Home Invasion

📅 Published on April 18, 2022

“Home Invasion”

Written by Chisto Healy
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 24 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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Bert set his drink down on the end table beside his recliner and he stared towards the window. Without looking he lifted the remote and muted the television. He thought he heard movement on the porch. It had happened before and turned out to be a raccoon or a possum. Not many people came by out here in the middle of the woods and that was exactly the point. Bert was an introvert, to put it mildly, and being in a residential neighborhood, even a quiet one, felt like too much. People always felt inclined to show up at your door, banging and ringing and demanding attention. They wanted to sell you things or convert you to their religion or get you to join their church or find out where someone else lived or any manner of other thing.

Bert found a house that was close enough to the real world that he could join it when he needed to and far enough away that people didn’t care to venture there just to sell you a vacuum or ask you if you’ve read the book in their hand. Now, if he talked to someone it was his own choice, and one he rarely made. Every time he heard something on the porch it activated his anxiety. Silently, he begged for it to not be a human being.

Bert heard the sound again more clearly now that the TV wasn’t blasting a heartfelt cop drama. It sounded like footfalls far too big to be a critter like those he was used to. Maybe it’s a bear, he thought. He supposed it could be any manner of thing out here. What if it’s Bigfoot? He’s clearly an introvert too. We should be able to share these woods just fine.

Bert stood slowly and bent over trying to get a look out the window but the curtains he put in to block the view from outside were now working against him. He bit his lip and quietly grumbled. He crept towards the door, stopping to listen every few steps. It was quiet now and he was beginning to wonder if maybe his mind had just been playing tricks on him.

Then he heard it again.

There was definitely someone out there.

Why? Why would they come up the long, steep gravel drive through the woods and bother me? What could they possibly want? Bert wanted to scream, “Go away! Not interested!” but if he did then they would know for sure that he was home and he wouldn’t be able to hide out of sight until they went away.

He moved to the window and tried to gently move the curtain so he could peer out without being too obvious. He couldn’t see anyone so he stood there, listening. His breath quickened and his heart raced. He started to chew on his fingernail. Bert knew they hadn’t left because he would have heard them. Their footsteps were pounding on his porch and he never heard them walk off of it. Shoo! Go! Get!

Bert stepped as quietly as he could and made his way to a different window where he peered out the curtain just the same. He still couldn’t see well but he saw enough to know that he had been right. From where he was he could see a sleeve and a hand. It looked like a masculine hand from his best guess. Bert’s fingers started drumming on his lips. Not hairy enough to be Bigfoot. Too bad.

Something banged against the door and Bert jumped. His eyes went wide. Had they just knocked extraordinarily hard or was the man on the porch actually trying to get in? Bert didn’t know if he should try to say something, to let them know that someone lived here, or if he should go hide somewhere. Could whoever they are think that this house was abandoned? It didn’t look abandoned. It was clean and tidy and there was a car in the garage that he admittedly rarely used but it was there nonetheless. There were curtains on the windows and lights on and moments ago a television was playing loudly. Surely they know someone is living here. Is this a home invasion?

The bang came again and Bert jumped. He didn’t know what to do and he started pacing. He could call the police despite how little he wanted to talk to them but even if he did it would take them thirty minutes on a good day to get there and he could be dead by then. Maybe the person on the porch wouldn’t know that and he could convince them that the police were on the way. If they were up to something illegal that might be enough to scare them away. Should I yell? I should yell.

Bert wanted to make sure he could protect himself if the plan went awry before he tried speaking so he hurried to the kitchen for a knife. As he did the person threw their weight into his front door again and Bert cringed and twitched. His head was tucked down between his shoulders now. He grabbed a steak knife and scurried back into the other room, jumping again as the door was once again hit from the other side.

“Whoever you are,” Bert said, trying his best to sound far more confident than he was, “I’ve called the police so you should go now. I don’t know what you want, but the cops will be here any minute.”

“I didn’t know anyone was in there,” a voice said from the other side of the door, confirming Bert’s suspicions that the stranger was a man. “Do this the easy way and just let me in.”

