Intruder in Our Midst

shadow intruder

(Excerpt from The Janus Perspective Book 5)

A rustling noise in the kitchen causes his ears to perk up. A rat! He’s seen a mouse in the cabin on occasion, but this sounds much bigger. Quietly getting up, he slowly creeps toward the kitchen.

I need something to hit him with.

Kevin thinks about what is readily available. A rolled-up magazine has no reach and might only tickle him. The hammer could take him out but is also too short. He spots a shovel leaning against the wall. That will make an impressive mess but would get the job done. Careful not to knock it to the ground, he grasps it firmly. Resuming his stalking stance, Kevin readies the weapon to jab downward.

The rustling sounds like something larger than a rat as he gets closer. There’s a second sound accompanying the rustling. It’s like teeth sinking into bloody flesh. There must be chunks of raw meat inside the trash can. Kevin backs up against the wall outside Juan’s room while still creeping. He peers into the narrow entryway, expecting to see an overturned garbage pail. A sharp gasp escapes his lips.

Crouching on the floor in front of the trash can is a shadowy fiend. The crunching of bone mingles with the chewing of supple flesh. The sickening sounds abruptly stop as the dark shape slowly stands. Kevin can’t tell if it’s facing him or facing away. It looks like a slim woman, but something is off. Its breathing rasps, the smell of rotten flesh fills the air. Kevin has the impulse to strike it with the shovel but refrains. If it’s Jenn having some kind of fit, neither she nor Juan would ever forgive him.

Kevin finds himself in another standoff holding a weapon aimed at Jenn’s shadow, but this doesn’t feel like earlier. His arms and legs feel so weak, he could drop the shovel and fall to his knees any second. Kevin raises a shaky elbow to the light switch. It bathes the kitchen in light, revealing only a trash can on its side with food containers and other random trash on the floor. The thing vanishes as if it was never there.

Kevin is sure he just saw a djinn. His heart rate races as he looks around the kitchen and living room. Nothing. He jabs the shovel all around the trash can. Nothing there. The final test is to turn the light off again. Kevin switches it off and on so fast, his eyes don’t have enough time to adjust to the darkness. He turns it off again but doesn’t leave it off much longer than the first time.

Leave it off, stupid!

Kevin holds his breath, almost hearing the sound of his heartbeat. While holding the shovel like a bat, he switches the light off and quickly scans the room. Sweat collects on his forehead and palms. The phantom doesn’t reappear near the back door. Still tense, he turns the light back on. He stares at the spilled trash again before turning the light off one last time.

A soft voice behind him calls his name. He swings the shovel hard and wide. Shards of glass rain upon the kitchen table and the floor.

AAAAAAGH!” The shrill scream practically penetrates his teeth.

He hears bare feet sprinting across the room. Kevin prepares to swing again when the living room light comes on…


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