Opening my eyes, I noticed it was still dark. I rolled over in my bed and looked at my alarm clock on the nightstand. I was bewildered when I read 7:13 a.m. in its illuminated digital green numbers.
I swiftly tossed the blanket to the side as I stood out of bed and walked over to the window. Surely enough, the moon was still up. Something was just not right. Maybe my clock was wrong? To prove myself right, I looked at the clock on my cellphone. However, it, too, displayed 7:13 a.m.
My head spun with confusion, and I sat back down on the bed. Could it be something with the weather? No, no. There had to be some kind of explanation.
Suddenly, a bright, flickering light invaded my bedroom. It looked like a lamp had been turned on, but this light was coming from outside. I sprang up to investigate, and what I saw startled me. Down my street, another house was on fire! I quickly shoved my arms through the sleeves of my robe as I exited my home.
I ran down the street, dialing 9-1-1 on my phone, but I had no signal. I began calling for help, but nobody seemed to hear me. The flames were growing larger, and the scorching scent fumigated the air. Before I knew it, the fire had spread to the trees on the front lawn, and I began screaming. Once again, I was not heard. I began pounding on neighbors’ doors in a panic, but not one single resident answered.
Then I turned around…
The same house that had been burning, was now calm and there was no sign of a fire. None. The street was as dark as my bedroom, despite the streetlights and the moonlight. What the hell? I was in no way satisfied, so I walked over to the house, eager for some answers.
As I approached the driveway, my heart raced within my chest. The door looked so far away. I felt like I had walked a mile before I finally reached the porch steps. Once I was finally reaching for the doorknob, the door swung open, echoing a whoosh! What I saw next sent a chill throughout my entire body, and my stomach sank to my feet.
An old man stood in the doorway, but he looked like something straight from a horror film. His mouth was open wide, as if his jaw had been rotting at the joints, and drool steadily leaked from his blue lips. His solid white eyes had neither irises nor pupils. They were two huge pools of nothingness beneath drooped eyelids. His clothes were torn, and his voice was a long, monotonous moan. I stood, frozen with fear. That was until the ghostly, zombie-like old man reached a pale hand out toward me. His yellowed fingernails almost grazed my shoulder before I turned around to run, almost stumbling down the steps.
I was unsure as to where exactly I was going. All I knew was that I had to get away from whatever had been waiting for me behind that door. My heart was pounding so fast, I was afraid it would soon burst through my ribcage.
I kept running until I reached the church across the street from the grocery store. A huge sign before the building read Davenport Church of God. Seeking safety, I ran into the church and buried myself under a pew. I had remained there for at least five minutes just to be sure that the old man had not followed me.
Once I declared that it was safe, I emerged from my hiding spot and tiptoed around the sanctuary. I made my way to the back door, planning to make sure I had not been followed. However, I became distracted by the faint light of a beginning dawn. The pitch-black sky was now a dark blue, fading into a blooming pink. Curious, I stepped out the back door.
The backyard of this church was apparently a cemetery. I told myself that I wasn’t going to put too much thought into the idea of walking through a graveyard after such a horrific night. Therefore, I put forth my best efforts to ignore the headstones.
However, I couldn’t help but notice the one grave that stood out in contrast of all the others. This one particular headstone made me fall to my knees and lose what little bit of a mind I had left. “Phillip John Bennett, 1993-2020” was engraved on the concrete plaque at the head of the grave. My name. The world began to spin, and try as I might, I could not catch my breath. No! This was impossible! Entirely impos-
Then, there he was.
The ghostly old man stood before me, pointing his finger at the grave. Was he telling me I was dead? Had he been coming to take me? Maddened, I clutched two handfuls of my own hair, sobbing and mumbling into the ground. The humming of the old man’s moans pushed me farther into insanity until I finally shouted, “Leave me alone!”.
It was silent. The moaning was gone. The old man was gone. I straightened up, still on my knees, and I glanced around, looking for the old man, but he was nowhere to be found. Daylight had spread a little further than before, and I forced myself to return my eyes to the haunting headstone. But this time, my name was no longer written on the headstone. My name and my alleged lifespan had been replaced by “George Hugh Powell, 1956-2020”. I arose to my feet, slowly backing away from the scene, neglecting to look over my shoulder. Shaking my head, I backed up a few more steps until I stumbled over a headstone behind me. I expected to land flat on my back, but I kept falling… and falling…
I sprang up into a sit, and sweat poured from my forehead, soaking my hair. I was in my bed. Daylight shone from the window beside my bed. I was alive! As I turned sideways, I looked at the alarm clock on my nightstand, which read 7:13 a.m. My heart skipped a beat.
Refusing to let a nightmare get the best of me, I arose out of bed and stepped to the window. To my surprise, there was a commotion down the street. Police cars lined the curbs of the road, and yellow tape was spread across two trees in front of one of the houses. Desperate to learn more, I walked outside. My neighbor Seth Williams was standing on the lawn beside my own, smoking a cigarette.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Apparently, Mr. Powell down the road died last night,” he said, blowing smoke through his nostrils. My jaw dropped as flashbacks of the ghostly man filled my memory.
“Who did you say?”
“Mr. Powell. You know, George Powell.”