Greg Halifax was tired.
Greg Halifax was tired for the same reason that many other people are tired; he had gone through a whole week of
work, a whole week of sitting in front of his home computer and completing site
analysis jobs for an advertising company, and in that time, little, if
anything, had happened that could have been called ‘interesting.’
By ten in the evening that Saturday night, he had all but given up hope that something interesting would happen, and was about to go to bed for the night when his doorbell rang.
Greg didn’t think much of it at first. Who the heck would be ringing his doorbell at ten in the evening? He shrugged, and moved to cut the lights on his nightstand.
The doorbell rang again, this time followed by loud, incessant knocking. Greg grumbled to himself, pulled on a night
robe and slippers, and made his way down the stairs of his small row home to
the front door.
The knocking had picked up to an almost jackhammer pace, “All right, all right, I’m opening the door,” Greg
grumbled, more to himself than to anyone else. His hand moved to the knob, but
he hesitated. He didn’t live in the best neighborhood. So instead he allowed
his hand to drop and he moved over to the door’s eyepiece, trying to get a
It was a girl, maybe fourteen or fifteen, medium length auburn hair and wide brown eyes. The front of her clothes, arms, and face were completely drenched in blood.
She took a fearful glace behind her, and redoubled her knocking.
Greg had the door open instantly, and before he could so much as say anything the girl had rushed in, buried herself in his chest, and was sobbing incoherently, shaking her head and shuddering.
Alarmed, Greg was momentarily frozen stiff, then, as if pushing against a heavy weight, he managed to bring
his hands to her shoulders and pull her back enough that he could get a good
look at her face. “What happened?” he asked, his voice a harsh whisper, but the
girl couldn’t reply, couldn’t even meet his eyes yet. Tears mixed with the
blood on her cheeks.
Slowly, Greg guided her over to his living room couch, sat her down, said, “Wait here,” and moved off into the
adjacent kitchen. As he reached for the phone, he caught sight of the front of
his robe. The girl’s initial fearful embrace had covered the front of it in
It was at that moment, Greg realized, that the concept of a twenty-six year old male with blood all over
himself meeting the police at the door with an underage, bloodied girl on his
living room couch would be hard to explain, unless he knew what had happened
So instead he wet a dish towel and brought it back with him into the living room.
The girl was still on the couch, curled up with her face in her knees. While he looked at her, Greg tried to
picture what might have happened. She was still fully clothed, he noted, so she
had probably been awake, probably chatting to a friend on Facebook or Skype
with no intention of going to bed at any point when…
What had happened?
He kneeled down next to her, “Are you hurt?”
She hurriedly shook her head. No.
“Hey, listen, you’re safe now. I’m Greg Halifax. What’s your name?”
The girl looked up at him over the curve of her knees with the eyes of a hunted, cornered animal. Greg wasn’t
expecting any kind of answer, she was probably still too shocked to respond,
but he got a muffled reply of “Amber…Amber Whitford.”
Greg’s face brightened. He knew the Whitfords, or at least he knew Jeremy Whitford, probably Amber’s father. They
had met briefly at a block party a year earlier. “Amber,” Greg stated, trying
to keep his own face calmed, “I think I know your father. We met a year ago. Is
there a way I can call him? He’d probably want to know what happened.”
Amber buried her face in her knees again.
“What happened?” Greg asked.
The rest of what she had to say was muffled, near incoherent mumbling, but Greg was able to pick out a few choice phrases. “Couldn’t see it.” “Blood everywhere.” “All dead.”
“It got your family?” Greg asked, appalled.
The girl nodded.
“Did you have any idea what it was? Any idea at all?”
“No…all dark…couldn’t see…was with me, right next to me, nononono...”
“Was it a person? Was it an animal? Amber, I need to know what happened before I know who to call for help.”
She looked up at him fully, her jaw worked, as if she was trying to get out some idea, some statement, but nothing came.
“Amber, I need to know.”
“It was dark,” was all she could say, “It was dark, and I couldn’t see, and it was there, and it was there with ME, and—and—and…”
Amber glanced around wildly, as if the thing she spoke of was in the room with them, at that very instant.
“What? What is it? Is it here?” Greg asked, now glancing around as well. There was a 9mm pistol in his closet
upstairs. He was having very serious thoughts of going to retrieve it, but his
mind tugged at him to not leave the girl alone again in this state.
Amber shuddered, and buried her face in her knees again.
Greg glanced back towards the kitchen. He was also having serious second thoughts about not calling the police earlier.
“Listen,” Greg stated sternly, “I’m going to go call the police now. They’ll be here to help you, and they’ll go
and get this thing, whatever it is. You’ll be fine soon. I promise. You’ll be
She looked up from her knees and slowly uncurled, the look on her face looked calmer, hopeful. Greg watched as she closed her eyes, relishing what must have been a great sense of relief.
And then she stabbed him in the chest.
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