There was a slight chill in the air as Jill finished raking the leaves in her yard on that fall evening. She had gotten used to living alone in her old, big house in the country since her husband had left her the previous year. Jill still had Coors, her faithful lab, who never really liked the man anyway. Jill was happier now, and didn’t mind doing all of the chores that came along with having a large yard.
The sun was setting and the shadows cast along the ground seemed to crawl next to her as Jill went to put the rake in the shed. Coors had been facing the shed, barking for what seemed like most of the evening. Jill didn’t pay much attention since there was probably a rabbit or mouse he had corned in the building. She was sure she had shut the door earlier, but it was open slightly.
The breeze had died down, but the chill she felt on her hand in the cool air as she reached for the handle to the shed suddenly sent a shiver down her spine. As Jill opened the door, she was startled as she saw a pair of eyes glaring back amidst the darkness of the building. She quickly shut the door, pressing against it hard.
Did she really see what she thought she saw? Jill took a deep breath, quickly having the possibilities of what light from the nearing sunset might be reflecting off of inside the shed. Coors was standing behind her, still barking, seemingly not knowing what he should do. Jill took another deep breath, tightened her grip on the wooden handle of the rake, and swung the door open.
Jill peered into the darkness, bracing herself for whomever or whatever was in there. She clumsily reached into the black hole and pulled the string to turn on the light. Braced and yielding her rake, she stared into the shed, glancing over the tools, lawnmower, hoses, and yet did not come across any set of eyes. Jill sighed. She turned her head around to look at the sun, to check to see if there was as much light coming from the sky as she thought. With the dark of night closing in, she slowly turned her head around to look into the shed again, feeling as though there was indeed a set of eyes resting upon her. Coors, though he had stopped barking, was still dancing behind her nervously.
Jill cautiously looked into the shed, still seeing nothing. She relaxed and let out a hefty sigh. Coors was standing at attention now, waiting for Jill’s next move. She assured him it must have been a reflection, or a furry animal who escaped quietly. Jill turned off the light, shut the door and encouraged Coors to follow her up to the house.
As she entered the kitchen, darkness encompassed the house outside as the sun slipped beneath night’s curtain. Jill decided a cup of lavender tea would help soothe and calm her, and started water on the stove. She didn’t notice the crash of the coffee cup breaking on the floor after falling from her hand as she stared out the window into the backyard. Through the onset of the black veil of night, Jill could make out the shape of the shed. The door to the shed was open, this time all the way.
Jill reached for the phone, ready to dial 911. Then she paused – thinking there had to be a reasonable explanation. An animal. The wind had picked up and caught the door. The creaky hinge had finally broken.
Jill grabbed her flashlight, cell phone and the baseball bat that was resting at the back door. She called Coors, who whined as he laid down on the kitchen floor. Jill shrugged her trembling shoulders as she flipped on the back porch light, opened the door, and gave Coors one more chance to go outside with her, which he did.
Jill called out, warning whatever might be inside the shed that she had a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it. Hearing no movement, Jill neared the open door. She sent the beam from the flashlight into the shed. Coors was standing back, nervously rocking on his feet. Seeing nothing again, Jill let a sigh of relief. This time, she pushed the shed door shut as hard as she could, wedging an old board underneath the handle to secure it.
While making the door secure, Jill had noticed Coors was barking again, and told him to be quite so as not to bother the distant neighbors. She turned around to tell him again, expecting him to be right behind her.
Jill’s body tightened. Coors had stopped barking – and he was no longer there. The chill that had traveled through her body earlier engulfed her now, though there was a dark, empty feeling that was with it. Her kitchen and back porch lights were now off, making the house several shades deeper of darkness. The back door to the house was wide open. She was sure she had shut it…