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Don't Let the Lights go Out[]

I laid in my bed letting my thoughts drift as I watched the snow fall from my window as it came from the darkened sky. Suddenly I heard a loud knock “Come in!” I shouted as I continued to stare out the window. “I gotta go out for a bit, would you mind watching your sister?” My dad said as he walked over to my bed, looking at me. “Sure, I don’t mind,” I said with a faint smile. Dad looked at me and smiled back “Thanks, I appreciate it, dinners on the stove if you two get hungry” he said as he turned around to walk away. I continued to stare out the window, staring out at what would be a pitch-black void if not for the snow. “Be safe…I don’t want to lose you too.” I said with a sigh. Dad’s eyes widened and his smile turned into a sorrowful frown. He looked away and mumbled “Yeah- I will be…” as he walked away, causing the wooden floor and stairs to creek. I stared into the blank walls of the hallway for a few seconds until I angrily threw myself back into my bed “Dammit!” I muttered as I slammed my fist into my covers “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that…” I said with a loud sigh.

I laid down staring into my ceiling wondering how I could’ve handled that interaction differently. As I laid there with my thoughts swirling, something suddenly interrupted them, the bright light that filled my room was suddenly filled with a void of almost complete darkness, only being lit up by the moon. I was startled by it but thought rationally “Guess the light went out.” I thought to myself as I got up. I walked over to the tall lamp that usually illuminated my room and grabbed the lightbulb out of it. I remembered that my dad usually kept lightbulbs in a cabinet under the kitchen sink so I figured I should go look for one.

I stepped out into the hallway and immediately noticed something “That’s odd…” I thought to myself as I stared at the light that brightened the hallway. It was turned off, which I found odd especially at this time of day, since, well, my sister Maya is scared to death of the dark. I stared up in confusion “Maybe Dad forgot to turn it on?” I thought, but that didn’t make any sense, he’d never forget to turn it on. I shook my head “I guess he really did forget…” I said with a sigh “Way to mess up Clara” I mumbled as I flicked the switch back on. I started up expecting the room to instantly be filled with light again. Instead, what happened when I looked up was a flicker, like the light was fighting to not be turned on in an ongoing struggle, eventually it gave in, and the room was filled with bright light.

I stared up still confused, it felt like something out of a weird ghost story that you would just laugh off as not real. But I tried to think “Maybe I should ask Dad about the power tomorrow-” I figured since he'd probably be tired when he got home. A sound interrupted me from my thoughts, a loud, echoing creek that could be heard throughout the house… “Clara…I’m hungry.” I heard Maya say from behind me. I sighed and let out a chuckle “You scared me!” I said with a smile “Oh…sorry” she said timidly. I suddenly remembered what she said “Oh, Dad said foods on the stove, c'mon and I’ll heat some up for you.” I said as I grabbed her hand. She said nothing as we walked down the creaky hallway and the equally creaky stairs, the smell of something delicious filling our noses as we descended.

When we got to the dining room Maya quickly took a seat at the table as I walked over to the stove. Excitement filled my mind when I thought of what Dad made tonight, as I always enjoyed his cooking, but when I reached the stove, my excitement quickly faded. I stared blankly at the stove, unmoving, just like a statue “What’s wrong?” Maya asked in a soft voice. I looked down at the stove as tears started to stream down my face “Chicken and waffles…” “Mom’s favorite…” I muttered to myself. It was a night like tonight when we lost her, snowy, dark, dim, and quiet. Dad made these for her every Saturday, and sure enough, when I checked the calendar above the stove it read exactly that, Saturday.

I whipped the tears away from my eyes, Maya’s food wasn’t going to be heated itself after all. With a heavy sigh, I started to put her food onto a plate, and I walked over to the microwave. I inserted the plate into the microwave, and I watched as it spun around… eventually I noticed something and with a sigh, I said “Dad’s really got to get this stuff checked out” as at this point even the microwave light wasn’t turning on. Eventually, the microwave beeped so I took the food out. I whipped around and with a smile and my eyes closed, said “It’s done!” ...but there was no reply. I opened my eyes to realize Maya was no longer sitting at the table. “Maya!?” I yelled…yet again, there was no reply “MAYA!?” I hollered as loud as I could “In here!” Came a shout that lacked power. It came from the living room, so I walked over there, food in hand.

“Why’d you leave the kitchen?” I asked with a slightly annoyed tone in my voice. “I decided I wanted to watch TV…” she said as she furiously pressed the on button. I sighed as I laid her plate beside her “Well- you could at least tell me where you’re going” I said with another sigh. I stared at her for a while as I wondered “Why am I being so paranoid…” “All she did was go from one room to the next-” my thoughts mumbled as I continued to stare at her. As my eyes laid on her, I noticed something about the remote she was holding, I chuckled. “You’re using the wrong remote silly,” I said with a smile. Our TV is a bit weird as you use one remote to turn it on and another to switch the channels.

