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Oct 28 2011

A Little Past Midnight

Halloween is here and in celebration I’ll share a short scary story I wrote for my scary story book  I’ve written under L.L. Sanders The Stage of Horror: Volume One.

A Little Past Midnight

By Leslie Lee Sanders

Story cover images by Stephen R. Lobsinger

Blurb: Clara’s sister is awakened every night by a mysterious scratching sound at her window. She swears something is lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike.






Clara Smith had a strange feeling while walking home from work. Lately while waitressing, she has been worried about her sister Tami and wondered why Tami was feeling so anxious.

Her sister was due to graduate from Wakefield High in a few months and had recently moved into the apartment across the hall from her. Clara assumed most of her anxiety came from those stresses.

 It was a little past midnight. Tami had to be in her apartment sleeping but just in case Clara wanted to check on her to make sure everything was fine. She entered her apartment building and went straight toward the elevators. After getting off on the tenth floor she walked down the long, quiet hall to Tami’s apartment door.

She had her own key that Tami had given her for emergencies. But before unlocking the door and entering, she decided to listen for a sign that Tami was awake. She stood near Tami’s apartment door and listened.

Nothing.

She stood there for a moment with her hand on the doorknob and the key millimeters from the lock, debating whether or not to intrude on her sister’s privacy. Maybe she was sleeping. Everything had to be okay.

Clara decided to just go to bed herself. She had a long, stressful day and couldn’t wait to relax. Inside her own apartment she got herself a cup of milk and was just about to get in bed when there was a loud and urgent knock on her door. Clara looked at the clock. It read twelve forty-five. Who could be at the door and what was so important? She immediately thought of Tami and rushed to the door.

Tami stood there shaking in her skin. She rung her hands together and stared straight ahead with eyes as wide as an owl’s.

Clara placed her hand on Tami’s shoulder. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

Tami looked passed her, staring at the wall directed behind Clara across the room. “There’s something in my room. I have no idea what it is or what it wants.”

Clara quickly pulled Tami inside and shut the door behind her. Tami slowly walked to the sofa. She sat and hugged herself as if she were standing in the middle of a blizzard. She was wearing her night-clothes and looked like she had been awakened from sleep.

Clara narrowed her eyes. “Are you sure you weren’t just dreaming?”

Tami shook her head and continued to hug herself but this time she rocked slightly.

Clara looked over Tami. The way she rocked and stared ahead frightened her. It was nearly summer and too warm for her to be freezing. “Tell me what happened.”

Tami shook her head and closed her eyes.

Clara folded her arms across her chest. “You have to tell me what happened if you want me to help you.”

“I was getting ready for bed, just like I do every night,” Tami said. “I put on my pajamas and I got under my blankets. I had left the light on in the hall, but I it flickered off. My room was completely dark except for the moon shining through my window. That’s when I heard a noise.”

“What kind of noise?”

 “It was a scratching sound that came from outside of my bedroom window.” Tami looked at Clara and hugged herself tighter. “I know we’re on the tenth floor, so it couldn’t be a cat trying to get in or something. I was really scared. That’s when I decided to get up and see what was making the scratching sound. But when I tried to throw the blankets aside, I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed!”

“So what did you do?” Clara asked.

“I tried to scream but nothing came out,” Tami said. “I panicked. The scratching sound got louder and I grew more frightened. Finally, I was able to break out of it. I jumped out of bed and ran over here to you.”

Clara didn’t know what to think. It was possible that Tami just had a nightmare, but Tami looked terrified. “What do you think happened?” Clara asked.

Tami shrugged. “I don’t know but I was scared motionless.”

“You think you were just having a terrible nightmare?” Clara asked. “Sometimes I dream of trying to run but I can’t move. It’s like I’m running in wet cement that’s starting to harden around my legs.”

“I wasn’t dreaming, Clara.” Tami wiped away a tear that settled on her cheek. “This was too real.”

Clara nodded. “How about this, I walk you home and we’ll check it out together?”

Tami nodded and they both walked over to the apartment. Clara looked around the room to make sure everything was okay. The window was closed there was nothing on the window to indicate something was ever there. The light in the hall didn’t work, but maybe the bulb was blown.

Tami looked around the room with her eyes. “So? What do you think?”

Clara sighed. “I think you were just dreaming.” She rubbed Tami’s shoulder to try to comfort her. “Just relax. Go back to bed and I will see you in the morning.”

Tami nodded and Clara saw herself out.

The next day was like every other day. Tami went off to school while Clara went to work. As soon as work was over, Clara was on her way home. She walked along the dark secluded road when she got a strange feeling. Immediately she worried about Tami. All day during work she was thinking of her and what had happened the other night. It was a little past midnight and Clara had an urge to check on Tami. She needed to make sure she was alright in order to calm her nerves.

She entered the building and went straight toward the elevators. After getting off on the tenth floor she walked down the long, quiet hall to Tami’s apartment door.

She put her ear to the door and listened for and sign that Tami was awake. She didn’t hear a thing. Instantly, she felt better and decided to go to bed herself. She entered her apartment and sat on her bed. When she was just about to slip under her covers there was a loud knock on her door. Clara glanced at the clock and got out of bed. It read twelve-fifteen.

She ran to the door to find Tami standing on the other side sweating bullets. “What’s wrong? What happened?” she asked.

“There’s something in my room,” Tami said.

“Come inside,” Clara said and made room for Tami to enter. “What’s in your room?”

Tami shrugged. “I was getting ready for bed, just like the night before. I put on my night clothes and I got under the blankets. It was dark and only the light of the moon shone through my window. That’s when I heard a noise.”

