A Murder in the Suburbs

On nights this dark, nobody is safe.

A howling wind tore through the city, raising dust and dirt to cover everything. It was a clear night, but only a sliver of the moon remained. Streetlights provided the only reliable illumination. In this particular suburb, on this particular night, all was quiet save for the incessant wind. No footsteps. No warning.

Out of the shadows a figure formed. It curled up against a particular house. Somebody has been a bad boy.

The figure formed limbs. The whole thing was a mess of darkness- even well defined features would have been missed. It is fortunate, then, that the figure did not bother forming itself fully. A rough outline shaped from the shadows. Two arms- too thin to be human. Blurry outlines where fingers should be. Nothing else. No warmth, no weight, nothing but a shadow.

The figure moved to knock. The first movement fell through the door. The second, however, connected. Knock. Knock. Knock. Three tired and strained motions.


A light lit up in the upper bedroom.

“Who is it?” A woman’s voice- with the sound of concern.

“I… don’t know. Just stay here- I’ll check it out.” A male voice grunted.

Heavy, annoyed thumping down the stairs.

“Do you know what time it is? What do you want?”

Keys jingled, then the door opened to a large man with a furious expression. He was tall, heavily built, and half naked. The man looked outside but saw nothing. He reached for the flashlight he kept by the door. He clicked it, and pointed. Still, there was only darkness.

Confused, the man turns the head of the flashlight at himself. He blinds himself in the process. Dazed and disoriented, he squinted towards the door again, and once again pointed it outside. Darkness.

The man cursed and closed the door. He turned off the flashlight and turned back.

Knock. Knock.

“You’ve got to be kidding…” the man swung back. He opened the door once again, seeing the same thing. Once more, he took out his flashlight and shone it into the night. Darkness.

The man’s face- distorted with fury- slowly softened. It changed as if thawing, and a face full of hate trickled into one of fear as the man realised what he was looking at.

“It’s you!”

The darkness moved. The man slammed the door against it, but it moved effortlessly through the physical object as if the door was never there. The man hastily flicked on the light switch as he stumbled backwards. As the light shot down, the figure could be more clearly seen. A pitch-black mass resembling the outline of a man advanced from the door. Distorted. Out of place. Too thin to be real. Too prominent to be missed.

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck!” The man shuffled towards the back of the room, knocking over a flower vase as he does. He reached in, pulled out a gun, and shot. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

The figure continued advancing as the bullets tore through the air. It said nothing, and had no discernible expression.

“Die! Die! Die!” The bullets continued.

As the figure closed in on the man, a black line started to form on its hand. It grew in size until it was the same height as the figure- resembling a staff. Then, it grew outward. A tendril, an accusatory finger, grew from the top. A curved blade which completed the weapon. A scythe.

The figure did not hesitate. It swung. The shooting stopped. Blood was everywhere- but nothing on the scythe, and nothing on the figure. The man laid motionless, eyes looking up in absolute horror.

A light thump by the stairs interrupted the unnatural silence. Then, a scream.

The figure collapsed into wisps of black swirling mist. It blew towards the door, but disappeared completely before it reached it. It was gone, leaving behind a perfect circle of blood and a crying widow.

Outside, the howling winds continued.


Paul sat behind his television, too tired to be sleeping. He knew he had to be up early the next day for work, but he did not care. Two empty bottles of beer lay on the coffee table in front of him.

“In breaking news, a local officer was found dead in his home early this morning. While the police are not releasing any details at this point, residents are wondering if this is the third of a string of murders by the vigilante so-called ‘Boogieman’. The officer in question was previously cleared for the shooting of Marcus Gonzales…”

Paul switched off the television. “Time for a quick nap.”

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