It took them over an hour to get out of Boston. Alex watched as the urban developement and large buildings gave way to trees and folliage. It was late and the sun was slowly disappearing behind the trees.
By the time they arrived in Windsted, the clouds had begun rolling in. Out in the distance, Alex could see momentary flashes of light, “Storm coming?”
Stephen nodded, “Yeah, it’s supposed to be a bad one too. It’s gonna be huge electrical storm that we haven’t seen around here in almost 25 years according to the weather reports.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“Are you sure you want to stay at your old house?” Stephen asked. “You know I’ve got an extra room…”
“I’ll be fine.”
Stephen shrugged, “Well if you’re sure.”
Stephen’s car pulled into the driveway Alex got out and looked at his old home. The two-story raised ranch was just as he remembered it. It had the same dark brown siding with black shutters as it did when he was last there.
He stared at if for a minute before closing the door. Stephen got out of the drivers seat and stood by his car for a moment, “I would stay and make sure you’re settled, but the storm is due to hit at any moment.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“All right, I’ll call you tomorrow to check in.”
“I’ll be here.”
Stephen nodded, “All right, take it easy and be careful tonight.”
Alex didn’t say another word as Stephen got into his car and drove away. Another flash of lightning erupted in the distance, followed by a loud boom. He knew that it was time to get inside. As he reached the front door, he paused. Did he really want to go in?
For Alex, it was like returning to the scene of a crime he’d committed. He hadn’t been home in a long time. Was he really ready for this? The thought had not crossed his mind up until now.
He was about to lower his hand from the door when a sudden crack of thunder immediately prompted him to quickly unlock the door and push it open. Whatever ghosts of the past waited for him inside, they were no doubt less threatening than the storm coming his way.
Alex pushed the door open and proceeded up the polished wood stairs as the storm hit. From the living room, he could hear the rain begin to pound the ceiling. The lightning sounded like it was right over him.
Alex ignored what was going on outside and flopped down in his father’s lazy boy chair in the living room. He grabbed the remote and tried to find something on the TV. As though mocking him, the moment he fell on Fox 25 News, a thundering boom outside drew all of the power from the house. You’ve got to be kidding me…
He found himself in complete darkness. The storm had completely blocked out the sunset and the night sky had taken over prematurely. The darkness added an almost spooky feeling to the house, as though it was an invitation for all things evil to strike.
Unable to see very far, Alex flicked on his phone and used the screen as a light until he found his way to the family sitting room and the fireplace. His mother had always kept a stack of wood nearby just in case. He thanked his lucky stars for that as he found a matchbox on the table next to it.
Within moments, the house was once again illuminated by the fireplace. Alex went to work trying to find some other candles that he could use to brighten the rest of the house. His mother usually kept them in the kitchen, so that was the first place he went to look.
To his surprise, the drawers were empty. There was no sign of any candles or supplies. I guess mom didn’t have time to restock.
Then he remembered that his father used to keep a small stash of supplies in the garage. He quickly walked back down the front stairs that led to the main foyer. He grabbed an umbrella out of the nearby can and opened the door.
Outside was pure insanity. Rain was coming down in massive drops. Thunder and lightning streaked across the skies and the wind made using his umbrella not only pointless, but impossible.
Alex folded it back up and threw it inside before running the the garage on the side of the house. He pushed up the black door and looked inside for any candles. Luck was with him that night as a box of candles sat right next to his father’s old Cadillac.
Alex was about to take the box inside when he heard what sounded like footsteps in a massive puddle. He looked out into the darkness to see what was going on, but there was no one there. The sound of footsteps got louder as they neared the house.
The hair stood up on the back of Alex’s neck. Who or what could be coming towards him? He knew that his mother had held onto his father’s old rifle collection, but he didn’t have time to run into the house and grab one. Instead, he looked through the garage for a flashlight.
When he didn’t find one, Alex quickly opened the door to his father’s old Cadillac Eldorado went for the switch to turn on the headlights. Alex was once again in luck as the lights illuminated the entire driveway and the street. He then stood up and stepped forward out of the garage.
A dark figure stood in front of him. It was someone in a black raincoat walking along the Pleasant Hill Road. The figure looked up at Alex, startled by the intense light now shining on it.
Alex’s eyes narrowed as he took another few steps forward, “Excuse me, are you all right, do you need help?”
As it took a few more steps, the figure became clearer. It was a woman, around 23 or 24 years old. Her skin was very pale and looked almost like porcelyn, which was starkly contrasted by her deep brown eyes and straight black hair that just barely reached her collarbone, very pretty.
The look on her face was one of worry as she looked up at Alex, “My car broke down about ten minutes back up the road.”
She pointed down the the road to the right of the house. Alex shook his head, “You don’t have a cell phone?”
She shook her head, “I can’t get any signal… could I use yours?”
Alex pulled his out of his pocket. As he expected, there was a red slash over where the bars of reception should be, “No good, I don’t have any either. It must be the storm.”
He looked back at the house, “The power is completely out inside, so the phone in there is out as well.”
“Then I’m stuck. All I could do is walk and hope to get to the station up the road before the storm got too bad. I don’t know what to do, Alex.”
Alex’s lips twisted. How did this girl know who he was? He didn’t recognize her at all. He was about to respond when a massive snap broke the silence.
The two looked over to see a large tree come crashing down in the middle of the road. It was so massive that it covered both sides of the road. The top rested across the street in the woods, making getting around it treacherous.
Alex didn’t want to drive, but he couldn’t leave this girl stranded, “All right, come on. Let’s go take a look at your car.”
“You can fix a car?”
“I know a few tricks.”
He beckoned her into the garage and into the Eldorado. If he knew his mother, the keys for the car would be under the visor. He slid into the driver seat and pulled it down to see.
A small set of key jingled as they fell onto his lap. The young woman hesitantly got into the car next to him, “I really appreciate this.”
“No problem, miss…”
“Tersa, Tersa McConnel.”
Alex nodded. He was about to introduce himself when he remembered that she already knew his name. He started the car and pulled out of the garage.