I froze, crouched close to the wall; there was something out there—I definitely heard something move in
the darkness. I soon regretted moving to the country. The log cabin we bought was beautiful and close
to Lake Calm but remote from everything and everyone. Getting away from the city and relatives was
smart but perhaps living too far into the country was not wise. Ray, my husband, was fast asleep,
snoring. I swear, the man never heard anything! In 32 years of marriage, it was always me who heard
noises in the night! I stood still, close to the wall, listening.
Nothing! I didn’t hear a sound! Maybe it was my imagination, I thought. Ray always said that I should
have been a writer. My obsessive thoughts often ran wild. Maybe he was right. Besides, I did watch a
scary movie, hours earlier. Shouldn’t have done it but I did. Well that’s got to stop, I thought. No more
I went back to bed and began to relax. I was tired and needed sleep. I had just calmed down, when I
heard the noise again. This time it was louder, more distinct. I rose up in bed, straining to hear. This
time I heard a clip…clop sound. Our bedroom was right behind our screened-in porch. From our window,
noises on the sidewalk and porch were louder; the echo clear and strong. In the last few mornings I
heard deer walk on the sidewalk, looking for food. They had become accustomed to us because we often
left them food, by the garage. Had to be a deer, I thought. Just a harmless deer!
I lay back down again. I began my deep breathing exercises, my nerves were acting up. The day had
been unusually hectic, with housework, impatient relatives and searching for a job. I had put my
application in for a teacher’s assistant position. It took over an hour, in a cramped, dusty room with an
indifferent, school secretary. Next week I would know if I had the job. I was praying for it. Not having
any children of my own, it would be a labor of love.
Ray continued snoring. I strained to hear for sounds, but his snoring drowned out all outside noises.
I must have nodded off when another noise woke me up! This time the sound was closer, as if
something or someone was trying to peek inside. I raised my head from my pillow.
Click, Clop…Click…Clop…. It sounded like deer hooves. Slow steady….Click…Clops.
And yet, there was a “human” sound to it. The noise sounded like shoes with clicks on them. Kids in
the 50’s and 60’s used to wear heel clicks to be “cool.” My boyfriend in high school wore them and you
could always hear him coming. “Clip…Clop”…. I’d say to myself, here comes Steve! Sometimes I wore
them too, just to fit in. The fad, like all fads, lasted for a while and then was gone.
The more I thought about the heel clicks the more I realized that that’s what it could be! The very
thought of someone outside of our home in the dead of night, with those clicks seemed ridiculous! The
clicks would be a dead give-away that someone was there--outside! And yet, nothing seemed impossible
My mind traveled back in time. Steve lived about four miles away, was married and had several children.
He was happy, so I was told years ago. There was a time, when we were going together that he
obsessed over me. Could it be that he was here, tonight, longing to see me again? He used to be so
obsessed with my face. He was always comparing pictures of me to pictures of women in newspapers
and magazines. He thought I was so beautiful, that no one came close to my beauty. I was glad he
couldn’t see my face now; I had not aged well. I was remembering, too, that Steve and my Dad didn’t get
along. One night Dad almost put him through our living room window he was so mad at him. Surely,
Steve had forgiven and forgotten; it happened so long ago.
I continued to listen. My imagination was running wild and my pulse raced. Then, trying to be more
realistic I thought, Steve had long forgotten me and was probably in bed snoring away, just like Ray. I
closed my eyes and took more deep breaths.
That’s when I heard another Clip…Clop! This time there was no doubt in my mind. It was those shoes
with clips-- those damn shoes! Now, I was scared! Someone with those clips on their shoes was
outside, walking up and down the sidewalk! But why? I couldn’t move, I was again frozen with terror.
Steve, it had to be Steve! But for what reason? Was he was seeking revenge? What was worse, Ray
still was snoring! I wanted to nudge him awake but I couldn’t. I was afraid that Ray would wake up---
like he often does—nervous and talking out loud. I didn’t need his loud and nervous awakenings now. I
just need to remain calm and think of what to do.
