This is a short story which was made as a response to the challenge in Sara’s blog. In the blog post, she proposes a challenge to write about a light located at the apartment across the window, which doesn’t seem to turn off. No matter when you look at it, it’s there… This is my contribution. To add a twist to it, I also recorded it as a video, enjoy!
Disturbance in the night
It was a stormy night in the middle of August and I was drastically woken up by a loud noise and light filling my room. This weather wasn’t a joke, I was amazed that the windows hadn’t cracked yet, since the stormy winds outside really gave it a good attempt.
I went to the window to look out into the stormy nights and was met by wind and storm and darkness. No, in fact, it wasn’t all darkness, a brim light shine through one of the windows across the street. I wasn’t surprised, the window had been shining for many days now. Once I had been kinda intrigued and I tried to keep count on how many days it would take before the light was turned off. This was many days ago and it was a long time ago that I lost track of the days.
Now it was just common knowledge, the window was always bright. But this time something was off… I tried clicking my own light-switch, it didn’t turn on. I went out of my room and tried clicking the light switch in the stairs outside… it didn’t work. I went inside the room again; the lightning had caused an outage.
I looked out again, met again by the darkness and the brimming light across the street. This was unexpected, I could think of no reason whatsoever which would enable the lone window to keep shining, even if it hadn’t been in the middle of the night the outage should have put it out!
I kept staring at the window, puzzled and unable to think of a reason, when all of a sudden I saw the shape of a figure fill the window. What a chock! I felt goosebumps crawling up on my neck and kept looking directly towards the figure in the window. The figure was shaped as a man but at the same time something felt a bit strange, this person didn’t have the same energy as a normal person. Something sinister seemed to emit from him… or her.
The person suddenly vanished, just as quickly as it had appeared. I didn’t know what to do, I tried going back to sleep but I just couldn’t shake the sinister feeling that had been cast on me. I went up and tried going to the bathroom just to have something to do, but oh right the lights were still of from the outage. There was also another problem, the toilet on the second floor was broken and I had to go all the way to the first floor.
Since I couldn’t sleep I decided this was worth it, even if I had to walk slowly through the dark hall and down the winding staircase. I started walking, slowly as to not fall on any items laying around. There were not much to step on except for a few cans and bottles from the latest party, but it would still be annoying to have to clean up if there were any cans that were still full.
I stepped slowly through the room, only once briefly touching my foot against a half drunk wine bottle. As I got to the stairs it was a breeze to go all the way down to the hallway. But as I got down panic struck me as I saw the main entrance standing wide open!
Was there someone in here? I looked around in the house and yelled hearing my voice crack halfway through the sentence:
– is anyone in here?
No one responded, well I hadn’t really expected to hear any response either. Somehow I was almost relieved when suddenly I heard something rustling in the kitchen.
I quickly grabbed the object closest to me, an empty bottle of scotch and started to slowly move towards the kitchen. In it, I saw something incredibly disturbing. A man with the head of a dog was looking into the fridge. As I entered he leaned slightly back and flipped his head backward. We got eye contact and I saw how he started to smile awkwardly,
– better eat the food now right? The power outage will ruin it anyway.
I nodded in pure disbelief of what I was just witnessing.
– Yeah sure, take whatever you want.
The man-dog took something, I couldn’t really see what. And then turned around, any item he had taken must have been small enough to be placed in a pocket because I couldn’t see anything,
– You know… I could actually need your help.
– Oh yeah, with what?
I didn’t really understand what was happening so, for now, I just played along.
– I happened to see that you were looking at me. I didn’t really think anyone was up at this hour so I rushed here immediately, I desperately need your help… you see, I happened to make an error while doing an experiment and now I can’t really finish it alone…
The man-dog smirked and looked directly at me. I understood the hint.
– Oh, you want me to come with you and finish the experiment? You live in the house with the lamp?
The man-dog grinned.
– Yes and yes… it’s good that you understand, now follow me we can’t waste more time.
I wouldn’t usually have followed a random person like that. But perhaps it was the longing for adventure which I’d felt for far too long, perhaps it was the fact that I talked with a man-dog… I didn’t really know why but all of a sudden I found myself rushing along the street towards his apartment with the brimming window, up the stairs and after entering a door with an unusually large frame I was there.
– So yeah welcome to my place, let me show you the room.
Yes finally! I’d get to see the room and why it was always shining. For some reason, this felt even more important than the fact that I just met a man-dog and followed him to his apartment.
As we entered the room I was stunned, and that’s saying something considering what had been going on so far. The brim light coming from the room originated from brightly glowing rune-like symbols located in a strange pattern on the wall. The light coming from the symbols were mostly white, but I could swear that I saw hints of other colors mingled in the white, just barely strong enough to be discerned.
– What is this? I asked my voice filled with part amazement and part disbelief.
– This, my newfound friend, replied the man-dog.
– This is a portal to another dimension! Or at least it’s supposed to be.
I looked at the symbols, by now I didn’t even reflect on the absurdity of what the man-dog just said. The whole situation was already so crazy. But a portal to another dimension? I was intrigued.
– What do you mean?
– Well, obviously it’s not working right now. But in theory, it should be able to allow you to travel anywhere. The only thing remaining to do now is to align the runes on the wall correctly and the portal should open. I thought But it’s difficult, I’ve been trying for many days now but I can’t seem to get it right.
Aha! So it was this that had caused the light from the window all these days! I could never in my wildest dreams have figured that it could be this.
I looked hard at the runes on the wall, it looked like they aligned to some pattern. And I began to recognize it, two days earlier I had been sitting in my room alone reading a column in some magazine about star constellations. There was Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, and Taurus. The runes on the wall represented almost perfect illustrations of each of these star constellations, only the complex Scorpio seemed to be a bit off.
– May I?
– Of course.
I slowly walked to the wall and rearranged the runes, it was surprisingly easy, the runes felt like small magnets that easily could be dragged along the wall. As I worked the man-dog picked out a packet of hot dogs from his pocket and started eating.
As soon as the runes were rearranged correctly a loud bang sounded through the room, and a strong wave of force pushed me through the room all the way to the man-dog.
– What the…?
A bright green light started to fill the room as small surges of lightning merged the runes together. A thundering sound gradually became louder until it suddenly vanished. A large portal big enough to engulf a man had formed before us.
– Holy crap, you actually did it! The man-dog said with his voice filled with amazement.
– Yeah, I guess I just did.
– Want to see what’s on the other side?
I nodded, I didn’t really think but even if I had been thinking, what was cooler than this? And so we started going towards the portal. Towards adventure.