I walked to my car at the parking lot oblivious of the lightning that flashed across the sky, the rain threatening to fall, people running helter-skelter for shield and cover, the swaying of the trees, and the chirping of the birds over them. My day at work had ended up being terrible. As usual, my boss kept on nagging about my errors as if a perfect man existed. It was not his fault anyway, my father had insisted that I worked under someone else before I become the managing director of his company. I was the third child out of four and the only son, though my siblings have been massacred by an unknown murderer — they were seen lying in their own pool of blood with a note that I would be next on a rainy day. The autopsy revealed they were stabbed in multiple places- their chests, stomachs, hands, and legs.
As I looked around, I discovered that it was already raining. Images of my siblings’ corpses flashed across my mind and clouded my vision as my lips quivered in fear and sorrow. I was the first to see the corpse because my parents had travelled for a short vacation. I remembered calling out for help, sadly, our neighbors ran in and claimed that they did not hear my screaming voice. I said a brief prayer before I ignited the car. I had to put off my eyeglasses while I was driving because my eyes were itching me. But before I could put the glasses on, I heard a loud wail of a woman, “The car has hit my son.” I was so scared that I had to park the car and get down, only to realize that the sound was coming from the public television across the street. I entered my car back after heaving a sigh of relief and drove slowly home.
On my way home, the itching became worse, so I had to use my eye drop in the car, after which I carefully put my eyeglasses in its beautiful case. Shortly, my phone rang as I got down from the car. It was my mum calling me to stay safe because of the note the killer had left. I could hear my dad’s shaky voice in the background calming her down that all would be well. Luckily, I live at the outskirt of the town where the killer would not easily find me, and there were CCTV cameras installed in all nooks and crannies of the area. If only my dad knew that outskirts of the city are very prone for evils to be perpetrated because there would be no one to rush in for assistance, he would have been more than terrified. Even if they could see the killer through CCTV cameras, I might have been killed before anyone could help.
My house was surrounded by trees and a narrow pathway led to the entrance of my apartment. The only reason I had agreed to live there was to avoid the killer easily locating me. I lived alone so I did not have to worry about anyone giving out my residential address to the public. I usually input my parents’ address as my address at my place of work, so much that my best friend was out of clue about where I reside. My best friend had also called me stating how much he loved me and wouldn’t hesitate to help me out if need be. He had been the only who could comfort me after the demise of my siblings. He was always available whenever I needed his assistance financially, morally, emotionally, and in all other spheres of life one could think of. He was a true friend indeed, sticking closer than a brother. His smiles, utterances, and characters kept me going even when I thought it was all over.
When I got to the entrance, I brought out my house key and wanted to open the door but to my utmost surprise, the door was not locked. “What could possibly have happened before I came back home? Who could have opened the door? My parents did not even have the key. How could the person have opened the door?” These were the various questions that flooded my mind. I felt like I was walking down a dark and scary alley without knowing what was waiting for me. I instantly remembered the note that the killer had left after he murdered my siblings. “Had he found me? Why was he after my life? Who offended him? Was he sent? Who could have sent him? What exactly does he want?” These were the questions that clouded my thoughts.
I dialed my best friend’s number but he was not picking up. I called my parents but their numbers were not reachable. I was perturbed and confused; I did not know what to do. “Should I go inside the house and face the reality? Should I enter my car and drive off? Where would I go to? What was the assurance that he would not trail me if he was inside my house at the moment? Would it be wise to call the police considering the fact that I didn’t have a legal proof? Would I hide forever? Would I continue to live as a shadow of myself? Would I continue to mask my face everywhere I go? When would I be free from all the troubles? What if I allowed him to kill me and end all the worries once and for all? What is the purpose of being alive when living is like a death sentence?” I felt like I was being beaten randomly and brutally without knowing when the final beating would occur. I reasoned within me as I weighed the consequences of my actions and inactions.
I braced up and entered the house prepared for the worst that could happen. I glanced around as I opened the door, but everything seemed normal, the sofas were in the exact position I left them in the morning, the television set was also intact; in fact everything was still in their right positions. I proceeded to the dining room and everything was also well arranged. I was about to leave the dining room when I noticed a blood-stained knife on the dining table. At that instant, my phone rang; it was an unknown caller. I wondered who it could be. Could it be the killer? How did he get my number? Who could have given him my number? Where could he have gotten my number from? I picked the call after my phone rang the third time with my shaky right hand anticipating the voice of the killer but to my amazement, it turned out to be my best friend who called me with his second number because his primary line had issues.