I walked over to the TV where the other remote was resting but as I made my way over, a peculiar detail caught my eye… ”What the hell-” I thought to myself as I stared into an abyss. I waved my hand in front of the TV, but no reflection came from it. My eyes stared deep into the darkness and noticed nothing could be seen, there was no Maya, no chairs, no couches, no… anything. I swiftly grabbed the remote and tried to turn the TV on… nothing, it didn’t work. I took the cover off the back that would usually hide batteries and sure enough they were there. “Seems like the TV isn’t working right now-” I said weakly. “Oh- ok…I guess I’ll eat in my room then” Maya said, a bit saddened.

Maya walked up the stairs, each step creaking louder and louder before eventually she walked into her room signaled by another loud creak. I was still in the same spot I was before she got off the couch, staring blankly into the TV. I kept trying to make something… anything, happen, but the TV remained a dark void no matter what I did. I looked around the living room as my breathing grew slightly heavier. As soon as my eyes locked onto the lamp that stood behind the couch it instantly started flickering. My muscles tensed up and I stood there unable to move as I watched.

I stared and stared and eventually the lightbulb fully illuminated again, I let out a sigh of relief. I tried to laugh off what had just happened “Pull yourself together Clara, maybe you’re going crazy.” I said with a chuckle, but the sound of laughter and chuckles was soon after replaced with a new sound. An echoing shatter filled the room, and with it came enshrouding darkness. I bolted from the living room back into the dining room, my breathing once again becoming heavy. I looked up at the ceiling fan…all normal, but I wasn’t about to stick around and find out. I rushed over to the sink and flung the cabinet open.

I stared in horror at a pile of broken glass within a box, I knew that pile to usually be a big box of light bulbs. But there they laid, shattered and destroyed. I stared at them, my eyes shaking. I reached out for them hoping that when I touched the shard it’d magically put itself back together. As I reached my hand out further and further, I started to clench it together, as to pick up some shards… but as most things went tonight something interrupted me.

A loud thud rang through the upstairs into the downstairs. I stared down at the glass, as I noticed a bleeding cut on my middle finger. “What am I doing…” I mumbled, I picked myself up off the floor and took a deep breath. I stared up at the ceiling, “Maya?” I yelled…no reply “MAYA!?” I hollered even louder…no reply. My breathing picked up again, what was that thud? Is Maya ok!? My mind raced, but I reminded myself of something as I took a deep breath. “You’re just being paranoid,” I said to myself as I steadied my breath. “I should probably still check on her.”

As I walked over to the stairs the fear of the lights bursting filled my mind, but as I trudged onward no such thing happened. “Maybe I had imagined it…” I thought to myself with a hopeful smile, but a quick glance at the living room devoid of anything was enough to remind me that wasn’t the case. I walked up the creaky stairs, taking note that the hallway light was still on.

I reached the top of the steps, my last footstep leaving an echoing creak. I turned my head to face Maya’s door but something else caught my attention. My lamp light was back on, no longer flickering, and was as bright as ever. I walked in slowly, expecting it to start flickering again. As I crept in, I glanced over at my window “Weren’t my curtains open?” I said curiously, but with all that had happened tonight, I couldn’t quite remember. I walked over to my lamp expecting it to shut off, or burst, or to do anything besides stay on really. Despite my doubts it stayed on, I yanked the cord expecting it to give out, but it remained bright.

I let out a sigh of relief, thinking to myself maybe everything that happened tonight would finally be over. A thought dawned on me, “Right! I need to check on Maya!” I exclaimed. I went out into the hallway and turned to face her door… before I could walk any closer to it, I was already frozen. Her door was closed, and the little crack beneath it revealed that no light came from within it. But…why would she do that- Maya hates the dark…so why would she? I stumbled over to the door slowly and placed my hand on the knob. My eyes widened I slowly opened it.

The room was pitch black, only the slight bit of floor in front of me being illuminated by the light within the hallway. “Maya?” I called out… but there was no reply. Something all too familiar to this night had begun to happen, a flickering of a light filled the room. The light never fully filled the room… but it was enough. With the tiny light the flicker provided, I could see Maya on her bed, mutilated, she was missing her right hand, and with the little light provided it looked as if parts of her skin and hair were missing as well.

I opened my mouth to scream, but only silence came out of it. I fell to the floor, my body becoming a statue as my entire body was unable to move. With only my eyes being able to move I watched as the flickering light turned to nothing, my eyes darted to my bedroom. The light in there was off again, I looked down and I could still see the floor. My vision didn’t last long though, before I knew it the light in the hallway began to flicker and fade away.

The darkness had consumed me, the deepest fear I have ever known struck my heart. I sat there motionless waiting for something to happen. I took a deep breath, but as I was about to spring up with a newfound courage in my soul, I felt something sharp dig into my shoulders locking me into place. The sharp, knife-like appendage started to pull back towards whatever ungodly being they belonged to. I began to close my eyes as all I could do was accept what was about to happen to me. But before I could I heard a sound. The sound of a door opening and a loud yell “Girls! I’m home!” ...I wanted to scream, cry out, and yell out and tell him to run, but it was already too late, the darkness had claimed me.

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