The thunder that night was incredibly loud.
I was in my house that night, reading "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" as rain trickled against the window. I'd bought my copy of it from a yard sale about a month ago, but hadn't had time to read it for a while. (And yes, I know I could've read it from the Internet, since it is public domain, but I just felt like getting a physical copy of the book would be a good idea. Especially when travelling.)
My job was very stressful, and between it and my busy social life (because I had a lot of friends), I didn't have much free time. I had already gotten about halfway through, and was now reading from part two, chapter 6.
I was still immersing myself within the book's pages when I heard a knocking at the door. It was six slow, repetitive knocks. At first, I thought it was one of my friends seeking shelter from the storm. But I soon remembered that all of my friends were still at home, and they would've given me a call first if they were going to show up at my house. Plus, they always used the doorbell.
Still, I decided to see who it was. Once I got to the door, I looked out the peephole to try to get a glance at them. It was a tall, slender figure in a long black cloak. I couldn't see the face that was hiding under the hood, but I noticed something strange about them. All of the rain that fell from the sky seemed to avoid this person. Their cloak was totally dry, and I didn't have a porch roof, nor they an umbrella.
After debating it a moment more, I finally opened my door to ask them why they had showed up. The only problem was...they were gone. Vanished in an instant. I rubbed my eyes, but they were still gone. I stood there for a little bit, waiting to see if they showed up. But they were gone, whoever they were. After finally getting over my shock, I shrugged it off as a prank, or possibly someone going to the wrong address. So I walked back to my chair and began reading again.
Once again, I was engrossed in the world of these people, putting myself in the position of the good doctor, Pierre Arronax...until six more knocks sounded from my door. Once again, they were slow and repetitive. And once again, I was forced to pry myself from Fantasy Land to go answer it.
I peered out the peephole. Once again, it was that person. Cloaked in black, with no visible facial features. As soon as I saw them, I flung open my door to confront them. And once again, they were gone. Now I was beginning to feel a bit anxious and pissed at the same time. Anxious over wondering why this person kept knocking at my door, and how they were able to disappear so quickly, yet pissed over the fact that they kept forcing me to answer my door, then leaving the very instant I opened it.
Grumpily, I trudged back to my chair and began reading my book again. It was harder to get into it this time, considering that my mind kept distracting me and trying to get me to think about that person. The lanky one in the dry, black cloak. But I wouldn't listen to it. I could still read my book, alright.
"What's more, Ned," I said, "Captain Nemo himself did the honors in his tunnel, and I stood beside him in the pilothouse while he steered the Nautilus through that narrow passageway."
"You hear, Ned?" Conseil said.
"And you, Ned, who have such good reflexes," I added, "you can catch the mysterious, hooded figure before it disappears once again..."
Again, I rubbed my eyes, then thwacked my head a couple of times. "Calm down." I said to myself. "You're just getting distracted. You can still do this, no problem. Just stop thinking about that person." Then I fixated my eyes on my inky sheets of paper once again.
The Canadian looked carefully. "Correct," he said. "You're right, Professor, and your captain's a superman. We're in the Mediterranean. Fine. So now let's have a chat about our little doings, if you please, but in such a way that the hooded person doesn't overhear."
I felt like screaming. I couldn't get my mind off of this person. In a fit of blind rage, I threw the book against the living room wall. As it dropped cover-side-up to the floor, a small scrap of yellowed, ancient-looking paper floated out from between the pages. I was a little surprised. But not horribly so, considering I had gotten the book from a yard sale.
The scrap appeared blank at first glance, until I turned it around. On the other side of it, there was writing.
Das Klopfen ist laut
Meine Angst ist groß
Ich kann ihn hören
Tod an der Tür
"German," I thought to myself. Being a bit of a geek, I could tell that this scrap was written in German. Unfortunately, I had only taken a little bit of German in high school, so all I knew were "hallo" and "auf wiedersehen". However, I was curious to see what was written on the scrap. So I pulled up Google Translate on my phone and copied the text from the note. What I got was...
The knock is loud
My fear is great
I can hear him
Death at the door
For a moment, I didn't know what it meant.
Then, the knocking resumed. Louder this time.
A chill went up my spine, and my blood ran cold. That figure in the hood...could that really be Death himself? "No way," I told myself. "The Grim Reaper is an urban legend. There's no such thing as--!" And that's when I heard the sound of my front door slamming against the wall.
At that exact moment, the power to my house suddenly went out. The storm was getting more intense by the minute. Scared out of my living wits, I did my best not to scream. If this person (or thing, whatever it could've been) heard me, then I probably wasn't going to live to scream tomorrow.
Instead, I searched feverishly for a hiding spot. Looking at the giant sofa propped up near the giant window on my east wall, I quickly scrambled and leapt behind it. I lied down, making sure not to so much as let a stray breath escape my lips. And it was at that moment that I heard slow footsteps. The figure was now walking slowly towards me. I did my best to remain silent as the footsteps got closer.
The footsteps had stopped. Carefully, I peeked out the side of the sofa. I saw the figure's skull-like face, with its soulless blackhole-like eyes, staring at me. I let out a shriek of terror. And it was at that exact moment that, from out of nowhere, a lightning bolt crashed through my window and zapped me in the head. After the extreme pain of it subsided, I felt woozy.
The last thing I saw that night was that figure...Death...holding a long, sharp scythe in the air above me.
My world finally turned into darkness.
And only then did I realize something. Something I should have realized the moment I saw it, a fact that could've saved me if I'd just noticed it in time...
Something to do with that book...and that note. Actually, I don't really know anymore.
My head feels fuzzy.
Written by Postuhenin