It was annoying at first. The occasional creaking of the house, power shortages, no heating, things you would expect to find in a small town up in Scotland. Since I had lived here for a good four years I had gotten used to those events occurring. Gradually it got worse. The power would stay out for hours, sometimes even days. The cold winds would shake the old house, I stopped bothering to light candles when the lights died. The currents of air would just seep through the cracks around the windows a blow them out, the usual routine.
After a few months the situation became more serious, don’t take it the wrong way, everyone was trying to help, but our efforts just kept failing. Then it happened, the cars just stopped, completely stopped. We were baffled, one of the locals blamed the magnetic fields or some other scientific explanation. It wasn’t the last. Because of the dangers of driving when dusk fell, there was now a curfew. From 9pm to 4am no cars were allowed on the roads due to risk of it happening again. Now, of course I had broken that rule a few times, but I soon learnt my lesson.
It was winter, the worst time of the year. It got darker earlier, a thin layer of snow coated the area, freezing everything in its path. Many of the citizens had moved South, mostly to London due to the increasing risk. More power shortages occurred and the decreasing temperature wasn’t helping, the Northern part of the town was in a dire condition. And I, was left alone. Being stubborn and arrogant I refused to leave when they issued the amber warning. I had plenty of food to last the winter, many thick coats and jumpers ‘I’ll be just fine’ I said. Dear god I was wrong.
It was never the creaking of the house or the banging of the lose shed door which bothered me, it was something else. I couldn’t put my finger on it, one minute I would be walking down the hall and then the lights would just, just turn off. You could still hear the hum of the boiler under the stair case, so the electricity was fine, I concluded. Then just like that, the lights would pop back on, the house was colder though, probably due to the lack of light. The windows let less sun in, more frost had grown up along the frame, sealing the cracks. I started to light more candles as the blackouts became more common, but when the lights went out so did the candles.
It was a Sunday evening, the third blackout of the day. So far it had been three hours long. Every candle I light, every light source I create, darkens until it disappears. The more clothing I put on, the more blankets I wrapped around my frail body the icier I became. The more food I ate, whether cooked or not, I grew more and more ravenous. The more I spoke or created noise of any sort, the quicker it died down into a deathly silence.
I soon found myself glancing at the clock every second, an idea came to mind. I was stupid, I wish I never did it, but being me, I did. Grabbing my car keys I stepped into the artic wind, it stung any exposed flesh. Since I hadn’t been outside in months due to the dangerously cold air, I glanced at my home and other around it. Each house had dents from being hit with tree branches or lose debris which the wind had picked up.
My house though was the only one with claw mark engraved into the wooden panelling, never once had I heard an animal or the sound of claws being dug into wood, and considering I was in complete silence most of the time. Baffled and confused I had started my car up, thankful it still worked. The snow was thick, but I processed to force my car onto the thinnest patch. More momentum and more power soon had my car driving South. I had glanced at the small digital clock within the cars dashboard. 8:33pm. Curfew was within 27 minutes, but I didn’t give a second though to curfew. I was the only on there, so why should I follow the rule?
That’s the mistake I made. Distracting myself and getting cocky I soon found a patch of black ice. Skidding after puling the brakes, the car slowly stopped. Within that breath taking second, my heart hammering against my ribcage, the car stopped completely. All lights turned off, the gentle humming of the engine filled the air.
The engine was off though. The sound continued and my breathing became heavier, I didn’t know what was happening, was the oxygen levels decreasing? Was I hyperventilating due to shock? I still don’t know, but what I do know is that I made the worst decision of my life, it still invades my dreams, my nightmares.
A cold hand brushed my shoulder, I froze, not moving a single muscle. The smell of rotting flesh filled my nose. Eyes wide I glanced at the rear view mirror, straining my eyes so I could make out what was in the back seat of my car. There was nothing, nothing but a single shadow. Not mine though, it looked like a small ape, hunched over, long fingers came out of small hands. It moved with caution, the shadow was directly behind me, I had to bite my tongue so that I wouldn’t scream in terror.
The humming was louder, and the more I listened to it the fainter I became. I could taste bile in the back of my throat, black stops danced within my vision. Soon the smell of flesh and the humming overwhelmed my senses completely. Tears threatened to fall, as I watched the ape-like shadow slung a bony arm around my neck. It was ruff and hairy, a thick sickly aroma as given off. Soon so many black spots filled my vision I could no longer see, no longer hear, smell, touch. I was completely numb.
I woke up three days later, some guy found me stiff as a rock in the same position I was in before. Toes and fingers were black, I had a minor case of frost bite, my vision was still blurry though. When I had reached civilisation I still experienced the blackouts, I would thrash about in my chair or bed when one would occur. The shadow of the ape-like creature lurked in the corner of my vision, I would scream and cry out, but no sound would escape my lips.
Years later the blackouts decreased. I found out that the lights were on, even when I could only see darkness, no one else saw that creature, I was grateful yet jealous at that fact. Occasionally I do get glances of it, feel long nails gently graze my skin as I sleep.
I moved to Cornwall when I felt as though I could handle life without assistance, never once had I dared to visit Scotland again, but that doesn’t mean I was left alone.