When I got up this morning, there was a pot of hot coffee ready. That’s all. End of story.
Oh, except for the part about how I live alone. And I did not make that coffee.
Oh, and guess what: It’s Halloween! O-o-o-o-o-h! And I just happen to live in The Last House on the Left. O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-h! Coincidence? I think not.
I looked around nervously. Could there be someone hiding in the garage who had prepared the elixir? And if so, did he make it for me, or for himself? (Of course it would be a he.) Was he just about to pour a steaming cup when he heard me stumbling down the hall? Was he out there now, fists clenched in frustration, whispering, “Rats” – or worse? (After all, that’s where I keep the chainsaw.)
And if he made it for me, what was his motivation? To scare the living bejesus out of me? Or get me fully awake for the horror to come?
But no, the door to the garage was locked with a deadbolt on the kitchen side. He couldn’t have slipped through that door and then locked it, too.
I poured my coffee, added cream and sugar, humming softly like everything was normal. I started meandering about the house, cup in hand, acting casual. I caressed the leather sofa in the living room and then peered over; was he behind it? No… I set my cup on the bar in the party room; was he crouched underneath it? No… I glanced toward the fireplace; was he standing erect inside, with just his jeans and jackboots showing? No…
I continued wandering. Down the hall, into the guest room to gaze out at the sunny day; was he pressed up against the wall behind the curtains? No… I stepped into the office, turned the computer on while looking back over my shoulder into the closet; was he lurking there? No… In the guest bath, I put the toilet lid down while I peeked behind the dreaded Psycho shower curtain; but was there a figure with a raised arm holding a big knife? No.
At that point I breathed a sigh of relief. I had exhausted the possibilities. Because he couldn’t be in the same master suite from which I had just emerged minutes before.
Well, clearly I spend too much time with Investigation Discovery TV. Yes, I watch serial murderers while grading student papers. It tempers my desire to kill. (No, not my students; the grade school/middle school/high school teachers who somehow managed NOT to teach them how to write using proper English grammar, punctuation and spelling. Now that’s a horror. But I digress.)
Secure in the knowledge that there was no hatchet-wielding psychopath in my immediate vicinity, my mind turned to other possibilities. Could I have made the coffee myself? That was impossible. I had gotten up around 4:00 to pee, but I went straight back to sleep.
I do sometimes set the coffee pot up before I go to bed, meaning that I put in the filter, the French Market New Orleans coffee, the water, and a dash of cinnamon (mmm). But I don’t set the timer because I’m too lazy to get out the instruction booklet that came with it and figure out how. Especially when it’s 10:30 and I’ve already been dozing on the couch, or I can’t wait to get back to that great novel that’s open on my Kindle.
Could I have accidentally set the timer while fumbling with the pot? Perhaps it had been previously set for 7:00 a.m. and had just dripped its last drop when I came into the kitchen. Frankly, that’s the only explanation that makes any sense to me.
I never considered the possibility that it might have been a ghost or a goblin or a zombie or some other kind of non-human perpetrator. Even the shows I watch are all about true crime and forensics. I’m the I Fucking Love Science type, not the metaphysics type.
But I do know this: It was almost an other-worldly experience to get up to the smell of that coffee, already made.
So I think I’ll just go and dig out that instruction manual now, while I’m wide awake.
Care to share a spooky story of your own?
I’ve played Elvira for many a Halloween.
This year I decided to kick it up a notch with