Bert’s mouth fell open and he shook his head.  He licked his lips. His mouth felt uncomfortably dry. “N-no, I’m not going to do that. I don’t want you to come in. You need to leave.”

The door banged again and Bert bit down on his own hand to keep from screaming. “The cops are coming. Do you want to go to jail?”

Bert hoped that he didn’t sound as afraid to the man outside as he did to himself. He gasped when the window beside the door shattered inward and scattered glass shards all over the floor. He watched in absolute terror as an arm came through and felt for the door lock.

Bert watched that masculine hand with a star-shaped scar by the thumb feeling around for a way to gain entry. He felt frozen, rooted to the ground. He couldn’t even understand how this could be happening. I should be safe out here. It’s called off the beaten path for a reason.

Then it occurred to him that he held a knife. With a deep breath and a nod of confidence, Bert ran forward and sliced at the hand coming through his window. The blade was serrated and dug in with its silver teeth, pulling and tearing the flesh. The man outside cursed but continued his efforts. Bert cringed as he stared at the bleeding hand grasping at his doorknob through the crackle of broken glass. His own hands tensed like claws and scratched at the air. He couldn’t breathe. Who the hell are you?

Bert tried again. He stabbed at the hand this time, pushing the jagged blade through the meat and bone and tacking it to the door with a wet thuck! His eyes widened in panic. That wasn’t going to get rid of the person on the porch. I just attached them to my house. I don’t want them attached to my house. I want them gone.

“Dammit! Just open the door. That really hurt,” the voice from outside commanded.

“No!” Bert called back. He struggled to pull the knife free as it seemed to be caught on a bone or tendon, and his stomach spasmed with the threat of vomiting as the blood shot out in his direction upon its eventual release. He made a gagging sound and backed up a step as the man on the other side of the door issued a growl. “Go away.”

The wounded hand retracted and Bert sighed with relief, though he was still trembling. That’s right. Go! He stood there and listened intently. Bert almost cried when he failed to hear any retreating footsteps heading away from his home. Why won’t he leave? I just stabbed you for God’s sake. Go away.

The door banged again and again. It kept going now, an all-out assault.  Bert backed up until he bumped into his recliner and fell backwards over it. He landed half on and half off the cushion and slid to the floor just as the door came crashing inward. Bert didn’t hold the scream back this time as the man stepped over the threshold into his house.

The guy looked to be in his late twenties, or early thirties. He was thin and tall, lanky, with long platinum blonde hair and a zip-up hooded sweatshirt. He wore jeans and work boots and his hand was still bleeding in thin streams that were staining Bert’s carpet. He raised a single eyebrow and looked at Bert strangely when he saw him there on the floor beside his recliner.

“What do you want?” Bert asked him.

The stranger sighed. “Right now I want you to use that recliner to block the now broken door before the people trying to kill me get here and walk their happy asses in here unattested.”

Bert scratched at his neck and face. There are more people coming? Here? Why? He shook his head. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. It shouldn’t be happening. Why is this happening?

“Fine. I’ll do it myself,” the stranger said. He grabbed the recliner and started dragging it across the carpeted floor. Bert jumped away and scurried across the floor on all fours. He reached the far wall and leaned his back against it. He pulled his knees up to his chest and watched as this person he’d never met before angled the recliner and jammed it under the doorknob.

“Do you have any duct tape?” the man asked Bert. “I need it for my hand that you so kindly stabbed and it would be a good idea to use something to patch up this window, at least slow them down for a second.”

Bert looked up at the man in disbelief. “You just forced your way into my house.”

The stranger threw his arms up. “What did you want me to do, wait for an invitation? I didn’t really have time for that. Now come on. Duct tape?”

Bert blinked a few times. “There’s a toolbox above the washer, to the left just off the kitchen,” he said solemnly. “There should be some in there.” Please don’t use it on me. God, please don’t let him use it on me.

“Fantastic,” the man said. “Why don’t you stand up and guard that door again? You could stab the actual bad guys when they show up.” He didn’t wait for a response before marching through the house to follow the directions Bert had given him. Actual bad guys? So who the hell is he, the good guy?