“What noise?” Clara asked.

“It was that scratching noise but this time it wasn’t coming from outside the window. It was coming from under my bed! I was scared, really scared. I wanted to get up and investigate the sound. But, when I tried to get out of bed I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed!”

“And then?” Clara nodded, fixing her big brown eyes on Tami’s.

“I tried to scream but nothing came out. I panicked. The scratching sound got louder and I grew more frightened. Finally, I was able to break out of it. So, I jumped out of bed and ran over here to you.”

Clara’s eyebrows came together. “Maybe you were just dreaming again. Come on, I’ll walk you home.”

When Clara walked Tami back to her apartment, she went and searched the room for the cause of the scratching sound. After fifteen minutes of searching and finding nothing, Clara sat on the corner of the bed and watched her sister fall asleep. Clara kissed her forehead, turned the light on that hung over her bed and went home to go to sleep herself.

The next day everything was normal. Tami went off to school while Clara went to work. After work, Clara was walking home when she got that strange feeling again. She was even more worried about Tami and it made her shiver with anxiety. Clara needed to check on Tami to calm her nerves.

After getting off the elevators, she walked down the long, quiet hall to Tami’s apartment door. She put her ear to the door to listen and heard nothing.

She decided to go to bed and let Tami sleep. She would check on her in the morning. But as soon as she entered her apartment and sat on her bed there was a loud and urgent knock on her door. Clara looked at the clock. It was just a little past midnight.

She ran to the door and when she opened it this time, Tami stood there covered in blood. Small cuts were visible on her face and arms.

“Oh, my god! What happened?” Clara rested her hand on Tami’s shoulder. “Come inside,” she said and walked her into her apartment.

      Tami shook her head and let tears fall from her eyes. “I was in bed and I heard the same scratching noise. This time it wasn’t coming from outside of my window or from under the bed. It was coming from my closet. I tried to run over here but I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed!”

“But what happened to you? Why are you bleeding?” Clara shook her head, confused,

“The scratching sound got louder and the light over my bed got brighter. Before I knew it, the light shattered and pieces of the glass went flying everywhere. Finally, I was able to move. I jumped out of bed and ran over here to you.”

Clara looked at Tami’s wounds, thinking. “Maybe it’s something electrical that’s making the sound and caused your light to do that. Come on, let’s go check it out.”

Clara and Tami both searched the room fully. They even went through the closet. When they didn’t find the cause of the sound, they replaced the light bulb and cleaned up the glass. Clara stayed with Tami until the morning.

Tami decided to stay home from school while Clara went to work. After work, Clara was walking home when she got that same strange feeling. She had been so worried about Tami all day she couldn’t even do her job properly.

She quickly entered the building and went straight toward the elevators. After getting off on the tenth floor she walked down the long, quiet hall to Tami’s apartment door.

She put her ear to the door and heard nothing. She turned the doorknob and to her surprise the door was unlocked. Clara slowly walked inside. She didn’t want to wake her up. The apartment was pitch-dark. There wasn’t a light on anywhere in the place. She began to worry.

“Tami?” Clara called out as she flipped the light switches on the way to Tami’s bedroom. Tami didn’t respond. She made it to her bedroom which was completely dark. The only light was the light of the moon that shone through the window. She could barely see that Tami was snuggled in bed with the blankets over her head.

“Tami?” Clara whispered. “It’s me, Clara. I came over to check on you.”

There was still no answer. So Clara decided to just wake her up. She went to the bed and pulled the covers aside. Shock and horror filled her veins when she saw that her beloved sister’s body lay in a bed of blood and was missing the head.

Later, while police was busy trying to find the person responsible, Clara quit her job. All she could do was stay at home and cry. Thoughts crossed her mind and questions were left unanswered like, “Who would do that to Tami and why?”

Clara got into bed to dream away her worries, but as soon as she closed her eyes a noise coming from her front door awakened her. Clara looked at the clock. It was just a little past midnight. She lay in bed and tried to figure out what might be causing the deep scratching sound she heard. It almost sounded like a big cat with huge claws scratching the wall to get to the juicy mouse that hid on the other side.

When it hit her that the sound might be the same sound Tami had been hearing before her death, Clara became frightened. She tried to get up out of bed but she couldn’t move. She was paralyzed.

Suddenly through the wall appeared a shadowy figure that resembled her dead sister except it had long, stringy hair and blood red eyes. Clara closed her eyes willing it to go away. Maybe she was dreaming. Maybe the stress was getting to her. Maybe she was going insane. When she opened her eyes the figure was there, but this time it hovered over her head with its mouth gaping, showing several rows of sharp, jagged teeth. She tried to scream as its mouth clamped over her head.


Available Now on Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00466H76Y
Are you afraid of the things that go bump in the night? It didn’t even cross Clara’s mind that it may have been a supernatural being stalking her sister every night with the determination of a cat chasing its prey. If you hear weird noises in the night, sleeping with a light on or hiding under the covers may not protect you . . .

About the author

Leslie Lee Sanders

Leslie is a publishing Industry blogger, freelance writer and an author of over a dozen erotic romance & thriller titles. She self-published over two dozen works of fiction since 2004. Her blog was a finalist in the first annual Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards in 2012, and her story Benefits of Sharing is a finalist for the 2013 EPIC Award in the short story category. Her work has been included in the following Writer’s Market books: 2016 & 2017 Writer’s Market, 2016 & 2017 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market, and the 2014 & 2015 editions of Guide to Self-Publishing. As well as online blogs like Be a Freelance Blogger. She resides in Arizona with her husband and 3 daughters.

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