- Genre: Fantasy
- Status: Ongoing
- Language: English
- Author: O. Gabriel
It was a quiet night. Nancy Scott returned home late and was too tired to drag her sore legs into her room for a nice shower. Walking up the stairs of her newly rented apartment to reach the 5th floor had been hectic, especially after she had nearly exhausted all her strength at work, and the elevator wasn’t working. She collapsed onto her black leather couch.
She couldn’t help but doze off. Working for the Cast News had been very tiring as a news reporter who had just graduated from college. Her goal for the year was to be the best reporter of the year.
The angry whistling kettle in the kitchen suddenly woke her up. Feeling too tired to check it out, she thought she was dreaming. Yawning loudly, she fell back to sleep once more. However, the angry whistling of the kettle ceased and was replaced by a fierce rattling sound that wouldn’t stop.
Her eyes were heavy as she managed to open them, wondering where the sound was coming from. Like before, she wanted to dismiss it, but the rattling sound grew louder each second.
There was no doubt now that the sound was coming from her kitchen. Hastily, she slid off the leather couch and walked toward the kitchen.
Before she could step into her kitchen, the rattling sound stopped. She hissed loudly, “It must be the neighbor next door.”
She relented and returned to her leather couch, collapsing on it again. No angry whistling kettle or fierce rattling sound.
Like a scene from a horror movie, the front door jiggled repeatedly. Nancy jumped off her couch. Fear had its claws on her. Her gaze was fixed on the door as she swallowed a heavy lump in her throat.
It was past 11 PM, and no one should be up by now. Her mind raced with thoughts. A breath of relief escaped her lips immediately after the jiggling stopped.
“That’s weird,” she muttered. There was no way she would let this slide. She was always curious about things and would not dismiss them until her curiosity was satisfied. Her neighborhood was one of the safest places to live in New Orleans. She quietly picked up her cell phone and slowly moved to the door. There was a baseball bat next to her door. She had often kept it because she was security-conscious.
“Hello! Is anyone there?” she asked before summoning the courage to grab the door. There was no response. It was quiet outside.
She slowly held the metal doorknob—an ice chill ran through her fingers and seeped into her body. She twisted the lock inside her palm and carefully opened the creaking door. The darkness outside was blinding—fortunately, she had her phone and would use it as a light source.
“These lights are supposed to be on,” she mumbled with her eyes fixed on the dead bulbs. Hastily, she glanced around, flashing her phone’s flashlight. Everywhere was calm, and there was no sign of the neighbors. Nancy was desperate to get to the bottom of it all. Her mind wouldn’t let it slide. As a reporter, she couldn’t shirk off her duty—chasing after new stories that could make a great news headline. Who knows, she might run into a good story that would earn Cast News a spot internationally and speed up her promotion.
She wanted to dismiss the incident, believing it was all a bad dream, but her curiosity was getting the best of her. Gently, she shut the door from outside and set off to satisfy her curiosity.
With her right hand, she held her phone up, letting the flashlight light the scene. In her left hand was the baseball bat, firmly held as she boldly followed the long, dark hallway to the elevator, thinking it would work now. The steely button wasn’t doing the elevator any good. The elevator wasn’t responding, just like before, which made her use the stairs. It was just as dead as the bulbs in the hallway. Just like when she got back from work, she decided to take the stairs again.
Nancy narrowed her eyes ahead as she slowly made her way down the stairs. The creaking sound of the wooden stairs interrupted her thoughts. She hissed and continued heading down without a second thought.
Her sight was drawn to the front door leading to the building as she got to the foot of the stairs; it was wide open. She remembered shutting it behind her when she got home. “This must be the handiwork of these neighbors,” she mumbled to herself.
Something was weird. The outside looked foggy. This was unusual. It wasn’t supposed to be a foggy night. She was certain of this because she had seen the weather forecast earlier that day, and nowhere did it state that the night would be foggy.
She looked confused. “Perhaps the weather forecast was wrong.”
Nancy continued to the door as she boldly stepped outside. Her desperation left her with a puzzling fear as a strange wind howled to her, bringing a sudden cold that settled deep into her skin.
The street lights were out already, leaving everything dark. The gurgling croak of a raven caught her attention. She focused her gaze on one of the streetlights—there stood a raven making a continuous gurgling croak sound.
Nancy steeled her failing nerves, breathing out a puff of cold air. “There’s nothing here,” she said.
As she was about to turn back to head inside, the fog started moving closer to her, which gave her a creepy feeling. A dozen ravens emerged from the treacherous darkness of the night, making harsh grating sounds and shrill alarm calls.
Flicking around to run back in, the door slammed shut. Her heart raced faster than a speeding train.
“Hello!” she said in a very terrifying tone. “Anyone there?”
Nancy was about to say another word when she caught a glimpse of a shadowy movement. The movement was faster than the eye could see.
Her nerves were failing her. She breathed out a puff of cold air and started drawing backward with a continuous glance over her shoulder, scared as hell that she couldn’t lift the baseball bat in her defense.
Nancy’s gaze was drawn to a figure of a young man dressed in black clothing staring down at her across the road. As she tried to focus her gaze to get a clear look at the young man, he moved one and a half times faster than the theoretical maximum for human speed, faster than Nancy’s eyes could see.
The fog disappeared. When she looked, there was no sign of the ravens anymore. A breath of relief escaped her lips. The door behind her opened with a loud creaking sound, startling her.