Bert couldn’t breathe. He felt like someone was standing on his chest. This was a nightmare. He couldn’t believe it was happening, but he did force himself to get to his feet and he stared at the blood-stained door waiting for it to jostle with another bang of someone trying to get in. Will that recliner really hold them? Should I add something to it?

The man returned from the kitchen with his hand wrapped in silver. He was carrying the roll of tape and Bert’s baking sheet pans. Bert watched in horrified silence as the man taped the metal pans over the broken window. He listened to the sound of the tape stretching and tearing over and over like a screeching bird.

“Who are you?” Bert asked when he could find his voice.

“Tolliver,” he said. He left the silver-coated window and crossed the room to stare into the wall mirror. “Jesus, I look terrible,” he said, tugging at the skin beneath his eyes. “I should have checked myself while I was in your kitchen but I was too focused on getting this place defended. Do you have any raw meat, steaks or anything like that? The bloodier the better.”

Bert slowly shook his head from side to side. “No. I’m a vegetarian.” Guess you broke into the wrong house, jerk.

Tolliver groaned. “Of course you are. My luck is just awful.”

“Sorry,” Bert said and he couldn’t believe he was saying it. He just wanted this man to leave his house. “There may be some cold pizza in the fridge that you could heat up in the microwave. Take it. Have all of it.”

Tolliver exhaled with a huff. “Well it won’t help anything but it certainly won’t hurt anything either. Who doesn’t love pizza?”

Bert watched as the man walked by him and briskly made his way to the kitchen. He came back a moment later with a slice of pizza that he hadn’t bothered to microwave. He took a bite and wiped the grease off of his mouth with the back of his hand. “Is this garlic parmesan alfredo? It’s fantastic. I love garlic.”

“Me too,” Bert said, not knowing what else to say. “What do you want from me?”

Tolliver threw his pizza crust on the ground. “I want you to get up and help me fortify this place so we can both survive the night. Do you think you can do that?”

Bert eyed the crust on the floor and then looked up at the man that had broken into his home. “No.”

“No?”

“I am out here because I don’t like people. I don’t like conversations and interactions. It causes me anxiety and you broke into my house, forced your way in and are bringing more people here. I’m not going anywhere.”

Tolliver stared down at him with stern angry eyes. “Listen. Not if but when the people chasing me get here, if we can’t keep them out, you’re going to die.”

Bert glared back. “Why? Why me? I just want to be left alone. Why can’t I do that?”

“Wrong place, wrong time, wrong dietary choices,” Tolliver said. He started walking around and checking the locks on the windows. Bert didn’t understand the dietary comment and he didn’t care. He just wanted this to be over. He wanted to ask if he could just leave and let this man have his house, but he knew Tolliver would want to leave with him. It seemed the intruder didn’t realize Bert had a car as of yet. If he played his cards right, maybe he could get to it without Tolliver realizing.

Sighing, Bert got to his feet. “Tell me what to do.”

Tolliver was heading back towards the kitchen and he stopped and looked back at Bert. “If you have a gun, get it. I’m getting the rest of your tools. Maybe we can nail the windows shut or fix that door before they show up.”

Bert snorted. “If I had a gun do you think I would have tried to fight you off with a steak knife?”

“In my circle it would make sense, but fine. Just keep an eye out for people, and call me if you see anyone coming.”

Bert didn’t respond. He watched Tolliver stomp off and then he went to the door as asked, but he had his own ideas. Bert did his best to be quiet as he tugged the recliner out from under the doorknob. He eased it onto the floor and then looked over his shoulder checking for Tolliver. When he didn’t see him, he gently turned the knob and opened the door, cringing when it squealed, and doing his best not to think about the other man’s blood that had coated the knob and was now greasing his palm. Once it was open, Bert threw caution to the wind and ran out onto the porch, down the steps and around the drive for the garage.

