Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shocktober Day 9 - A Flash of Horror - Intrusion

(I cheated a bit on today's Flash - it's more of a start to a longer story that I'll never likely tell, but I think it'd be a great foundation for a one-shot game)


The house has been abandoned when he broke in to put a roof over his head for just one night before moving out of town. He was evicted with practically no notice, and his apartment had been emptied before he got back from class. He never thought he'd have to break into some place just to get out of the cold, wet snow and survive a night on his own. Then again, he never imagined being kicked out for being just a couple of days late on paying his rent. He resisted the temptation to curse out his old landlord - even if he deserved it - as he pulled up some rough patches of carpet he cut up from the largest of the three bedrooms upstairs. He still remembered that day he broke his first rule of civilization to take what didn't belong to him. It was months ago, and for some reason, when broke the taboo, something in him just felt right. It was freeing and wonderful and terrifying all at once. The house was his through nothing other than having the will power to break open a window and the sense of calm necessary to allow himself to sleep in the stolen home. 

What followed was a series of the intruder realizing that he had other needs that would have to be fulfilled in order for him to preserve his presences in his house. He watched silently from empty windows and went hungry for days as he learned the routines of the neighbors of his house. It was slow, arduous, and trying work, but in those early days he was not ready to take what he needed by force. He relied on cunning and sneaking to get what he needed. And there were many things that he needed. 

Finally, four days into his forced hunger he made his move after noting very carefully the daily routines of the young couple who occupied the house across the street and four doors down from his house. He dared not shop at one of his directly-linked neighbors, at least not for something so common as food. He sleeked behind houses before taking several hours to deliberately make his mad dash across the street when he could be relatively sure no one would catch him. He can barely remember the rest of that first trip other than not taking much. In more recent days he wouldn't be so timid, but on that first he grabbed an old plastic grocery bag from the house and looked for opened boxes of highly-processed individually-wrapped food where he could take one or two items from the box and leave the rest so as not to raise too high of a suspicion level. He came away with a couple of tiny bags of chips, a Lunchable, two packages of Pop Tarts, and four string cheeses. It was a meager meal which the intruder would nonetheless embrace as his first real feast. 

He had food and plenty of water with the snow, but soon realized that, with these creature comforts, he needed more. He just had two changes of clothes which he'd gone through and sullied at least twice each. He needed to get out and get clean, but these things take time. He had been raiding other houses for food for weeks before upgrading his pursuits, and he was surprised when one day, in the middle of December, two houses just one or two down from him in either direction had erected For Sale signs over night. Considering how long his own house had been standing vacant with a similar sign out front, he wondered what kind of idiots would try to sell their houses in this kind of market. Of course he didn't have to wonder for very long - he knew both the Hendersons and Birkowskis well from the type of food he enjoyed from their houses and the types of magazines they had delivered to their homes in the mail. He was both excited to expand his network of homes and nervous thinking about how he'd have to range further and further out to get supplies that would meet his needs. 

Still, this day was devoted to cleaning himself up, so he hopped next door quick for a shower. It was thrilling gave him a real sense of ownership over his neighbor's home that he never quite had in his own house since he had arrived after the water had already been turned off. He did other things in the house while his clothes finished drying in the dryer. Before too long though, his neighbor and her little girl would be home from school, so he pulled on his warm, fresh clothes and sneaked out the backdoor to pop back to his home.

Months passed, and the intruder perfected his routine. The owners of the houses around him more and more raised For Sale signs expanding his territory and forcing him to learn the routines of new, strange houses outside of his comfort zone. He watched other people constantly but hadn't spoken to anyone since pleading to get his useless shit back out of his apartment to the locked door of his landlord. He had expanded his property to cover eight houses in an almost circular pattern around his original seat in his small vacant kingdom.

It was early April, and he had spent the night in Johnson's empty home. He was returning to his original home when he noticed a window in the back of the house was broken. It wasn't the same window he had broken in to, and it was so careful a break so as not to be noticeable from too far away. He rushed into his home and searched it, full of terror. All of his collection remained there untouched. No one had disturbed or taken anything. He crawled into his makeshift bed that night believing it must have been some neighborhood kids getting rowdy. He pulled up his ragged patch of carpet and almost feel asleep, but the the streetlight flickered back on, and something on the white rough netting of the carpet caught his eye. He pulled the carpet around to use the orange glow from the street and found himself reading the first explicit attempt at communication to him in over five months.

I know where you live.
I want you to leave.
I am not alone.
We are watching.

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