Alone in the dark night and sleeping in a half-empty, king-sized bed, Marie lay quietly with a pillow covering her eyes to drown the surrounding noise the often echoed in the corridor of her Lower Westside apartment. The hour was beyond midnight and the alarm was set to ring at 5:45am with a minimum two pushes of snooze button delays, which Marie would utilize and eventually arise from bed at 6:05am.
Marie’s body curled to the side. The sheets were swaddled around her legs with left foot sticking out from beneath the covers—toes pointed towards the front of the bed; her right leg drawn in and up towards her chest, her right arm tucked beneath her body and her left arm was curled around the vacant pillow of a usually occupied side of the bed.
Before bedtime, city streetlights beamed in through the bedroom window, casting a bluish tint to the light blue walls. The heavy rainfall caused water to slide down the glass of the bedroom window, giving off a distorted shadow to flow like running water in the reflection of the streetlamp’s glow.
Marie had been asleep for hours. She tried to stay awake and wait for his call. Marie never liked going to bed without him. She never wanted to end a day or begin a morning without hearing his voice. She loved everything about him. She loved him completely and without question.
Jacob had been called in to work extra hours on a construction project that was already passed its deadline. As one of the lead engineers on this project; Jacob had to be their to supervise the completion of work.
Jacob worked hard to support Marie. It was their goal to leave the city life and find a piece of land—they wanted to move somewhere near absolutely nothing, in a place where there was few if any complications of life while interrupted by technology.
Often before bed, Jacob would tell Marie, “Someday,” to which Marie would always reply knowingly and comfortingly, “We’ll figure it out.”
They were in love—not because of the many years of being together. No, they were in loved because they desired one another. They were in love because they chose to be—they were in love because no one else could make them feel as sane and as crazy at the same time.
The sound of two vibrations buzzed the bed. “Buzz, buzz,” was the sound. Slowly awakening from the sound, “Buzz, buzz,” Marie opened her eyes to see the light brighten on the display screen of her cellular phone.
“Buzz, buzz,” sounded and third and fourth time. She could see a picture of Jake, which appeared whenever Jacob called her phone.
“Hello,” answered Marie in a tired raspy voice.
“Hey,” said Jacob.
“What time is it,” asked Marie
“It’s a little after 2:00,” answered Jacob in a disappointed voice.
“Does this mean you’re not coming home tonight?”
Jacob answered, “I don’t think so. We still have another shift coming to do some overnight work.”
Marie said, “I understand.”
“Get some sleep,” said Jacob.
“I love you,” said Marie
“I love you too,” Jacob responded.
The sound of thunder rumbled outside through the city buildings. Marie tucked her head beneath the pillow and closed her eyes as tightly as possible. She was afraid of not falling back to sleep. The day in front of her was supposed to be a busy one. She had a full schedule with lectures to attend, meetings, and paperwork that needed to be finished before the day’s end.
The loud rumble of thunder was hard for Marie to fight through. She refused to lift her head from the pillow. She refused to open her eyes or even move to a more comfortable position. She tried hard to put the noises out of her mind. Marie lay as still as possible; however, the thunder roared and seemed to shake the walls around her bedroom.
As the thunder growled, the rumble sounded as if it were moving closer and closer. Each time it crackled, a flash of white lightening splintered across the sky. Next, the sound of broken glass rang outside the bedroom door. Marie became frightened. She was not one to scare easily, but this time was different. She knew something had fallen in the other room. Marie heard the glass breaking across the floor somewhere outside of her bedroom.
The apartment was not big, by any means. It was a small, one bedroom, with an eat in kitchen, a small table which was perfect for two—a couch sat against the wall across from a television that hung from the ceiling, and the small bathroom was across from the bedroom door.
It was not the storm that frightened Marie. The only windows were in the bedroom. Whatever caused the glass to break in the other room had nothing to do with the storm at all. Either a glass fell for some strange reason, or there was someone in the apartment, lurking, and moving closer to the bedroom door.
Marie could hear footsteps. She heard the sound of slow moving steps moving towards the door. Her concern grew when she heard the jiggle at the doorknob. Yet still, Marie refused to move from her position. Perhaps she thought if she were to remain still, Marie would remain unharmed. However, if the intruder was to notice that Marie slept naked, it was clear that Marie would have to avoid this man at all costs, and if this were not possible, she would have to confront him and fight for her life.
Slowly, the bedroom door began to open. Marie felt a chill of terror run through her body. She wanted to move but Marie was paralyzed with fear. Again, the thunder crackled and a flash of lightening pierced the sky. The door flew open and Marie jumped from the bed. Her pale skin, blue from the outside light, that pushed through the window, her eyes opened wide in shock, and no matter how she fought, Marie knew she was defenseless.
The man in her room was dressed in all black with an oddly deranged and haunting clown mask that wore over the intruder’s face like a stocking. Lifting the cold shiny steel of large kitchen knife, the man walked towards her. Marie screamed. She screamed the sort of terrible scream that comes when fear is an understatement and terror does not reach halfway toward andaccurate definition of panic or dread
“No!” she screamed in a high-pitched squeal, only to wake herself from a quick dose, which she fell into during a lecture that began her first morning meeting.
“Rough night,” asked one of Marie’s co-workers.
“I didn’t sleep much,” answered Marie.
“Is that way you have that cut mark in your neck,” asked the co-worker
“Jacob and I played a game we call intruder last night.”
“Which was fine,” explained Marie. “I just wish he didn’t wear that clown mask.”
“I fuckin hate clowns!” said Marie.
“They scare the shit out of me.”
“Then why do it,” asked her co-worker.
“Because that’s the point,” said Marie.
She explained, “That’s the trick to marriage.”
“You always have to keep it interesting.”