Immediately I told him about the blood-stained knife, I heard a loud noise from my bedroom which made me drop my phone in fright and I began to shiver at a spot. I was thrown into a state of discombobulation. I thought of hiding but there was nowhere to hide in the dining room. Yet, I couldn’t stay in the dining room without hiding because he would easily spot me there. I had to quickly make up my mind to go and pick up a knife in the kitchen so I could protect myself by threatening or stabbing him. I had moved a little distance before a loud sound from the kitchen made me stop abruptly. What was that? Was he already in my kitchen? What did he want? What was he looking for? What should I do? He would surely come for his knife if he didn’t find me. I felt like a person who was tied to a seat with a timed bomb in a room with an open door or a person who was swimming in an ocean without land in sight.
I examined the blood-stained knife carefully. How come there was blood on the knife? Had he murdered someone else before coming into my house? Who did he kill? Why did he kill them? How many people did he kill? One person? Two people? Three people? Four people? Innumerable people? Was he on a revenge mission? Why did he leave his blood-stained knife on the table? Was it a trap or a warning? Was he armed with a gun? How would he kill me? Would it be by shooting me with his gun or by stabbing me with the knife? Was there any other way he could kill me? What if he set the house on fire? How would I escape? Where would I run to? The shattering of glass brought me back to reality. “Were those my glass cups or the windows?” I wondered.
Suddenly, there was shortage of power supply and everything became uncomfortably quiet. Fear clouded my senses like the morning clouds the shores. I felt like a deer that was caught in the headlights and blinded by death’s suddenly invisible approach. What could have caused the power shortage? Was he tampering with my appliances? Was that another way of killing me? Had he set a time bomb so I would not escape since it is dark? Could he have been monitoring my movements since I came in? Did he hear my voice while I was talking to my best friend on the phone? What was he doing when I came in? How long had he been in my house? Had he been waiting for me to return from work? Had he been hiding in the bushes around? Since when has he been coming in and out of my house? I was as scared as a jackrabbit terrified by the sound of the howl of a giant wolf.
Who could the killer be? Could he be one of my father’s friends, jealous of his financial status? Which of them could it be? Or was it his nephew who was accused of armed robbery a few years ago? No, he couldn’t be the one since he was still locked up in the prison. Could he be the driver my father sacked out of annoyance who promised to take vengeance on him? I don’t think so, it must have been an empty threat because he didn’t look like someone who could hurt a fly; he was as gentle as a dove. Could he be my father’s business partner trying to divert my father’s attention from the company so as not to notice his mismanagement of funds or could he be trying to selfishly gain all the company’s wealth for himself by eliminating us all from the face of the earth?
My ears twitched as I heard the front door being opened and closed. Had he left my house? Was I free now? I wanted to leave the dining room but I froze the instant I heard voices and footsteps. Did he have an accomplice? Could it be his accomplice that came inside when the door was opened and closed? How did he invite his accomplice? I didn’t hear any sound of a phone call. What would I do now? Had his accomplice brought extra weapons for them to kill me? How many people were they altogether? What if they were more than two? What if an ambush had been set outside for me? What if they were teams divided into strategic locations? What would I do if they found me? How would I protect myself? The power was restored and the first thing I saw was the blood-stained knife.
I could hear the voices and footsteps approaching the dining room. My instincts immediately told me to pick the blood-stained knife as a way of protecting myself. As I was about to pick the knife, the dining door opened. My fright turned into shock and my eyes widened when I discovered that it was my parents. Were my parents the killer? How could they have killed my siblings when they were the ones that gave birth to us? What was happening? My mother walked closer to where I slouched on the floor with my hands wrapped around myself and my shoulders hunched. She bent down to my level and put her hands around my shoulders with her eyes full of care, compassion, and confusion. My father, on the other hand, picked my phone from the floor where it was only to meet numerous missed calls from my best friend on my phone.
My best friend called again, so my dad picked the call and asked me where the blood-stained knife was, afterwards. My mum stood up in fright at the mention of ‘blood-stained knife’. She looked like someone who had just seen a ghost while my dad was trying his best to put on a bold expression, but I could tell he was trying his best not to show how scared he was. I looked at them with mixed expression as I pointed at the table. My parents looked in the direction, but they claimed not to have seen anything. They told me they had watched me from the CCTV footage when I threw my phone away and they were worried uncontrollably about me, so they had to rush over. I looked at the blood-stained knife on the dining table after they explained the reason behind their coming but it started fading till it eventually disappeared. “What was the sound I heard in my bedroom?” I wondered as I ran to my bedroom to check the source of the sound but to my utmost surprise, my bedroom was well arranged. I ran to the kitchen and met it intact. It was then it dawned on me that I had been hallucinating and the blood-stained knife, as well as the sounds I had been hearing, was just a mirage.