There was someone standing by the door. They wore a button-down shirt with a western bolo tie, black jeans and matching boots, and a cowboy hat. Bert’s eyes widened and he skidded to a halt. Ah. You gotta be kidding me. The man took notice of him and started his way. Bert gasped and spun on his heel. Two more men, both in long overcoats and hats that shadowed their faces were making their way up the drive towards him. No. No, no, no.

Bert didn’t know what to do. If he went back inside he would be safe from these people for the time being but he would be stuck in there with the madman that broke his door and invaded his home. If he tried to get past the man by his garage he could fail and die but if he succeeded, he could get to the car. It seemed the better option.

A voice drew his attention and Bert turned with a start to find a woman clad in black with equally dark hair tied in a ponytail standing nearby, leaning on a tree with one arm. “Where is it? Is it inside?” she said to him. It? What? Am I supposed to know what she’s talking about?

There were too many of them. It felt like they were everywhere. How many more were out there in the trees or still coming? Bert couldn’t breathe. His eye caught a glint of something at the woman’s hip and he looked that way. There was a long blade hanging from a leather strap attached to her belt. These people were armed. Tolliver was right. He was going to die today. I wish I knew why.

“Answer the question,” the man by the garage said, walking his way. “Is it in the house?”

Bert was trembling. This was too many people, too fast, too much danger and stress, just too much. His eyes danced between them all. Then he made his decision and he turned and ran away from them, charging back up the steps and into the house. He slammed the door and hurried to wedge the recliner back in place.

Bert felt before he saw that Tolliver was staring at him. When he turned and actually did gaze upon the other man he thought, he looks pissed. Bert frowned. “They’re here,” he said, “at least four of them, maybe more, probably more, I don’t know.”

“Move,” Tolliver told him. There was no time to fix the door so he tried to seal it with the remainder of the roll of duct tape.

“Why are they after you?” Bert asked from behind him. “What did you do?”

Tolliver laughed but didn’t look back at him. “Do? I existed. That’s what I did. Even in 2022, some people are not so open-minded and progressive as we’d like to believe.”

“I think they called you ‘it’,” Bert said.

“I’m sure they did. That’s precisely my point. Do you have any other weapons than the steak knives in this house? You’re in the woods for God’s sake. Don’t you need weapons?”

“Again. Vegetarian. I don’t hunt or hurt animals.”

Tolliver slapped himself in the forehead. He rubbed at his eyes. “I’m just trying to make sure that neither of us dies here tonight. You don’t have a woodcutting axe or something? Anything. I could use a little help.”

“Help I can’t give,” Bert said with obvious frustration. “You have my kitchen knives and my hammer. That’s what I’ve got. I don’t plan for home invasions.”

“We know you’re in there,” a voice called from outside.

Tolliver growled and Bert curled in on himself. Bert wondered if he was inside his house with the good guy or the bad guy in this situation. His teeth looked sharp just now like he filed them or something. Please be the good guy.

“You’ve got to have something,” Tolliver said. “You don’t have a baseball bat?”

“Do I seem like someone who plays baseball? I want to be alone, not on a team.”

“Not everyone who owns a baseball bat, plays baseball,” Tolliver snarled. He whirled to face Bert as something slammed against the front door behind him. “Why of all houses, did I have to break into the weaponless vegetarian’s? Huh?”

Bert scoffed at him. This was exactly why he hated being around people, why they caused him such anxiety. This man was angry at him for not being a convenient enough victim for his liking. “Maybe it’s your own fault,” he said snidely. “Maybe you should blame yourself for choosing the house in the middle of the woods instead of a house somewhere in the suburbs. Maybe people living in seclusion are there for a reason. Maybe–”

Something shattered the window to his right but the duct tape over the glass held. It flexed inward but didn’t snap. Bert jumped and shivered. He should have called the police when he had the chance. If he had known then that more people would be coming behind the first, he would have. They will be getting in here soon. If I call the police now, they will arrive in time to find my body. This is one of the downsides to living in the middle of nowhere, but I didn’t think I would need the police out here. I thought that was one of the benefits. I didn’t think anyone would even know I was out here, never mind bother me. I thought I would just be contesting with raccoons.

