Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t own the characters. But I do thank Universal and Mark VII for allowing me to have some Halloween fun. Also, thanks to H.G. Wells.
The Night Visitor
By: Vanessa Sgroi
The clock had ticked two seconds past four in the morning when Mike Stoker woke suddenly and with absolute certainty that he was no longer alone in his bedroom. He lay motionless, barely breathing. His eyes strained against the inky darkness. Nothing moved. After a few moments, his racing heart slowed, and Mike relaxed.
Nightmare. It was just a nightmare.
Taking a deep breath, he rolled over onto his stomach and pulled the red sheet and blanket up around his shoulders. Mike closed his eyes and willed himself to fall back to sleep. Six a.m. would come soon enough, and it would be time to get up and go to work.
A click-swish sound echoed in the room and his eyes snapped open. Again, complete darkness greeted him. Except in the corner of the room, there was a tiny orange glow. Positive that his eyes were playing tricks on him, Mike closed them, waited a few heartbeats, and looked again. The glow remained. After hesitating for a second, he quietly reached over and clicked on the light beside his bed. The room appeared empty.
Stoker chuckled at his silliness as his eyes roamed around the bedroom. Abruptly, the chuckle died. Across the room, near the door, was a cigarette—a lit cigarette—floating in mid-air. He sucked in a breath.
It’s just my imagination. Just my imagination.
“Pardon me . . .”
Mike Stoker nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the deep booming voice.
“W-w-who said that?”
Mike shook his head in disbelief. He was hearing things. He HAD to be hearing things.
A chuckle sounded from the foot of the bed. The dangling cigarette was much closer.
“I’m sorry. I forgot that you can’t see me at the moment. I am the Invisible Man.”
The engineer’s tongue was glued to the roof of his mouth. He remained speechless as he stared at the glowing tip of tip of the cigarette.
“I’m looking for my bandages and . . .”
Suddenly Stoker’s tongue loosened, and he called out, “Chet! Chet, if this is some kind of joke, you’re a dead man. How’d you get in my apartment anyway?”
“Who is this Chet you speak of? This isn’t a joke. I am looking for my bandages, clothes, hat, and blue eyeglasses.”
“Your—your bandages . . . clothes? What?”
“Yes. And my hat and eyeglasses. Blue eyeglasses to be exact.” The orange glow winked out, and Mike caught the faint scent of smoke.
“But . . .”
“I was visiting Apartment 2F a little earlier, and I left them behind. I was in a bit of a hurry, you see.”
Deciding this was nothing more than a weird dream brought on by food and drink at the Halloween party he’d gone to last evening, Mike figured it couldn’t hurt to answer.
“You’re in the wrong place. This is Apartment 2E.”
“Oh, dear. My vision apparently isn’t what it used to be. My sincerest apologies.”
A few moments later, Mike heard his apartment door open and close, the lock snicking into place.
* * *
The blaring of the alarm jarred Mike from sleep. With a mild curse, he sat up and hit the button to turn it off. He turned on the light and rubbed his eyes against the glare. Mike threw back the covers, stood and stretched, and then headed for the bathroom. His thoughts turned to the crazy dreams he was having last night.
Remind me never to eat like that again. Man, that was one hell of a dream.
Just past the end of his bed, Mike’s foot landed on something on the floor. Pulling his foot up, he reached down and grabbed the white object. It was the crushed remains of a half-smoked cigarette.
Stoker’s knees went weak, and he dropped down on the bed.
It can’t be. It just can’t be.
And yet it was. He didn’t smoke. A few of his friends did, but none that would have recently been in his bedroom.
Mike stood and walked over to his nightstand. Opening the drawer, he dropped the crushed cigarette inside. As he started to close it, he remembered something the deep-timbered voice had said.
I was visiting Apartment 2F a little earlier . . .
Apartment 2F. Shelly’s apartment. The same apartment where the big Halloween party had been. He hadn’t thought about that at the time.
Mike ignored the feeling of unease that swept through him. Slamming the drawer shut, he rushed off to the bathroom.
No one’s ever going to hear about this.
*** The End ***
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