The Calm before the Storm | Teen Ink

The Calm before the Storm

April 4, 2022
By KoriKent BRONZE, Thane, Other
KoriKent BRONZE, Thane, Other
3 articles 2 photos 0 comments

Lightning flashes in quick succession, followed by thunder rumbling past. Rain pelts down from the angry sky, blocking the moon with dark clouds. In the light of the flashes of lightning, a lone figure is seen running down the street. Dripping wet, Jonathan reaches his apartment building and walks up three flights of steps to his flat. The living room is in darkness as he opens the door and goes in. Jonathan gropes over the wall in search of the light switch and flips it. Lights flood the room and he heaves a sigh of relief. "At least the power wasn't knocked out by the storm," he said to himself as he tiptoed to the bathroom to take off his soaked clothes.

Now clad in dry clothes, he walks to the living room and switches on the television; an action scene from a movie is playing on the first channel. Jonathan reduces the volume to barely audible and makes his way to the kitchen to get dinner. He cooks some instant noodles and sits on the couch. He eats his dinner, eyes glued to the movie playing on the screen. There is a flash of lightning and suddenly the apartment is drenched in darkness. Jonathan curses at the blanking of the screen and gets up to find his phone. He had left it on the side table near the door. He switches on the flashlight on his phone and turns away from the table, only to bump into something on the floor. By the light of the mobile phone, Jonathan sees a black shadow darker than the rest of the apartment which is lit up occasionally by the lightning outside. He stumbles and falls, the shadow disappears. He lay on the floor, his heart beating like a piston, threatening to jump out of his chest.

Jonathan picks himself up and runs to the bedroom, diving into bed and under the covers. He stays there crouched under the sheets but then sits up. He smacks his forehead, "Seriously, it was just my mind playing tricks on me." He scoffs at himself for getting scared so easily and gets out of bed. He walks back to the dark living room, still cautiously. Light suddenly floods the room and Jonathan jumps in fright but it is just the lights coming back on.

Jonathan heaves a sigh and spots the phone lying on the floor in front of the couch. He looks at the side table from where he picked up the phone. He looks confused because he had been standing near the table before he ran to the bedroom. “Did I fling it away?” says Jonathan to himself, scratching his head as he bent to pick up the phone.

The flashlight was off which Jonathan chalked up to him flinging the phone away. The impact must have switched it off. He pressed the button to switch on the screen and the screen flashed on to the camera app open. The word “RECORDING” was blinking with a red dot beside it. Confused, Jonathan stopped the ongoing recording and the video was saved in his gallery. Jonathan, being the technical buff that he was, transferred all his files to his computer and viewed them on a bigger screen. He sent the recording to his cloud files and then opened his laptop to view the video. He placed the video on the coffee table in front of the couch and sat down.

The storm was still raging outside but there was a sort of static electricity in the air that made the hair on Jonathan's arm stand up. It felt like the calm before the storm but Jonathan shrugged it off. He opened the video on his computer and played it. The screen was blank for quite some time. Then there was a flash of light and the impact of the mobile on the floor. Jonathan was able to connect this with what had happened; this was the part where he ran off like a scared cat. Scoffing at his foolishness, he focused on the blank screen as the video was still playing. In the flashes of lightning from outside, Jonathan spotted a dark shape making its way across the screen. He sat there transfixed at what he was seeing. He couldn't make out what it was; the only thing he spotted was that it jumped towards the television as soon as the lights came back on. The video ended with Jonathan picking the phone up and switching off the recording.

Jonathan still transfixed, shut the laptop and slowly looked up towards the television. He saw a small scratch at the corner of the screen which was not there the last time he checked. With a shaking hand, he picked up the remote and clicked on the red button to start the device. The television screen flickered and with it so did the overhead lights. Jonathan looked all around at the flickering and suddenly was plunged into darkness. But the television screen emitted a blue light, in the light of which Jonathan sat stock-still, his face pale and palms sweaty. His heartbeat sky-rocketed and before his fearful eyes, a figure emerged from the screen. A tall, hooded figure in flowing robes. A grotesque face with disfigured hands, a frightening smile on its equally frightening face. A croaking whisper came from its face, "Finally, food. I've been waiting so long."

The storm stopped early the next morning. A lone figure came riding a bicycle, a basket full of newspapers, balanced precariously on the back. he threw a bundle of newspapers on the doorstep of the apartment building and rode off. On the front cover was the headline of the latest news, fresh off the press. "Missing peoples' case: Mysterious disappearances with no witnesses." Reports state that people have been disappearing off the face of the Earth and till now we have no new information from the local authorities.

The author's comments:

I entered an intercollegiate short story writing contest and the theme was Urban Legends. I was inspired by the Area 52 legend of aliens and extraterrestrials and wanted to use that. That is what the story is based on.

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