It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Yeah, I’m borrowing the title from Snoopy.  He said I could. We’re  close friends. Snoopy borrowed it from Sir Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, and now there is a contest every year called

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

The contest uses the infamous phrase to showcase the worst extremes of this “purple prose”. It only uses one sentence, where I  thought it would be fun to write a story with that title. I kind of doubt it will be scary, but in honor of Halloween,  one of my favorite holidays, I thought I would borrow the phrase and see what happens.

 

I was home alone with my little dog Sam. The wind was howling through the trees, it almost sounded like moaning. Of course, that was just my imagination. Usually, storms don’t bother me. In fact, I love them. But this one seemed different. There was a feeling in the air, it was heavy, like a wet, wool blanket covering the whole house. We had lost the electricity an hour ago. But I had plenty of candles lit. I hate the dark, things happen in the dark that doesn’t happen in the light.

It wasn’t raining, not yet anyway. But the wind was blowing and the trees outside were hitting the side of the house. A steady bang, bang, bang. It was driving me crazy. I made a mental note to have the trees next to the house trimmed, soon. The thunder could be heard rumbling over the wind. Every now and then the lightning would light up the house. Between that and the candles there were odd shadows flickering on the walls and ceilings. It would be a great night for Halloween. But that holiday was still a few weeks away.

I sat on the couch with Sam as close to my side as he could get. I liked the company, even if it was in the shape of a small dog. At least we had each other, and I wasn’t completely alone. I felt foolish. A grown woman afraid of the dark, but I couldn’t help myself. It was just that kind of night.

I heard a creak in one of the rare silences of the storm. It sounded like it was in the house! Sam and I just froze for a second, I felt the poor little guy shiver in fright. I have to admit it scared me too. I gathered my courage together, picked up one of the candles and decided to take a look around the house. Yeah, stupid I know. I mean, in all the scary movies one sees, the girl always goes looking around the dark house on her own and meets up meeting with the boogie man!

But, this wasn’t a movie. And I would rather meet up with the boogie man on my terms then sit on the couch and await my doom. So off we went to search the house. Sam was close on my heels, I guess he wasn’t willing to be alone either. We did a quick survey of the main floor and saw nothing unusual. So I decided to take a look upstairs. I slowly started to climb the stairs, the candle flickering at each step. I tried to hear past the wind but it was howling too loud. So step by step I continued upwards. We got to the landing and I stopped to give another listen. Nothing. I took a step forward and immediately heard a creak. It sounded just like the one I heard earlier.

Someone had stepped right there to make that creak. I decided to keep moving forward. I had to find out if someone else was in the house with me. It was either that or go hide somewhere and wait for the boogie man to find me. Neither option was the greatest. So taking my courage in hand once more I continued forward. I slowly walked down the hall. The first room I came to was the bathroom. Taking a quick look inside I knew no one was there, and yes, I looked in the shower too.

Poor little Sam was with me every step of the way. I made myself a promise that I would give Sam some extra special dog cookies once we were over this night. He deserved them. Taking a deep breath I continued to the next room. My bedroom. The door was usually closed and it was closed now. I grabbed the door handle and slowly turned it. As I opened the bedroom door I heard it give a small screech, I never noticed that it needed oiling before. As I opened the door all the way and stepped inside, the wind decided to gust and push the outside tree against that side of the house. The bang that followed made my heart jump and my hand holding the candle shake.

Sam stayed inside the doorway where he could see me. I walked into the room and took a quick look around. I saw nothing out of the ordinary and even got enough courage to throw the closet door open and take a look. Nothing. Whew! My heart slowed down just a bit and I left to check the last room. An extra bedroom. That door too is usually closed but I noticed soon enough that it was open a crack. My heart started to beat fast once more.  I stood just outside the door wondering if I shouldn’t just turn and run. I took a deep silent breath and put my hand against the door to push it open.

I pushed it open slowly and took a quick look. I didn’t see anything so I took a step inside. All hell broke loose! There was this awful screech then two gray and white bodies streaked past me out the door! Sam gave a loud bark and took after them. Sam was yapping excitedly and I ran into the hallway just in time to see my two devil cats running hell-bent down the hall with Sam nipping at their tails. Both cats slid towards the stairs and when the first one hit that one spot I heard it give that now familiar creak. Off they bounded down the stairs with the now brave Sam close on their butts.

I started running after Sam, I didn’t want the candle going out on me so I wasn’t running all that fast. I heard a loud crash downstairs and thought it sounded like the coffee table. Then I heard yapping and hissing and thought I better get down there as soon as I could. I ran down the stairs and just as I hit the living room the lights came back on.  I stood in the middle of the room and surveyed the damage. I blew out my candle and yelled at Sam to hush. He had the two devil cats Notwen and Pouncer cornered on top of the TV stand. I just had to laugh. One, because I felt so relieved that there wasn’t a boogie man in the house. Two, because Sam was so much smaller than either cat and he acted so proud that he got them hissing and cornered.

It took me a few minutes to get the animals calmed. Afterwards, I just sat on my couch and laughed at myself. But, ever after that day, I make sure I always have plenty of candles in every room in the house. You know, just in case.

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