I don’t know why it took so long but I finally saw that the bathroom night-light was on and giving off a
lot of light, spilling into our bedroom. Whoever was out there could probably see our shadow forms from
the patio window. I walked to the bathroom; almost tripped, and turned off the light.
That insidious Clip Clop noise returned and then, it stopped!
I heard the outside patio door open. There was a creaking sound and then I heard footsteps. I strained
to hear that clip clop sound but I couldn’t. It sounded now like someone was tiptoeing. Then, I heard the
knob to the front door turn. I locked that door, didn’t I? I usually did but sometimes I forgot. Dear
God, I did lock the door? I was sweating bullets and Ray lay there snoring. What should I do?
Minutes later, I walked toward the living room and peaked around the corner to the kitchen. I saw the
knob on the front door turn. I held my breath. There was a heavy vase about five feet from where I
stood, close to the kitchen. I got a hold of it and waited.
Slowly, the kitchen door opened; the door was unlocked! With no light in the kitchen I couldn’t see who
it was. Someone walked in, oblivious to me standing there. He kept walking and I held the vase closer to
my body. I backed away about two feet, reaching for the hall light.
Carefully, I turned on the light. As I walked closer to the kitchen I saw a human form, Steve! Startled,
he looked at me. Dressed in black, like he used to years ago, he smiled that sinister “I got you now,
By that time, Ray woke up and came out to the hallway and said, “What the hell is going on?”
Ray was groggy—half asleep and half awake. Steve inched closer and Ray yelled, “Who are you and what
are you doing in our house?”
Steve smiled and said, “You don’t know me but your wife does, don’t you, Tonia? I see that you’ve
changed, Tonia. You’re no longer beautiful but I’m taking you with me, anyway. If you don’t give me any
trouble, Tonia, I won’t hurt your husband.”
“Get out of here! Ray yelled. You’re not doing anything with my wife, now or later! Tonia, come closer
to me!” I went to him and we held each other tight. The vase in my hand was shaking but I held it tight.
Steve stepped closer and I could feel Ray shaking. Ray was not a strong or brave man but he was my
“Babe” and he loved me no matter how I looked, scars and all and he would do his best to protect me. Of
that, I was sure…
Steve approached me and began caressing me with a black scarf. I pulled away from him and Ray let go
of me so I could hit Steve. I was the braver of the two, like it or not and besides I had the vase! I lifted
the vase as high as I could and slammed it hard on Steve’s head! This only made him angry and
vengeful. Bleeding, he grabbed me by the neck and began choking me. Ray began pounding Steve hard
with his fists. Ray hit him so hard, it scared me. Steve backed off and ran for the door. He couldn’t
leave fast enough, coward that he was. Before he left he yelled, “You haven’t seen the last of me,
Tonia. I know where you live and I’ll be back for you! You think you’ve lost your looks now, you haven’t
seen anything! You’re going to pay for the way you and your father treated me! No one treats me like
that and gets away with it! No one!”
Not if I can help it, I thought. “I’ll find out where you live, I screamed, and there won’t be a next time!
That was 20 years ago, Steve. Get a life! And Steve, I could care less about what you think of me! Ray
loves me for who I am, you stupid dirtball!” It felt good to say those words. Steve had been a jerk
from day one and he still was a jerk! Some people never change, I thought.
Ray and I called his bluff and now he was gone! He was a nightmare and I was glad that that nightmare
was out of our lives and out of our home!
Two months later I saw something in the paper that frightened and made me sad. It was an article in the
newspaper about a stalker who was so obsessed with a woman that he killed her. The policeman who
found her said that “he’d never seen anything like it in his 20 years on the force.” She was brutally
murdered, as in a frenzy. I found out that the obsessed man was Steve! He did to that poor woman
what he tried to do to me that night. Thank God for that heavy vase and my dear sweet Ray---snoring
and all! The nightmare was finally over!
|Something in the Darkness
By: Toni Star, MSA