prove to her dad that Mrs. Crawford had indeed moved from her chair. So holding her breath, Sarah turned towards the window and looked out through the blinds. The first thing she noticed was that all the streetlights were back on, along with lights in and around the neighborhood. Then, like ripping off a band aid, Sarah turned towards Mrs. Crawford’s house. Sarah let out a hiss as she spotted Mrs. Crawford sitting in her chair, staring emptily out her window at nothing in particular.
“No dad, I know what I saw.” Sarah said shaking her head back and forth.
“Sarah...” her dad sighed and leaned against the wall, “It was probably just the storm and a trick of your imagination. Just go to bed honey. You’ll see in the morning that there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“No Sarah, now that’s enough.” Her dad said as he made his way back across the room, “It’s time for bed. You have school tomorrow and you’ll need your rest.”
“Okay dad. You’re probably right.” Sarah whispered as she turned and glanced back out into the storm. “It must have been the lightning playing tricks on me.”
“That’s my girl. Now good night and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night dad.” Sarah watched as her dad started heading out the door. She saw him reach for the light switch and a sudden chill ran down her spine. “Can you leave the light on?”
He turned to her with a questioning look.
“Just for a while,” Sarah smiled, “while I get ready for bed.”
“Okay sweetie.” Her dad smiled back as he walked out of the room, “I love you.”
“I love you too dad.” Sarah whispered as she watched the door close. Looking back out the window she watched as Mrs. Crawford slowly rocked back and forth in her chair. With a shake of her head she backed away from the window and quickly changed into her pajamas. Walking over to the light switch she paused. Deciding that, though she usually liked to sleep in complete darkness, she figured it would be okay if tonight she made an exception. Seeing that her mind was playing tricks on her she figured it wouldn’t hurt to give her suddenly growing imagination a little less ammo. After all, everything had happened so fast, how could she really be sure what she had seen. With that, she curled herself up in a ball under the covers, and even though she was still not completely convinced of what she had seen, she was soon fast asleep.
Several hours later Sarah was awakened with a start. Sitting straight up in bed she gripped the blankets tight around her chest and listened.
“Maybe it was all a bad dream.” She murmured to herself as she gazed around her bedroom. Looking over at her clock, she saw to her dismay that it was only three in the morning. Groaning, she laid back down and began to will herself back to sleep. She almost succeeded too when she suddenly heard a low moan coming from down the hall. Sitting up again she looked towards her bedroom door and listened. Besides the storm still raging outside, the house was as silent as a tomb. Sarah KNEW she had heard a moan, and even worse the moan sounded drawn out, as if someone was in pain. Sitting in the quiet Sarah strained to listen, and after a long amount of waiting she was rewarded by an extremely loud thump. Lightning flashed through the sky and was followed by an almost growling thunder. With a startled yelp she crawled to the edge of her bed, slowly beginning to make her way to her door.
“Dad?” She whispered as she reached for the door. The lights in her bedroom began to flicker as she slowly turned the doorknob and pulled open her bedroom door. The light in the hallway flickered, causing an almost strobe light effect. Sarah’s fear began to almost paralyze her as she leaned against the wall for support.
“Dad...where are you?” Sarah stammered as she looked wildly up and down the hall. “Are you up here?”
Looking towards her father’s bedroom door, Sarah could just make out a soft flickering light coming from within. As she watched the light flickering from under the door, she saw what she thought was a shadow passing by behind the door. Taking a deep breath Sarah began moving towards the bedroom. Her hand shook as she pushed back a strand of hair.
“Dad?” She reached for the door and slowly began to push it open. “Dad?”
The flickering light felt otherworldly as she took a timid step into the room. The first thing she noticed was the blankets thrown to the floor, and the drapes on the bedroom window were hanging slightly off the wall. Sarah could just make out an object lying amongst the blankets, but with the light flickering and dimming so much she could not get a very good look. Taking a couple steps forward she tried to concentrate on controlling her overpowering imagination. She placed her hand on the foot of the bed and began to lean over the side to get a better look. Just as she was beginning to make out the blankets, a flash of lightning filled the room and Sarah found herself face to face with the lifeless eyes of her father.
“DAD!!!” Sarah practically fell off the side of the bed as she came to her dad’s side. With a shaky hand she reached out and touched the side of his face, wiping off a line of blood that had begun to flow from the corners of his mouth. Her eyes filled with tears as she stared into his, and she screamed. She did not let out a scream of terror though, but one of pure anguish, for she had never imagined not having him around.
