The human mind never fails to become acutely aware of every creak and thump when it is alone. No matter how familiar the arena, Anxiety convinces us that a pale, dead-eyed face will appear in the window just when the night outside is darkest, or that the heartbeat thudding so loudly, is not our own.
It is in this state that we find Officer Thomas Wilder, lying on his back staring unblinkingly at the ceiling. The cot under him jerks unstably as he stands and shuffles to his work desk, covered in stacks of paper, to see the face of his small clock. The hands move slower than he thought he had ever seen. The clock ticks like the beat of a drum played upon before hangings.
Officer Wilder glances behind himself at the door and then slides the thermometer into his mouth again, the metallic aftertaste calms his nerves for a single second in which he takes in a deep breath through his nose. He has been doing this obsessively in the past hour ever since resolving that cigarettes were doing no good to his flu-tormented lungs. Again, he looks to the door. There is no change. About half-an-hour before, his landlady had visited briefly to bring him evening tea and attempted yet again to straighten his desk’s chaotic nature. She’d dropped the thermometer in a mug of hot water, saying with a shake of her bony finger to the young officer’s face, “It’s no good to keep on contaminating it without a cleaning once in a while.” And she had left him alone again.
Wilder dares not even yawn for the thought that his eyes might close and give the assailant, that he is sure hides in the corner, time enough to creep up and strangle him.
This, however, is not how the poor officer meets his end that dark, overcast night.
He crawls back to his bed. However, before he is able to climb inside, his hands began to tremble so severely that he could no longer take hold of the bedside. Then his legs, then his torso. It continues till his whole body was in violent spasms. Officer Wilder begins to screams and wails in pain as his blood seems to be melting him from the inside, but before anyone can hear him, a dark figure leaps down from their perch on the bookcase and shoves a hand over his mouth.
A hooded face leans down by Wilder’s ear and hisses, “Lucy.”
The figure stands and leaves the room silent as a cold breeze. Thomas Wilder lies on the floor, and in a last desperate moment, struggling for breath, his eyes see no more. He is dead.