Ben walked slowly, warily, down the hallway towards the living room. He didn’t turn on the lights. He kept telling himself he wanted to keep his night sight. But truly, he was too scared.
He peeked slowly around the corner from the hallway into the living room. He could see the door to the garden from where he was standing. He cursed. He had drawn the curtains when he went to bed, something he never did. Why bother, he had nothing worth breaking in to steal.
The small hairs on his neck stood out, a chill running down his spine. He thought the tapping was more determined now. Did the tapper know he was standing there?
He stood on the corner of the hallway for a few moment, not knowing what to do. Should he ignore the tapping? Should he call the police? He could grab a kitchen knife so he could defend himself.
On the other hand, what kind of burglar taps the window multiple times before breaking in? Ben felt foolish. Childish. He turned the corner.
He sneaked slowly towards the garden door, edging along the kitchen table, around the breakfast nook.
Less than 2 feet to the curtain now.
His shaking finger tips took a light hold of the curtain. He held his breath.
As he started pulling the curtain slowly to the side.
Tap-tap-tap! This time rapidly.
Ben shrieked, let go of the curtain and jumped a step back.
The night outside the garden door seemed quiet. The distant muffled roar of planes and trains and cars passing by on the high way off to the east, but nothing unusual.
For a second, Ben just stood there. Was it just a dream? Someone playing tricks on him?
He mustered up all the courage he could find, took a deep, slightly shivering breath, and grabbed firmly around the curtain edge, and yanked it to the side.
For what seemed like forever, he just stood there, eyes fixed on what has beyond the glass in the garden door.
It looked back at Ben. She looked back.
Ben’s brain had suffered a shock. Like had he been struck with a sledgehammer dead between the eyes.
Bridget’s pale, dirty, tiny finger tapped the glass garden door again. Her hair was cluttered with dirt and soil, greasy and clinging to her head with large, bald areas of her head visible underneath.
The skin on her face had swollen, like it had been in water for too long. And yet, it seemed saggy, like too-worn stockings, at the same time. Her ocean-deep, blue eyes had lost their colour and were now just a glossy empty white. Like staring at snowy peaks on a winters night. Her mouth was gaping, like a guppy’s, and though she seemed to be talking, no words left her mouth.
Ben felt her blind gaze pierce through the glass. He sank to his knees, gasped for breath and cuddled up on the floor in front of the garden door, tears slowly streaming from his eyes.
He was awoken by her scream. It cut through his bones and kept ringing in his brain while he slowly opened his eyes.
She was still outside the door. Tapping the glass, mouthing something he couldn’t apprehend. He was absolutely sure he was looking at Bridget, or whatever would have been left of her after months in a coffin. But his rational, scientific mind could not put together the bricks he was laying out. Bridget was dead. Buried. The dead stayed dead. He knew that for a fact.