“Sarah...” a sly voice whispered through the air, “there you are Sarah.”
Sarah looked up with a start, and spotted Mrs. Crawford standing at the other end of the room. She was swaying slightly, almost rhythmically, as she looked at Sarah with her head cocked to the side.
“What do you want?” Sarah asked with a shaky voice, “Why did you kill my father?!” Sarah placed a protective hand over her dad’s body as she fearfully met Mrs. Crawford’s evil glowing eyes. Those large yellow eyes which stared so smartly back at her were only made slightly smaller when the being drew its mouth into a very leering grin.
“Simple. I want YOU Sarah.”
“But why? I don’t understand.”
“You don’t need to understand, you just need to see.”
“See… See what?”
“That you’re mine. You’ve always been mine.” The being that was Mrs. Crawford whispered as she began to move in closer to Sarah. “Come to me now Sarah.”
“NO!” Sarah yelled as she jumped back from Mrs. Crawford and ran towards the door. She had almost made it when she felt a hand wrap around her arm and yank her backwards, landing her harshly upon the bed. Sarah went to roll off to the side when Mrs. Crawford was suddenly on her. It all happened so fast. Sarah’s head was slammed against the back wall and she blinked rapidly to clear her suddenly foggy vision. Her right arm in the meantime, was being twisted to the point that she thought it would break off, while the other one was pinned under her body. “Let go of me!” She spit out as she clenched her teeth in pain.
“Your mine!” Mrs. Crawford said as she leaned in next to Sarah’s ear, running a possessive finger down her cheek and over to her now exposed shoulder. “I’ll never let you go.”
Sarah felt a searing pain in her shoulder as Mrs. Crawford lunged down and bit her. Sarah screamed and bucked wildly attempting to get the being off of her. She could feel the being’s teeth grinding into her skin as they ripped her shoulder apart. After what seemed like a lifetime, Mrs. Crawford reared back and stared down as if admiring her work. She ran her tongue over her blood drenched lips. Sarah could feel pain, burning like acid, traveling down her back from the bite.
“What have you done to me?” Sarah whispered as her eyes began to lose their focus. Instead of answering Mrs. Crawford licked her lips again, smiled and then raked her fingers down Sarah’s face. Sarah felt the blood running down her face and between that and the excruciating pain, she began to let out another scream. Suddenly Mrs. Crawford’s hand was over her mouth, crushing her head down into the blood soaked pillow below her.
“Shh... It’s almost done.” The being leaned in and whispered with a smile, “You’ve always been mine, now we’ll truly be one.” Then just as Sarah thought she wouldn’t be able to take any more of the pain, everything went black.
The following morning the local doctor showed up to give Mrs. Crawford her daily checkup, he found the front room empty. Thinking Mrs. Crawford had finally snapped out of her catatonic state he began to make his way through the house to find where she had gone. Seeing a light faintly shining from under her bedroom door, he went over and with a light knock he walked in.
He stood there for a moment and pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe a tear from his eye. For there on the bed was Mrs. Crawford, as still as if she was sleeping but he knew by the look of her that she was not.
Later in the day the local coroner would say that she had died peacefully from natural causes. This caused the town as a whole to let out a sigh of relief for though they would never know what had happened to Mrs. Crawford on that stormy night, they knew that at least now she was at peace. This good news was sadly overshadowed by the horrible discovery in the house across the street. Sarah had never shown up for school on the day of her exam, and since people knew how important her studies were to her, some of the kids decided to head right over to see if everything was okay. The kids stood at the door for some time knocking until finally they called the local sheriff to come and check things out.
It turned out that Sarah’s dad had also not shown up for work, and when they saw through the window that his car was still in the garage the sheriff called for a warrant and they went in. Searching through the quiet house they came to her father’s bedroom only to find Sarah’s father dead on the floor and a large amount of blood in the bed. Sarah was nowhere to be found. It was found later that the blood in the bed did indeed belong to Sarah but no leads ever came out of it.
Some of the townspeople say that Sarah just snapped, killed her dad, and in realizing what she had done she fled. Others say someone else came into the house, killed the father, and took Sarah. This however, was less likely since all the doors and windows were locked, and showed no signs of forced entry.
Sometime later a local kid swore that he had seen Sarah running in through the woods behind his house. He said she been wearing ratty pajamas with a rip in the shoulder and when he had gasped at the sight of her she had stopped and looked at him. He claimed her eyes were glowing yellow - and she was smiling.
© Copyright E.F. Rose 5.6.13