Vacation. Short Story.

“I think…I think someone is out there.”
“Oh ha-ha John, stop being a dick. We both know there’s nothing out there. You tried that the last time too remember?”
“Yeah, no I know, and I was joking then but I’m not joking now. I swear to god I saw someone moving by the trees over there. I just saw them for a second, but it was definitely a person.”
“It was probably shadows or an animal, there’s lots of them out here.”
“Animals don’t get that tall.”
“Ok, how about this, I’ll turn on the outside lights and you’ll see there’s no one there and then you’ll drop this shitty joke, ok?”
Stacy reached over and flipped the switch, the garden was flooded with harsh, white light. Stacy squinted at the trees, the light was good, but the trees quickly fell into darkness. “See? No one there. We would have seen something if there was.”
“Maybe my eyes were playing tricks. I swear I thought I saw someone though, I wasn’t just trying to scare you.”
“Yeah yeah, whatever. Look even if there was someone there, they know we’re home, they’re not gonna break in. Burglars want empty places where they’re less likely to get caught, or shot.”
“True.” John shook his head, “I guess I’m just a little on edge out here. I’m not used to how quiet it is.”
Stacy chuckled, “give it a few hours, you’ll be hearing lots of animals.”

“Really? I don’t remember that the last time.”
“That’s because there were five of us, we had loud music and you were absolutely shitfaced. You didn’t even make it to a bed, I found you passed out in the kitchen the next morning.”
John coughed, “Yeah, I guess. Don’t worry that won’t be happening again.”
“Oh, I know, I’ve locked up the booze this time, I used chains and everything.”
Stacy smiled and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, “C’mon, you get the popcorn ready, if we don’t start watching this movie soon we’re gonna be up all night.”
John smiled at her, “I was hoping we’d be up all night anyway.”
He pulled her in for a deeper kiss, Stacy pulled away after a minute, “Maybe the movie can wait for a little bit.”
“When is your sister coming up?”
“Sometime tomorrow, in the afternoon I think.”
“ah perfect, plenty of time for us then.”

Stacy woke suddenly, looking wildly around the dark room. After a second she realised what the loud banging noise was, someone was knocking on the front door. There was a brief pause, then it started again, even louder than before. Stacy groaned and nudged John, he always did sleep like the dead.
“Hey, wake up. I think something happened.”
“Someone’s at the door, there might have been an accident or something. C’mon, I’m not going down there by myself.”
John groaned and rolled over, “I’ll go down, you stay up here.” He rubbed his eyes and yawned, “have a look out the window, see if you can see them. Keep your phone with you and be ready to call the cops or an ambulance.”
Stacy nodded, downstairs the banging stopped. The sudden silence felt heavy and uncomfortable.

John looked through the peephole, he couldn’t see anyone, he flicked on the porch light, revealing a woman, she looked tired and dishevelled, her hair was messy and it looked like there were twigs and leaves in it. “Are you ok?”
“Oh thank god! I thought no one was home, please you have to help me. I crashed my car on the main road, someone ran out in front of me, I think they’re chasing me, please you have to let me in, they’re out here. I think they have a knife. I think he’s going to kill me, please we have to call the police!”
“Ok, just slow down, just one second, I need to grab the key to unlock the door ok, I’ll be right back.”
“Oh god, please hurry, I don’t know where he is, please, he could be here any second.”
“Ok, ok, don’t worry, you’re safe, I’ll grab the keys and then we’ll call the police.” “Don’t open it.” John jumped he spun around, Stacy was standing behind him. “There’s a woman out there, she needs help, she’s being chased by someone, where did you put the key?”
Stacy shook her head, “No, don’t, I saw someone out there, there’s a guy, he’s standing just to the side, there’s no way she can’t see him. Don’t open it. It’s a trap.”

John’s heart was thudding heavily, the steady sound of rushing blood filled his ears, john jumped as the woman from outside called out, “Where are you, please hurry, I think I saw him by the trees, oh god, I think he’s here.” She started banging on the door again, her shouts getting louder, more panicked. Stacy shook her head and started dialling on her phone. Outside the shouting turned to shrieks, “Oh god, I can see him, he’s coming right at me, please dear god open the fucking door he’s going to kill me, shit. Shit shit shit. Please, no, don’t please, no!” Silence.
John felt a worm of nausea squirming in his stomach, what if the woman was telling the truth? Quietly he moved back to the door and looked out, he couldn’t see anyone, but there was bright streaks of red all over the porch. His stomach clenched, he could hear something, it was faint, he moved his ear close to the door, what was that noise? Whimpering, low and panicked, it almost sounded like someone was whispering the word “please” over and over. Behind him Stacy was whispering into the phone, he jumped as a hand landed on his shoulder, he felt shaky, sick. Just at the edge of his vision through the peephole, was that a foot? Stacy pulled him back, “They said to go upstairs and lock ourselves somewhere, the more doors between us and them the better, c’mon”
John allowed himself to be pulled from the door, “What if it was real? What if she couldn’t see him?”
Stacy shook her head, “there’s no way she couldn’t.”

Together they made their way up the stairs. At the landing John paused and looked out the window, he could see someone out there, standing in the grass, looking up at the window. John ducked back, his breathing quick and panicked, “I saw him, in the garden, I think, I think he was holding a bloody machete.”
Stacy grabbed his hand and pulled him across the hall and into their bedroom. The doors were thick, sturdy. Stacy locked the door and then continued into the ensuite, the door was lighter, but it was an extra lock between them and the outside. She pulled John into the bathroom and locked the door behind them and together they waited in the darkness for help to reach them..

When the police arrived there was no sign of the man, or woman, just a blood splattered porch and thin scratches on the door, like someone had been running a knife, back and forth across the surface.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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