Bert watched as fingers worked through the duct tape and tugged at it trying to create an opening. He watched as Tolliver gracefully and casually strode over and grabbed those fingers in his right hand. He used one of Bert’s kitchen knives, a non-serrated butcher knife, in his left hand to saw through them. It was slow and loud, the stainless steel grinding when it hit bone, but Tolliver forced his way through, snapping tendons like rubber bands until the digits plopped to the ground, one by one. Bert just looked on in horror as the person on the other side of the duct-taped window screamed and struggled, thrashing and creating a rolling wave of silver. The fingerless hand was gushing downward, a wave of crimson further ruining Bert’s carpet.

Bert put a hand to his mouth, trying to keep his bile down. He couldn’t take his eyes off of the fingers on his carpet, but he did when he felt Tolliver staring at him. “I did what I had to do, and there’s going to be a lot more of that. You need to put your big boy pants on and focus on survival.”

Bert took a deep breath. “Well that’s classically toxic,” he said. “Someone isn’t less of a man if they’re not cool with violence and murder.”

Tolliver grabbed a handful of Bert’s shirt. Bert’s eyes rolled down to look at the blood that still stained the hands that held his shirt and he grimaced. “Seriously?” Tolliver snarled as something banged against the front door again, moving the recliner pinned against it. “I’m beginning to think I need to change my tactic and just kill you.”

Bert was taken aback by the statement. He blinked several times. “Well, I’m glad that wasn’t in your original game plan. So what exactly was your plan?”

Tolliver huffed and released him. He spun to look at the already broken window by the door. The baking sheet was being pushed inward. The tape fixing it to the sill wouldn’t last forever. It was already starting to give. “My plan has always been to survive but it was also to remain human.”

Bert bit back his smart ass retort. Did the intruder mean that killing made him less than human? Perhaps he is one of those talk show crazies who thought he was a space alien. Maybe I’m going to find out if the moon is full tonight. He couldn’t help but think about the people outside referring to Tolliver as it. Finally, he said, “How?”

“By surviving without it, without you,” Tolliver said.

The metal pan broke free. It was still attached to the tape but it hung limply by the window’s side. Bert stared fearfully at the man on the other side, gun in hand, pointing through the window, a grim look upon his face. Tolliver moved faster than Bert would have thought possible. He flinched and looked away as his own hammer was brought down upon the wrist of the hand that held the gun. The man cried out and Bert heard the gun clatter to the floor. He couldn’t resist the urge to look back at the unfolding scene, but he regretted it when he actually did. Bert turned to look just as Tolliver jammed a steak knife into the man’s throat and a geyser of crimson erupted, splashing Bert in the face. He cried out as the dead man fell away past the open window.

“I thought killing wasn’t in the plan,” Bert said, feeling sick.

“Killing you wasn’t in the plan,” Tolliver said back as he bent to retrieve the gun from the floor. “These vermin won’t leave me alone if I don’t kill them. They definitely all need to die.”

Bert gave a long exhale as he wiped blood and bits of flesh from his eyes and mouth. He could taste the metallic coppery flavor in his stained mouth and it made him feel sick. “Well, okay then. Glad you found a more suitable weapon. I’m going to retire to my bedroom if you don’t mind. I want to be out of the path of any more flying fluids.”

“I do mind. You stay by me.” Tolliver looked at him, and Bert took a step back. The man’s face and hoodie had been hit by the blood spray as well. It gave him a wild, animalistic look. Bert wanted to argue, but he wasn’t going to argue with the man covered in the blood of his enemies. “And don’t look at me like that. Can you give me a towel or something to wipe it off?”

It took Bert a second to register what the man had actually asked him. I thought you said stay by you. Make up your mind. “Oh. Yeah. Right. Of course,” Bert said. He ran to the bathroom. The bathroom window was pushed open and there was an arm hanging in when he got there. Bert yelped and started beating at it wildly. The person the arm belonged to cussed and the arm pulled back. Bert snagged a towel off of his rack and hurried back to the living room to find the woman he had seen outside laying on the floor, her head turned at an awkward angle and her bulbous protruding eyes were now staring at nothing. Her neck bulged, a stray chunk of severed vertebrae breaking through the skin like it was trying to escape. Bert was staring at her as he extended the towel to Tolliver. “Is she?”

