It was a dark and stormy night.
Sorry, but it’s true. It was blacker than black outside, the darkness engulfing everything but our lone house that stood at the end of the road in the middle of the South Carolinian woods. Black clouds covered the moon, and fierce winds howled as they rushed through the trees, causing them to bend under the force of their power. Angry raindrops struck the window harder than I thought possible, making a rat-a-tat-tat sound on repeat. And full volume.
So I guess I can say it really was dark and storming. Cliché, yeah, but I never was much of a writer. Math was more up my alley. Kaitlyn, my wife, was ever the wordsmith and one of those bloggers with thousands and thousands of followers. She could probably make the rain and wind and lightning into something spectacular, using phrases like “eerie incandescence” and the like. Me? Theorems and postulates, please and thank you.
So there I was, assessing how much of my money the government decided was theirs this year, while Kaitlyn was at the other end of the house, probably watching Tyrone. Kaitlyn had wanted a baby more than I did, but ever since he’d become an addition to the Jackson household ten months ago, I had to admit the little guy had worked his way into my heart. Of course, Kaitlyn had given me no end of “I-told-you-so” looks once she realized how enamored of Tyrone I was. But still.
It was just after eight when Kaitlyn started singing to Tyrone, who had woken up. I could hear everything through the baby monitor that sat on the corner of my desk, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to it.
“Hush, my love, now don’t you cry; everything will be all right . . . ”
Not only was Kaitlyn a good writer, but she also could sing. There was a reason why Kaitlyn sang the lullabies and not me, probably because I sounded like a scarecrow. Whatever a scarecrow would sound like if it tried to sing.
Tyrone gurgled a little bit, but stopped crying. I could hear some snuffling noises, and then Kaitlyn said, “Shh, shh.” I involuntarily smiled and took off my glasses, rubbing my eyes. Not even thirty and I couldn’t work for two hours straight without getting mentally exhausted. Way to go, Will.
I was half tempted to go over to the family and sit with them for a little bit, but I’d been putting this off for long enough already, so I put my glasses back on and kept on working while Kaitlyn started singing again.
It was a mistake.
Not even three minutes later, the front door opened. I started, mind going a million directions at one time. Kaitlyn stood there in a bright yellow slicker, pushing the wet curls of blonde hair out of her face. “Man, it’s amazing out there, Will. It’s all so . . . powerful.”
“Wait, Kaitlyn? What the—what are you doing here?”
She looked confused. “Mm, because I live here, Mr. Jackson?”
“But . . . but if you’re down here? Who’s . . . who’s with Tyrone?” I pointed to the baby monitor, where I heard the now-chilling voice of what I thought was Kaitlyn singing, the voice low and almost hypnotic.
“Close your eyes and drift in dreams; rest in peaceful sleep . . .”
The blood seemed to literally drain out of Kaitlyn’s face, leaving her face void of color. “Oh, no.”
The words were hardly out of her mouth before I took off, heart hammering wildly. “God, no,” I pleaded. But no what? What was I asking God not to let happen? It seemed to take an eternity to reach the room, but it really took less than ten seconds. I stood at the door, hand shaking.
“Open up the door, Will,” Kaitlyn managed. “Open it now.”
“God, no; God, no,” was all I could manage to say. But I swung open the door, a blast of freezing air hitting the two of us.
Like hungry hands reaching for food, all the shadows in the room were cast towards the window at the other side. The window was open.
And Tyrone was gone.
It was a dark and stormy night.