Home Alone: a short story
I’m all set, honey,” she said. Jack studied her face intently, noticing how radiant his mother looked in the late autumn afternoon. He smiled so as to not let on any of his inner feelings to his omnipotent mother.
“I will give you a call when I get close to your fathers apartment,” she said.
“Do you need help with anything – carrying your stuff out to the car, packing it in, driving?” Jack asked, sneaking the last part in to see if there was any last-minute chance he could escape his impending fate.
Jack’s mother laughed politely and kissed him lightly on the cheek. They both said their goodbyes and Jack’s mother climbed into the driver seat of the sport-utility vehicle. with that, Jack’s mother slowly pulled out of the garage, into the driveway and eventually onto the street. He waved goodbye to her, as did she to him, and he pressed on the small garage door opener that was fixed to the wall nearest the door leading inside. The noise of the garage door was so quiet and peaceful, but came to an abrupt end as it made contact with the grey cement.
A flood of silence engulfed his ears – a silence he had only experienced on the most pitch-black of nights. But even the silence accompanying those nights was nothing compared to the silence Jack felt now as he came to the realization that there was not even a hint of sound present within the house.
He shuddered with fear and quickly shut the door, but quietly as if to avert disturbing the eerie silence the house had adopted. Directly after dead-bolting the garage door, Jack glanced at the alarm system to make sure that it was still in working condition. The magenta wavelength given off by the alarm read “Lo Bat.”
“Awesome. My mom’s gone, I’m home alone. And the damn security system is about to run out of batteries,” Jack thought to himself, again, trying not to disturb the silence.
He had a clever idea: He would set the alarm, race up to his room, lock the door and not come out until he had to go to school the next morning. So, he left his book-bag near the garage door, checked the locks on the two backdoors and shut the blinds. He silently approached the alarm system and slowly reached up to push in the “Arm” button, as if to defend himself from the evils encroaching.
Three hard, and steady raps, “KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK,” came at his front door, just at that instant. “Mom?” Jack thought. Ideas instantly flooded his head with fantasies of her whisking him away from the clutches of the empty house.
Upon reaching the door, he flung it open hoping that his mother had come to her senses before exiting the neighborhood’s entrance. His hasty welcoming was accompanied not with mothers but with the perpetual deafening silence that had befallen the soul-less house.
This lack of appearance ignited a shooting, tingling sensation that eradiated from his stomach and engulfed his entire upper body. Jack stood motionless for a few seconds while the feelings subsided. He timidly placed his right foot outside the door. And just as he was about to emerge from the silent hell, a hard, backward jerking motion was felt on his upper-left shoulder.
Jack spun around expecting someone or something to be the culprit. Instead, all that Jack’s eyes met were his own staring back at him through the mirror. His own, cold, blue eyes were just staring, imitating his every movement.
Without another thought about it, Jack raced up the stairs, ignoring the horrifying, imitating movements eradiating from the synonymous figure in the mirror. Approaching the top of the stairs, he remembered he had left the door open. Jack didn’t even think twice about it and dashed into the dark abyss that he used to call his room.
* * * * *
“Jack! I’m home!” Jack’s mother called out when she had finally opened the dead-bolted garage door. “Why did you lock the garage door again? You weren’t afraid while I was gone, were you?” she snickered to herself.
Her polite episode of laughter was cut short, however, as she emerged into the house. She immediately started towards the wide open front door. Just as she proceeded, she was tripped by Jack’s backpack.
“This is so strange of him. Usually he is so responsible with our personal items and he never leaves his backpack downstairs,” she thought to herself.
After closing the front entrance, she returned the misplaced backpack. As she was ascending the same stairs that Jack so desperately climbed just two days before, she started to notice the eerie sense of silence the house had adopted since she was away. As she caught her reflection in the mirror, she could have sworn she saw herself smiling in a devilish, mischievous manner. She quickly looked away and proceeded to quicken her pace up the staircase.
Just as she reached the top, she noticed something peculiar out of the corner of her eye: the front door was wide open. At this sight, her eyes widened and her pupils completely dilated. She could feel the tingly sensation radiating out from her stomach, just as Jack felt not too long ago. She glanced worriedly towards Jack’s room. The door was open, but looked as if there was a complete absence of light – an abyss of sorts.
Just as she was about to breach the clutches of the black-abyss, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. She dared not move for she was absolutely frozen with fear; her gaze was fixed, staring deep into the bottomless pit that was Jack’s room.
She slowly turned around, loosening her grip from the banister, and to her surprise there was nothing there. A rush of temporary relief overcame her.
But, at that moment she let hold of the banister, something unnatural was emanating from the blackened room. Again, she was frozen with fear. Except this time, she knew there was something in that room.
She slowly started to inch her way forward, but as she was doing this, she was jerked into the black hole.
Then, all at once, in sync, the wooden bedroom door and the front door thrust closed as if the very clutches of hell had taken them both.
Jack and his mother were never heard from again…
- Adam Rockacy is an IC Columnist and a junior majoring in biology.