Wed. Dec 8th, 2021
Joseph Gill
Sports Editor | JG923276@wcupa.edu | + posts

Joseph Gill is a third-year English major with a minor in Journalism.

Breezing gracefully across the instrument of her past, she had finally perfected that which had eluded her thus far. “Could it finally be happening?” she inquired to herself in a stroke of excitement as she continued. The tune came across easier than she had remembered with each passing note as her fingers began to cramp beneath the pressure of forcing keys of black and white to resurrect this musical memory. Birds seemed to be chirping alongside her melody and, with an emphatic and pride-filled stroke of the keys, she completed a wonderful victory. Her face unveiled a grin, a gesture she had not known for some time. It felt as if she were welcoming an old friend. 

A faint noise wisped by her ears and ever-so-slightly gave her heart a start. In such a proud and jovial mood, she paused to listen. “Of course, this is nothing but my imagination,” she thought, surely her pride had altered her senses to materialize a noise resembling a clap. Yet, as she sat in silence, catching her breath, the clap continued, louder than before and higher in ferocity. She whirled about, in a desire to discover her hidden fan to no avail. Casting the curtains of the window aside to unmask this mysterious listener; nothing. With seemingly no soul in the house but her own, this realization was most unsettling. 

It did not cease.

In fact, it grew louder and she could swear it was now slower. It seemed to be drifting from a cheer into an echoing mockery.  

Then it came to her. Something, or someone must be watching at this very moment, prowling for an unholy purpose. Her warm grin began to dissipate as her mind dwelled upon just exactly who this entity might be.

Her mind now racing amid an unnatural and stifling heat on what was previously a cool, fall day, she fell into a white hot terror. The clapping halted, but only as one holds their breath; destined to unleash an ever-suspended burst of horror at any moment. The sun blackened behind the curtains with such a cataclysmic aura emanating from its rays that, falsely assuming she had eluded the clutches of this horror, she was sent into a bone-shattering paralysis. The heat morphed into a crackling frost and her breath was now visible to her quivering and widening eyes. At this moment, in the utter shock which she now desperately tried to escape, she let out a shriek. It was not of the bloodcurdling nature, or even of significant length. In fact, perhaps it could not be characterized as a shriek — rather, it was little more than a whimper that had found its way out of her throat and into a chilled black room, desperate for ears to hear and offer rescue.

This somewhat familiar entity crept about the place, until her eyes caught its shadow. It paused, pondering perhaps whether to strike with hellish intent at this moment. Her mind raced as the silence ensnared her very existence. As her nerves pumped lead, her frozen joints were able to capture the signal from her brain asking to walk backward in hopes of a route of escape. To her shock and dismay, however, she stumbled over a table, spun around, and fell upon her knees and hands, which snapped within her upon contact. Time had now joined this entity for the joyride of torture. 

Letting a defeated grunt escape her lips and tears fall on her cheeks, she felt her fingers, that had finally achieved such a monumental and emotional feat, shatter and dislodge on the merciless wooden floor. The world seemed to cave in around her and all she could fathom was a haunting feeling that her soul did not want to stay in this earthly vessel any longer. 

A tune began to surface, very quiet at first, until it swirled within her mind as a final link to life. She recognized the piece with intriguing instinct, for it was the one her husband had played numerous times. “It’s a simple piece,” he used to say as his fingers masterfully strolled with such grace, enticing the keys to project his soul into the room. She had clapped and clapped along as they swayed alongside each other in the warm sunlight.  

She never could quite get the song down, no matter how many times he tried to teach her. Perhaps it was a subconscious will to spend more time with him as he was forced to teach her, an almost obsessive desire to fail in order to use time to her advantage. Maybe she truly did not have the talent to properly play given her stiff fingers. It used to infuriate her so. Many times, to a point of such agonizing frustration that only his stable embrace could bring her back to solace. But that stability was gone and she never was able to find it again, until just moments ago when the notes flowed through her veins, as if he operated within her hands, guiding them to imitate his former grace. 

Her thought evaporated as icy boned hands seemed to be pulling her from infinite directions. With what little strength she could muster, she dragged herself to the front door, scratching at the wood desperate to find the knob. 

Suddenly, everything stopped. 

The room’s temperature turned back to its former state and the sun shone through the curtains. There was silence however, not even the birds’ song graced the air.

The knob she had been desperately reaching towards slowly turned as she looked up, powerless to stand. 

She heard a familiar voice call her name from outside the door. Recognizing it as her husband’s, her face was overwhelmed with relief. 

The door was pushed open with a slight creak and her eyes erupted into tears of searing dread as they met an empty hood whose supposed body bore a scythe…


Joseph Gill is a third-year English major with a minor in Journalism. JG923276@wcupa.edu

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