The power flashed back, chasing away the darkness and the shadows.
It had been an engulfing kind of darkness. The kind that is averse and merciless in gulping down even the tiniest speck light it encounters.
There was a slim shade of glow from the neon name light of the restaurant that was right across the street. The dim light sent overcasting shadows on their walls bordered with silhouettes of the two fifteen year old girls, who were ago just a few minutes ago in the middle of a slumber party, completely unaware of the cold blooded inhumane act that they were about to witness.
That was when the terrifying intruder crawled into the room.
He imposed the stereotyped reaction a Psychopathic Serial Killer would be normally expected to create. Just as normal as any act of terrorising can be.
The darkness was maiming their defence. Two helpless teens and one blood curdling intruder.
That was when the power had flashed on, letting the girls see him in light.
‘Gia, look out!’ Akira (fifteen, sharp eyed, no smile, short cropped hair) screamed at her bestie who was about to run onto him.
Gia (fifteen, dreamy eyed, slapdash smile, long wavy hair) shrieked as she spotted what her friend was pointing at. It was a close call. Her heart started pounding. Not being able to find her voice again, she shrunk into the safe zone of her best friends’ shoulder.
‘Call Somebody!’ Gia whispered in a shrill frightened pitch.
‘I can’t find my voice.’ Akira echoed in fear.
Gia was always the gutsy one. The bold girl who stood up to everything and talked back to teachers. She was the shy introvert. She tried finding her voice, but she couldn’t. It was too dark and she was afraid of the dark.
Besides that, even if she were to find her voice, they wouldn’t find help. They were alone as the family had left and was not expected to return in at least an hour. It was just them and the intruder. The vulnerability of the situation sunk into her only then.
She made a quick look at him. He was stationary, standing still and observing the helpless victims as much as his senses allowed him to.
He could smell their movements, feel their fear and listen to their agony.
The two trembling girls withdrew from him as much as possible so as to escape his sight.
He was trained in shocking fourteen year old girls (sometimes even older ones) and was aware of the fear he imposed on them. It was all to work out in his favour. To make it easier and faster. After all, his life depended on how much fear he could impose on them. Even one act of courage could kill him or maim him. He did not want that.
‘Gia, please do something.’ Akira begged.
Gia, however, couldn’t find her courage. She felt weak, helpless and ashamed. She had been the one who always boasted that nothing in the world was too scary for her to handle. Arrogant boys, nosy neighbours, prejudiced teachers, eve teasers, insolent classmates. She had handled them all. Without fear.
But under the presence of this one male, she felt her knees tremble and dishonourably scared. He was beyond the limits of her bravery.
‘Grab something defensive’ Gia ordered Akira in a low hushed voice. ‘We’re alone, and we can’t stand empty handed like this.’
With the slightest of motion, Akira grabbed a curling iron and Gia seized a remote control.
‘Now, we move in small baby steps so that he does not sense our feet moving. Okay?’ She instructed Akira.
They made small soft steps towards the door until they were behind him. The intruder sensed the disturbing motion and he twitched. The girls froze mid step. The intruder stood still again.
After an eternity of stillness, the girls heard the honking of a car and the gates screeching open. Akira’s parents and brother were home.
Thudding up the stairs in loud steps, Ranbir (age three, bright blue eyes, huge grin and dark messy hair) slammed the door open.
‘Akira, guess what Uncle Charan gave me’ he made a high pitched announcement as he marched into his sister’s room, unaware of the tension prevailing behind that door. He wanted to show off new remote controlled fighter jet to his big sister.
He flung the door open.
With one stomp of his tiny toddler feet, he crushed the intruder who was right behind the door. The girls gave out a mixed sigh of disgust and relief.
The cockroach died a sudden muted death.