It was a rare night when I retired early. I kissed my wife and kids and went to bed. No sooner had I drifted off, my wife woke me up.

“Joel! Joel get up!” she said in a forceful whisper, shaking me with both hands.

It took at a few seconds for things to register, “What. What is –“

“Shhh,” she said interrupting me and gripping my arm. “Did you hear that?” Through the moonlight I could see that she was looking into the hallway. The only sound I heard was the soft growling of the dogs from another room.

I sat up and glanced at the clock. It was out. In fact, there wasn’t a flicker of light anywhere. “What time is it? Why is the power off?”

She gripped harder, “Shhh!”

A faint knock came from the front of the house. I jumped to my feet. “What the fuck is going on, Amy?”

She shot me a terrified look, and shook her head.

From our window I noticed a streetlight. Next to that, a porch light. I went to the bathroom and threw the switch. Dead.

Another single knock. This time from the kitchen window.

“Get the kids,” I managed to say while pulling on pants. I ran to the attic string and yanked, then grabbed a child and followed my wife up.

Another knock. From our bedroom. The dogs continued to growl. Disoriented.

“Joel!” Amy said as I hurried up the stairs. I handed her a waking child and was going back to get the dogs when their growling was snuffed out by two sharp cries.

I pulled the stairs and they shut with a bang. It was completely black. The children began screaming and were quickly muffled by my wife. I then pulled up the dangling string, and we waited.


Jim Mitchem

Killing Satellite Radio

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.