I froze in the dark, one hand on the door jam. Prickles of ice ran up and down my spine while the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. I turned to face the inky black room. Duke pressed against me, growling deep in his throat.
The voice repeated, "Are you talking to me?"
With super will power, I managed to flip on the overhead light. In the glare of the incandesent lighting the small room looked normal. I did a small pirouette, but there was no place for anyone to hide.
In the stillness of the night I could hear the wind howl, and branches rubbing themselves against the house. I stood for a couple of minutes wondering if I could have fallen asleep standing up. That must be it, I decided. I turned off the overhead light and just stood in the dark, but no voice this time, only the wind. I started down the hall, then something dawned on me. I turned back to the room and flipped the light on. I crossed the room and stood before my Robert Di Niro drawing. I was sure I had drawned him with his head tilted to the left, but here it was, tilted to the right.
The next morning I entered the kitchen, a little groggy from lack of sleep, and glance out the window. There were several inches on fresh snow on the ground but, thankfully the wind had died down. I poured a cup of coffee and sat at the table in the eye of the household storm. Deb and the kids were hustling about, getting ready for work or school.
I could work either at home or at the office. All I needed was a computer. Today I chose home. Deb was a secretary at the same school the kids went to, so they all rode together. "I had a weird experience last night." I offered.
"I hope you didn't buy anything online again," Deb said. "You kids hurry up, in this weather it's going to take us longer to get to school."
"No, I didn't buy anything online. I drew a picture of Robert Di Nero."
"That's nice," Deb said.
"Who's he? Mom! Where's my project paper?"
A quick peck on the cheek, and a reminder, "Don't forget to get the trash out. They pick it up today." And suddenly the house was quiet.