The carving on the inside of my closet appearing the Monday after one of Thom’s weekend stays was more than enough to wipe out all of the good vibes he had built up. I was done with Thom, or anyone else renting my place from that day forward. The manager of my favorite bar in town had told me that I could make extra money bartending on the weekend if I ever wanted to and it would be enough to make up for the rental money I would miss out on.
Things had gone well for the first few weeks of avoiding Thom and renting out my place. I was actually making more money in tips bartending than I was renting my place out. I also brought myself a little peace of mind by convincing myself that the carving had probably been there since before I had moved in, but I had just never noticed it. It was tucked back towards the side of the closet where the clothes I rarely wear were hung.
All of this false comfort would come crumbling in the middle of one cold night.
I shivered myself to a fragile sleep under three blankets to the sounds of whipping winds blustering against the walls of my upstairs bedroom when a stiff knock upon the front door shook the entire house. In the five months that I had lived the in house, no one had ever knocked upon the door, let alone at 3 AM on the coldest night of the year.
I stayed underneath my cover of blankets, like a child, thinking that they might protect from the terror that was likely lurking just outside of my front door and maybe the knocking would just go away.
Another barrage of pounding rattled the cold bones of the old house.