THE NOTHING MEN
By Melissa L. Webb
The warm breeze blew through the air, catching the leaves scattered around Radcliffe Heights Park. They floated off the ground, twirling, almost magically, around the two girls as they walked.
“Don’t you just love this time of year?” Kim asked, dancing with the leaves.
“No, not really,” Tammy told her, adjusting the purse on her shoulder.
Kim frowned at her best friend. “Don’t be such a grouch. It’s our senior year, we just watched the most amazing baseball game of our boyfriends’ lives, and Halloween is in three days. What is there not to be happy about?”
Tammy felt a shiver slither down her spine, despite the heat. “I don’t know. I’ve been a little creeped out lately.”
“Of course, you’ve been creeped out. This is the time of year when ghouls and ghosts come out to play,” her friend said in a sinister voice.
“I’m serious, Kimmy. I keep feeling like someone’s watching me.”
Kim looked all around them as they walked down the street. “Who?” she whispered, afraid someone might hear her.
“I don’t know, but I feel them. It’s like someone is always five steps behind me,” Tammy said, shivering again.
Kim looked over her shoulder. “Now you’ve got me creeped out, too.”
“I’m sorry,” she said as they stepped into her yard. “But you asked.”
“I’ll get over it. Call you later.” Kim turned, heading down the sidewalk to her house. “Don’t scare yourself too much,” she said over her shoulder.
Shaking her head, Tammy went inside. Leave it to Kimmy to rub it in. Tossing her purse on the living room couch, she looked around. Her parents weren’t home. She could spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on her favorite show. Clicking the TV on, she put the last disc in the player. She sure hoped Connor and Maria stayed together.
As the disc was doing its thing, she headed into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of diet coke. She brought it into the living room, the ice clinking in the glass, and sat it on the coffee table.
“I wonder if there is any leftovers?” she muttered to herself, heading back into the kitchen in search of food. The leftovers were gone, but she returned with a sandwich in hand and settled into the chair with the remote.
Hitting play, she absently reached for her drink. Her fingers closed on empty air. “What?” She looked down at the empty coffee table. Her drink was gone.
She stood up, sitting her plate down. Where could it have gone? Did she accidentally take it back into the kitchen? She knew she was a little distracted lately, but this was pathetic. She returned to the kitchen, checking everywhere for a sign of her missing soda. But it was no use, it was gone.
Hands on hips, Tammy let out a deep breath of frustration. Well, who knows where she had set it. By the time she found it, it would probably be flat anyway. She poured herself a new glass and settled once again in the chair.
She reached down for the remote and gasped in shock. There was a bite missing out of her sandwich. A huge one. She hadn’t made it. Of that, she was sure. She had left a whole sandwich sitting there. That left only one choice.
Someone was in the house.
Tammy stood up, drink forgotten in her hand, and looked around. Was someone playing a trick on her? Had Kim crept in the house when she wasn’t looking? “Okay, this isn’t funny,” she called.
No one answered her. She stood there in undisturbed silence.
“Who is in my house?” she asked, anger dripping from her voice. “Come out or I’m calling the police.”
“Tammy,” a voice spoke from somewhere in the living room. It was deep and gravelly. It was a voice she had never heard before; not even in her darkest nightmares.
Screaming, she ran for the front door. She didn’t make it. Her feet got tangled in each other and she went down hard, the soda glass flying out of her hand.
She watched it soar, the liquid flowing freely from it. It came down, like dirty rain, and coated a silhouette of a person.
Someone she couldn’t see was standing there.
Tammy was off the floor in an instant, racing for her bedroom. She couldn’t let that thing touch her. God only knew what it would do.
She made it into her room, slamming the door; locking it behind her. She sat down, her back against the bed, waiting. Her body shook violently as she listened for any movement in the house. No wonder she thought someone had been watching her. How long had he been in her house? In this very room as she slept?
No. This was not right. She needed help. She quickly dialed Kim’s number. Her best friend would know what to do. She’d bring the whole town to her rescue if she asked.
Listening as the phone rang, Tammy’s heart pounded in her chest. “Come on, Kimmy. Answer your phone.”
The ringing stopped, the line sitting open with an emptiness she could almost feel. “Hello? Kimmy?”
Static crackled in her ear. It popped and fizzed before a harsh voice cut through it. “Nothing Men need company, too,” it said, a distorted cadence layering the words, as if they wouldn’t fit right in the speaker’s mouth.
Tammy dropped the phone. Fear seared onto her brain, causing the world to go fuzzy at the edges. What was going on? Who was in her house?
Her head snapped up as she heard a shuffling thump coming down the hall. It moved closer to her door, causing her stomach to cramp up in panic. It knew where she was. Would that door be enough to stop it? Some how she doubted it would.
The doorknob rattled as someone tested it.
Tammy leaned back against the bed and braced herself for the worst. She didn’t know what a Nothing Man was; but she had a feeling she was about to find out.
© 2011 Melissa L. Webb