“Yes.”

Bert looked up to see Tolliver wipe his face. I guess I can just buy a new towel, Bert thought. What he said was, “Someone was coming through in the bathroom.”

Tolliver sighed. “I can’t watch all the entry points. You have to help me. Can you shoot if you did have a gun?”

“You’re going to give me the gun?” The gun that belonged to a killer? That has probably been used in a million crimes and I’m going to get my fingerprints all over? Not to mention I could just shoot you with it.

Tolliver rolled his eyes. “You wouldn’t be foolish enough to try to shoot me with it after seeing what happened to the last guy.”

Bert reached out and accepted the gun. “Fair point,” he said. “Dad taught my brother and I to shoot young. I haven’t done it in a long time because I don’t like guns and what they bring to the world, but I know how.”

“Touching story,” Tolliver said. “Just face the bedroom and anyone you see, shoot.”

Bert shook his head. “If I do, it’ll be in the arm or leg or something. I’m not like you. I can’t…” Bert looked down at the dead woman’s fat tongue lolling out the side of her mouth like a golden retriever on a car ride that got stung by a bee. “Do that.”

“Whatever makes you happy,” Tolliver said. “Just know that they won’t give the same courtesy.”

“Why? Why is any of this happening?”

Tolliver sighed. “Some people don’t believe in progress. They think people are what they are and that’s all they’ll ever be. They don’t give anyone the chance to change and if someone does change, they work their asses off to prove the person didn’t change at all.”

Bert raised an eyebrow. “I’m assuming the person in this incredibly vague story is you. So I might die because of cancel culture? I’m in the woods. I tried to cancel myself. What are a group of armed killers trying to prevent you from changing? Do they want to prove that you’re still a killer, because….”

Tolliver shook his head. He pulled a necklace from his shirt and held a cross emblem in his hand. “God is testing me,” he said, closing his eyes and kissing it. “He led me to you as a test of my willpower.”

Bert saw movement go past the broken window and he raised the gun and fired. The shot was loud and sheetrock exploded. Tolliver flinched and looked at him like he’d gone mad. “You missed them, and almost hit me,” he said. “Switch.”

Bert looked at the steak knife the man was holding out to him and he shook his head. “I feel better with the gun.”

“Well, we know you know how to use the steak knife because you nailed my damned hand to the door. Just take it and give me the gun.”

“No.”

A gunshot came from behind Bert, from way of the bedroom. It sliced through his shoulder and chipped away at the wall beside Tolliver’s head. Tolliver snarled in response, dropped to one knee and hurled the steak knife. Bert, holding his shoulder, spun around in time to see the steak knife imbed itself between a stranger’s shocked eyes, a thin line of red running past the bridge of his crooked nose. He dropped to the ground with a hard thump.

“I told you to watch the damn bedroom,” Tolliver growled from behind him.

“You also told me to give you the gun. Now I’ve been shot.”

Tolliver grabbed him hard and yanked him closer, tugging his injured arm for a better look. Bert yelped in pain. Tolliver inspected the wound and then pushed him back. “It’s little more than a cut. You’ll live.”

“Still hurts,” Bert said bitterly. “I’ll watch the bedroom, but you gotta move the body.”

Tolliver snarled and lunged at him. He squeezed his hands into fists. “Move it yourself if you want it moved. I’m this close to ripping your throat out and becoming the monster these people want me to be. I will bleed you dry.” Well, that’s really freaking nice.

Bert really wanted to fire off back at him but he was smart enough to realize that he was pushing the man too far. The guy was obviously dangerous. He’d proven that well enough already. Bert bit his tongue, tucked the gun into his pants, and walked over to the body on the floor of his bedroom. Doing his best not to look at it, he grabbed a limb and dragged it around behind his bed where it was out of sight.

