The Intruder. Short Story.

Tom put the teabag into his mug, outside her could hear that damn dog from 54 still barking away. It never shut up. He sighed, it wasn’t the dogs fault his owners left him outside all the time, he glanced out the rain spattered window, if he was trapped outside in this weather he’d probably be yelling too. The click of the kettle startled him from his thoughts, he picked it up and filled his mug with water. As he placed the kettle back he the barking stopped suddenly, he smiled to himself, someone must have taken pity on the poor dog and taken him inside finally. As he fished out the teabag he heard a scream, he frowned, had he heard that right? There were a lot of kids in the area so he was used to screams but it sounded more like a scream of horror. He was standing still, tea bag dripping on the counter. When no other sound came he took the tea bag and threw it into the bin, it was probably just his imagination, it had to be one of the kids playing around. They were always shouting, even in the rain. He added a splash of milk to his tea then took a sip, sighing in satisfaction he turned and left the kitchen. It was Saturday and that meant lots of TV and not a lot of moving. Normally he’d spend the day with Jacob, snuggled together on the couch but Jacob was off on some work conference, they happened a few times a year. Normally Tom didn’t mind all that much but on a rainy day like today he’d be lying if he said he didn’t miss him. It really was the perfect day to laze around.

He sat down on the old, comfortable couch, sinking into the cushions, he picked up the remote and pressed play, Jacob wouldn’t be impressed to find out Tom was catching up on American Horror Story without him, but what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. From outside came the sound of breaking glass. Tom frowned and paused the TV, that wasn’t his imagination this time, he’d definitely heard something. He stood from the couch and peered around the blinds of the large window, the street looked normal enough. There was no one outside, the road was deserted, rain continued to fall, it looked like it was getting heavier. He turned from the window and left the sitting room, he went upstairs and looked out the window of the front room hoping for a better view, everything still looked normal enough. He turned from the window, feeling a faint pang of anxiety, just as he was about to go downstairs, he remembered the back. He went into his room and carefully stepped around the piles of clothes, Jacob was terrible at putting stuff into the wash basket, Tom shook his head, he hated nagging Jacob about it but he knew if he didn’t it would never be cleaned. He looked out the window at the back gardens, he glanced to the left, all fine, he looked to his right. In the garden next door he could see the mangled remains of their dog. He felt his stomach clench and he felt vomit at the back of his throat. The poor thing had been torn apart, its fur was matted and brown with the blood, splashes of it adorned the walls. He turned from the window and as he did so caught the shimmer of shards of glass in the grass. He stumbled from the room, tripping over a discarded hoody, he regained his balance and ran to the bathroom, his mouth started to water as his stomach clenched again, he flicked up the toilet seat just in time as a cascade of vomit erupted from his mouth. He coughed, once, twice, then grabbed a wad of tissue and wiped the thin, mucusy strands from his nose. He rinsed his mouth at the sink until he could no longer taste the bitter, acrid taste of vomit. His phone, he needed to call the police, something bad was happening next door, his hand went to his pocket and found it empty. He’d left it on the couch. He ran from the bathroom and down the stairs, as he reached the bottom he heard the sound of breaking glass from the kitchen and a heavy thud. Tom froze, he glanced at the door to the sitting room, would he have time to grab his phone? He could hear the sound of crunching glass in the kitchen and then a heavy footstep. Tom turned and grabbed at the door, it wouldn’t open, he wrestled with the handle for a second before spotting the keys in the lock, he’d locked it before going to bed the night before and hadn’t opened it since. He started to turn the key, his other hand scrabbling at the chain when he heard the kitchen door open. He realised with a dull horror that the porch was locked too. He let go of the keys and turned, running up the stairs he only had time to glimpse the intruder, it was a man, at least six foot tall, if not taller and broad, he wore a heavy green jacket that was splattered with bright red streaks of blood. In one hand he held a long blade, its silver surface had streaks of blood and gore.

Tom slammed the door of the bedroom behind him and locked it. He looked around the room for a weapon, but there was nothing. He could hear the intruder walking up the stairs slowly, each footstep a loud boom that echoed through the house.

Tom whimpered as there was a gentle scratching on the door as the intruder scraped the blade back and forth across it. The intruder lifted his hand and knocked three times, Tom jumped with each heavy bang. He had to attack when the man broke through the door, it was his only hope, he picked up the small lamp from his bedside locker, it wasn’t heavy but he could throw it at the man and distract him, maybe enough for him to get away. There came a heavy pounding from the door which shook in its frame. Tom could hear the thin wood start to crack and splinter, he gripped the lamp tightly, the door burst open, Tom threw the lamp as hard as he could, the man batted it away effortlessly. He started reaching for anything he could, a book, Jacobs hoody, the intruder walked towards Tom casually, batting each thing aside. Tom didn’t realise he was backing up until he hit the wall. He was out of things to throw, he had to get past the man somehow. Having stopped searching for things to throw Tom looked at the man properly for the first time, he was taller than Tom had first thought, he was well above six feet, probably closer to seven. He grinned, his lips stretching wide to reveal perfectly straight and white teeth, his eyes were sunken slightly, but they were wide open and glittered with madness. The man took a step forward, Tom took a deep breath, as the man took another step he dove to the right, pivoting around him, he felt a surge of triumph just before the blade hit his back. Tom cried out as he fell, his entire back was on fire, he couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, there was nothing but pain and the hot, slick feeling of blood soaking into his clothes. He moaned as the man reefed the knife from his back and brought it down again and again. Arcs of blood splattered across the room, staining the walls an ceiling. Tom lay still, his eyes glassy, still the man kept going. Finally he pulled the blade from Tom’s corpse, he looked at the body then nodded to himself. Then he turned and left the room, he had places to be, after all there were plenty of houses around and he planned on having a long, busy day.

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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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