Small spooky scene
I've not written anything to do with this all week so I'm fiddling with it instead.
I don't think this scene is quite right. I'd like it to be more scary, I think. Unsettling.
Ambrose has just had a nightmare, then this:
Ambrose woke with a gasp. He lay in bed in the dark, heart thumping. As his heartbeat settled, he leaned over to the bedside table and picked up his phone, the screen lighting up as he touched it.
5.30am. He wondered if Mercer would be awake. He put the phone down and got out of bed, figuring he might as well go to the bathroom now that he was up. Stifling a yawn, he wandered down the corridor to the bathroom, feeling along the wall until he found the light switch. With only him in the house, he didn’t bother closing the door as he used the toilet.
He flushed, washed his hands, and spent a moment fussing over his reflection. As he turned to the door, something dark moved down the corridor. He froze, breath held, stomach clenched. He could hear nothing but the pounding of his heart. Had he imagined that?
In films, the idiot would call out and alert the intruder, making them aware of their presence. Well there was no way he was going to do that. He knew the floorboard just in front of the bathroom door creaked too. He needed to avoid it and sneak down the stairs and out, maybe to the neighbour’s where he could use the phone to call the police. He just needed to move.
Warm breath on the back of his neck. The hair on his arms rose, a voice whispered, “Ambrose.”
He ran, almost tripping over himself as he flew down the stairs, bare feet thumping cream carpet. He sped across the hallway, hit the front door, fumbled with the handle, and tumbled out into the street.
Outside, he drew in gasps of breath, dragged a hand through his hair and chanced a look back at his house. Nobody followed him. The door was open, the hallway still dark and everything quiet but for a dog barking somewhere down the street.
He shivered as the adrenalin rush dropped away and as the minutes passed, he started to feel self-conscious standing in the middle of the road in his boxers. Headlights shone and a car drove down the road so he raised an apologetic hand and returned to the pavement, cursing himself for sending Mercer home.
Still nobody emerged from his house but he wouldn’t go back inside. What if somebody was waiting for him with a knife? Then a niggle at the back of his mind: what if he’d imagined it? Had he really heard a voice? If he had, he couldn’t remember what it had sounded like. He didn’t even know if it had been male or female. Male, he thought.