He went to move back when he heard a click and the quietly spoken word, “Don’t.”

Bert froze. A chill ran through him and made him tremble. “Please don’t kill me,” he said quietly.

“Do you know what that is, that you’re hiding and helping?” the voice whispered into his ear. “Do you understand what is waiting for us both in the other room?”

“I know he’s a killer but are you any better,” Bert said. “All of you broke into my house.” Bert immediately shut his eyes and kicked himself for being so bad at keeping his mouth shut. This is one reason I don’t interact with people. I’m no good at it. My filters don’t work as well as other people’s. Part of being an aspie, I suppose.

“What’s going on in there?” Tolliver called from the other room. Bert almost sighed with relief when he realized that Tolliver wouldn’t be coming. He couldn’t abandon the broken window and door. “Hurry up and get back. I said to stay by me.”

“Tell the monster you’re fine,” the voice said into Bert’s ear. Something hard pressed against his head to drive the point home.

Bert licked his lips and took a deep breath. “Nothing,” he called back to Tolliver. “Watching this bathroom window. It’s wide open now.”

“Good,” the voice said from behind him. “Now I’m going to back up and I want you to slowly head for that bathroom window. Go out of it. If you run in any direction, I’ll put you down like a rabid dog.”

Bert swallowed the lump that had risen in his throat and he nodded.

“If we find that you’re aiding him, or worse that you’re like him, we’ll come for you next. If you really are just caught up in this, you’ll be safe and free to go once you’re outside.”

Bert felt the person behind him move away. He swallowed again and turned towards the bathroom very slowly, his eyes rolling to the side for a glance at the man that held him at gunpoint. He couldn’t get a good look. A loud crash sounded from the other room and was followed by a series of thumps and bangs. Bert’s breath seized in his chest. He trembled as he walked one step at a time towards the bathroom.

I can’t believe I’m doing this, he thought. When he reached the doorway to the bathroom, Bert eyed the window that was in fact wide open now and then he closed his eyes and exhaled. Tugging the gun from his pants he spun on his heel and fired before he even got a good look at the man he was shooting at. There was a bang and then a thud and the guy went down. Bert, heart racing and pounding, went back into the bedroom for a closer look, and to see if he had actually just killed someone. He hoped he didn’t. That wasn’t something he was ready to live with.

The man on the ground looked up at him, his face a portrait of agony. Bert’s eyes moved to the dying man’s hand and saw that it was gunless. He followed a straight line across the floor to his dresser and saw where it lay. Then he looked back at the man. The guy’s breathing was shallow, his hand on the growing stain spreading through the shirt on his chest, crimson drool running out the side of his mouth. He wasn’t dead but he would be before long if he didn’t get immediate medical attention. Then Bert the loner, would be, Bert the murderer. Because that’s what I need. I should have run for the car when I had the chance.

“That thing will kill you,” the man coughed, spraying a bloody spittle that Bert turned away from. Still, he could feel it wet his shoulder. “It’ll kill us all.”

Bert could feel someone’s presence and he looked towards the doorway. Tolliver stood in it, looking at him. He was even bloodier than he had been earlier, his long hair matted to his head and clumped with red. It was caked all over his face, crusting his eyes, cheeks and chin. “He was the last of this wave,” Tolliver said. “You did well, but there’ll be more, so I need to requisition your car. You do have a car right?”

Bert took a deep breath and walked up to stare the man in the face. He searched Tolliver’s eyes for a moment but found nothing out of the ordinary. “I’m not giving you my car. I’ll take you where you want to go, but I’m driving. We’re both misfits. I get that much, but before we go anywhere, you need to tell me what these people think you are. Why do they want you dead?”

Tolliver sighed and walked back into the living room. Bert followed him and immediately gagged at what he saw. The front door was wide open, the recliner on its back on the floor nearby. There was a man bent backwards, draped over the back of the couch like a blanket, his head bashed in, most likely with the hammer. Rivulets of crimson ran down from his concave skull, over his smashed and broken barely discernible face to pool on the couch cushion. One lone eyeball hung from the mess that used to be a face and it stared directly at Bert. Gah. Even in a life or death situation is it necessary to be that brutal?

