The Intruders

by Aylya Mayze
© 2021 Wittily Writ Publishing

Betsy huddled in the corner of her bed.  Her back pressed against the cold, stone wall.  She wrapped the blanket around her, breathing deeply of its gentle, lavender scent.  This is my home, she reminded herself.  This was the home in which she had been born, the place where she grew up.  It was the home to which she returned after her husband died, the place where she tended her aging mother after Daddy had his stroke.  Since her mother’s peaceful death, four years ago, she had lived here alone.  She knew every crack and crevice of this place, but lately it seemed to be changing around her.

She had noticed the smell of peppers a week ago – or perhaps it was onions.  It had been so powerful it stung her eyes and drove her from her dining room.  Then there was the reek of rotting meat in the kitchen two days later.  A pungent fecal smell now dominated the small, unused bedroom opposite hers. Strange wails and mournful cries, erupted from there sporadically, day and night.  She had noticed furniture moved and her great grandmother’s sewing table had gone missing altogether.  Somehow the toilet seat kept lifting in the bathroom and towels were left strewn around the floor. Just in the last two days she had started hearing strange noises – bangs and thumps and snatches of conversations between unseen people.  Then there were the inexplicable hot, humid patches she’d pass through as she walked down the halls.  They made her flesh tingle in a sickening way.  During the day she could find adequate explanations for it all, but night stripped away her calm and left her quivering in terror.

A sense of movement just beyond the still, lace curtains of her window drew her attention.  She stared out at the blackness, searching for the familiar shape of the old maple.  Where was it?  It was dark outside, she told herself.  The night had never seemed darker or longer to her than it did right now.  There was no moon and she could not find a single star.  The air felt heavy and still.  Where were the crickets and frogs?  She strained her ears but could not even find the screech of an owl.

Suddenly a bright light flashed through the window with a growl close behind.  She blinked and the light was gone but the growl continued, growing softer, as if a giant beast were heading down the road.

“It’s going away,” she comforted her pounding heart.  If only she could trust that it would never return!

She startled as a door banged in one of the empty rooms down the hall.  With a stifled cry she cringed deeper in her sheets.  Just the wind, she told herself…but it couldn’t be.  She distinctly remembered shutting all the windows, closing all the doors, locking every entrance through which any stranger might enter.  She was careful – always careful.  She had learned the hard way how vulnerable a woman living alone in the country could be.  Her mind shied away from the terrible memories.  That was then.  This is now.

She strained her ears and thought she heard a creak on the steps.  It might be an animal, she thought.  She had seen one lately, a small, black cat.  She had no idea where it had come from or why it stayed.  She never gave it food.  It wasn’t that she didn’t like cats.  Quite the contrary!  She had tried to make friends with the little thing but it shied away whenever it saw her.  It hissed at her and spat and would not let her near it – yet neither would it leave.

She should check.  Really she should, but her trembling limbs refused to move.  Outside of her bed was cold.  Danger lurked outside.  She remembered an attack, an arm from nowhere pulling her down, the cold, ripping pain of steel slicing her body, the sickly disorientation before everything went black…This time she would stay, safe in her bed, and pray to God that whatever was beyond her door would leave her alone!


“I think I found her!” Marty exclaimed, smiling at his wife, triumphantly.

Andrea glowered at him as their sleeping baby stirred in her arms.

“Shh, little one,” she cooed, rocking her son against her breast.  “Go to sleep darling,” then, in the same sing-song voice she added, “Who did you find, Marty?”

“I found our ghost,” he whispered, pointing to the glowing computer screen.  “Betsy Littleton, a seventy-three-year-old woman living alone in this house was murdered by an intruder about fifteen years ago.  That’s probably why we find all the doors and windows locked every night.”

“That’s silly,” Andrea said.  “You know I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“What about the cold patches?” Marty demanded.  “What about the way Cola Kitty gets skittish all of a sudden and she’ll never go into that room across from the nursery?”

Andrea shrugged as she rocked her baby.

“Dark, lonely nights,” she said.  “It can make us all a little nervous.”

The End

2 Replies to “The Intruders”

Leave a Reply