By ABIGAIL M. ADRIATICO
Note: This article is a work of fiction as part of The Flame’s Photo of the Week.
You hear the clock ticking as the credits of your second horror movie for the night start rolling. It is already 11 in the evening, and you still have a few more films to go through. However, that does not really faze you. After all, it is a Friday, and you have nothing to do tomorrow.
The tradition of watching horror movies during the eve of Halloween is something you always did with your sister. Even after you move out of your family home, you still practice it. With the lockdown in place and your sister busy with schoolwork, this is the first time you celebrate it alone.
As you stare at the screen while the next film plays, you come to realize that you have never seen this one before. You find it strange. You could have sworn that next on the list was one of your sister’s favorites.
Instead of skipping it, you find your eyes glued to the screen. You are not a fan of horror movies, and this tradition only serves as a bonding moment with your sister. However, this particular film piques your interest as it features two siblings haunted by a vengeful ghost after they disturbed its resting place. With the bond between the two characters reminding you too much of your sister, you do not find it in you to hit pause.
As the film goes on, you catch yourself covering your eyes now and then. While not having many jump scares, the combination of silence and dark lighting in its scenes unnerves you. It makes you feel as if something is lurking in the shadows, watching your every move. The fact that you are alone in your dim living room does not help at all.
The thought makes your heart beat faster than usual. You wonder whether it was a good idea to watch all these films alone in the dark. You take your unnerved heart as a sign that you might have been watching too many horror movies on your own for tonight. Just as you are about to turn the television off, you hear your doorbell ring. It startles you just enough to make you knock over your bowl of popcorn.
You bit back a curse while you swat away a piece of popcorn in your pajamas. As far as you are concerned, you are not expecting any visitors.
You open the door.
To your surprise, only an empty hallway came to greet you. You peek your head out to scan for signs of anyone possibly playing a prank. The slightest noise usually echoes in this hallway, making it nearly impossible for pranksters to hide right away. All you hear is the eerie silence. Perhaps you only imagined the doorbell ringing.
Convincing yourself that it may be the case, you close the door behind you. You quickly make your way back to the darkly lit living room. You figure it was about time to call it a night.
Out of the blue, your phone rings. Before you can answer it, the unknown caller hangs up. You feel a sudden dip in your stomach as a cold breeze blows on your neck. You have the uncanny feeling that maybe, you are not alone in the room.
The doorbell rings once again. This time, you are hesitant to open the door. What if that was a–
You stop yourself.
Taking a deep breath, you walk towards the front door once more. You open it forcefully, only to see an old delivery man greeting you with a warm smile.
“Delivery for you!” He says energetically, handing you a small box.
You sigh in relief as you take the package from him. You could not help but think that you were being silly. Of course, it was just the delivery man. You were just being paranoid.
As you stare at the box in your hands, something crosses your mind. “Hey, I am not expecting a package tonight.”
You look up to find the delivery man gone without a trace. Your stomach churns once more, and your unsettling feeling worsens.
You examine the box. The hair at the back of your neck rises as you see your name written in ghastly red ink. You feel a cold chill run through your spine as you flip it over and see that the nameless sender’s address is the same as yours. F