Bert put a hand to his mouth and turned away from the grisly scene, but in his mind he saw the violence play out, a wild Tolliver smashing the person in the face over and over as their bones broke and the face fell in on itself, like they were no more than a clay sculpture filled with blood. That blood and more had sprayed everywhere. When Bert opened his eyes, he sighed with disgust. His living room was covered. The windows, furniture, carpet, broken door and even the ceiling wore a fresh coat of red.

“They want me dead because I already am,” Tolliver said to him, drawing Bert’s attention away from the gore. “I’m a vampire, or at least I was. I detoxed. Starving myself of blood returned my mortality. Abstaining made me human again, but one drink will bring it all back. I can taste it on my lips and I’m craving it so bad, but it’s merely physical. I want to stay human, to live a normal life, but these people won’t ever see me as anything other than what I used to be. In my other state, there’s little they can do to me. I’m immortal, but in this more human state, I’m susceptible to things just like you are, you know… like a steak knife to the hand. They’re trying to force me into a situation where my life is in danger and I have to drink in order to stay alive. It’ll prove I’m a monster. I didn’t want to give them that satisfaction but you were making it really tempting every time you opened your mouth.”

Bert dropped his hand and glared at this man that had broken into his home and brought all this chaos and violence into his life. “You asshole,” he said, and Tolliver actually looked surprised. “You made fun of me for being a vegetarian, you hypocrite.”

Tolliver chuckled and shook his head. “That’s the part you’re upset about.”

“Why did you want the steak if it would turn you back?”

Tolliver sighed. “I thought if I needed to be immortal to survive, I could at least do it without killing a human.”

Bert thought for a moment. “When you had that blood all over your face, was it tempting?”

“It still is, all of it. I can smell it, taste it on my tongue, feel it inside, calling to me.”

“And yet you asked me to get you a towel.”

Tolliver met his eyes and nodded. “I could use another.”

“Alright,” Bert told him. “That’s good enough for me. I’ve never much cared for what people think. There’s more towels in the linen closet. I’ll meet you in the car.” Fishing his keys from his pocket, Bert walked past a dumbfounded Tolliver, through the broken front door of his house, and out into the night.

As he reached the car, Bert could hear someone racing up behind him and his heart jumped. He turned and sighed with relief to see it was just Tolliver. Strange world when you’re relieved to see the man that broke into and destroyed your house and made you an accomplice to murder.

Bert used the keyless entry to unlock the car with a couple of loud beeps and both men turned to look for threats. When they saw none, they opened the doors and got in, quickly closing them. As Bert started the car, he looked at Tolliver and asked, “The garlic and the cross?”

Tolliver snorted. “All rubbish. Made up movie nonsense.”

“Figures,” Bert said as he backed the car out of the garage.

“So why are you coming with me? Is it just because I wrecked your house?”

Bert’s eyes were on the road when he answered. “No. It’s because we’re both different. We’re both alone. We both just ache to be normal and okay, and feel like the world won’t let us. I don’t like being around other people, but I feel like you might get it.”

Tolliver just nodded and turned to gaze out the window. Then he yelled, “Look out!”

Someone came tearing out of the woods, running straight for their car, arm raised high, holding an axe, a wooden stake in the hand tucked at their hip. Bert just pushed down on the gas and accelerated. They hit the charging man head-on and he flew into the air only to land back on the hood of the car in a mess of tangled limbs, his wild face smushed against the glass of the windshield. Bert slammed the brakes and the man toppled off like a marionette with severed strings. Without hesitation, Bert drove the car over him and it jostled him around like he was going too fast over a speed bump. Tolliver was looking at him with shock and awe and what Bert hoped was a little bit of respect and admiration. Bert just smiled and watched the passing trees. I’m already riding with a vampire, he thought. Maybe we’ll find bigfoot out here too.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Chisto Healy
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Chisto Healy


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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