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?” In the moonlight I could see that she was looking into the hallway. I didn’t hear anything except 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 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 window. The dogs continued to growl. Disoriented.
“Joel!” I hurried up the stairs, gave 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.