My small house, sitting lonely in the countryside, holds up well against the storm. It handles its share of battering wind and rain surprisingly well. I had thought that the building's structures would be weak, which would have explained why it was so cheap on the market. But I have yet to find a problem with my new, cozy little house, even during one of the country's worst storms in five years.
The terrible weather woke me early on my first morning here. Trying to get back to sleep with the racket outside would be a fruitless attempt, so I get up and shuffle to the kitchen. A fairly modern kitchen for such an isolated place, with a large glass sliding door facing the back garden: a narrow rectangle of grass that stretches far, littered with some trees down the bottom, and enclosed by a sturdy fence. The storm is raging this morning, and the far off trees bend backwards against the force of the wind. The rain relentlessly drenches the glass, cascading down it like a waterfall.
I turn to the kettle, deciding to start my day-in with a cup of tea. As the kettle boils, I take a good hard look around the kitchen. It still feels to good to be true. There must be some problem with his house. Yet the worktops aren't scratched, the appliances aren't broken and the walls aren't falling apart. I begin to stroll around the room, inspecting the tiled floor as the kettle begins to whistle. Finding nothing, I turn toward the glass door, expecting to find the torrential rain leaking through its borders.
I find not a leak, but a young man standing outside. The shock takes me back a step before I can determine that he is not a threat - his casual t-shirt and jeans stick to his body, soaked through and through, his tall frame equalling the height of the door. His young face is pinched tight, struggling to see through the early morning darkness and the weather. He looks to be in his twenties. His knuckles tap against the wet glass door, but I cannot hear the noise they make over the howling wind. He moves his lips, and I assume he's asking me to let him in.
I hurry to the door, anxious to get him inside out of the storm, and yank on the handle. It's locked, and I signal to the man "One moment!". I scavenge the kitchen drawers and cupboards - Where the hell was that key? I find it eventually and rush to unlock the door. I slide it back without resistance and am immediately assaulted by wind and rain. I instinctively shield my face before reaching out to the man.
But my hand doesn't find him. Startled, I look up again, and can no longer see a figure in front of me. Only the grey haze of the storm. I peer harder into the rain, but cannot see him anywhere.
Realising the rate at which myself and my kitchen were being drenched, I tugged the door back into place, locking it again and leaving the key in the handle.
The next morning I wake early again, once more to the fault of the continuing storm. And once again, I don't bother trying to go back to sleep. I trudge through to the kitchen, making a point to glance at the door before switching on the kettle again.
I try to focus on the sound of the water while adamantly staring at the worktop. I try to think of everything except my back door. I try to push the image out of my thoughts. But still I turn around, and find the man back at my door.
He knocks on the glass, more aggressively this time but I still can't hear the sound it makes. Nor can I hear his shouts. He's definitely shouting this time, and he looks angry. Angry at me? I had stayed and looked out for him all day, but he never came back - he has no reason to be angry at me!
I stalk up to the door, unlocking the already placed key, eager to let him in and set him straight. I throw the door open and glare at the man-
Who no longer stands before me.
I pull the door shut without hesitation this time, but keep staring through the glass at the spot where he stood.
The storm continues to rage on, showing no signs of easing off any time soon, and for three more mornings he stands at my door again, banging at the glass, and demanding he be let in. But I am too angry with him to even try. I discover that if I do not try to let him in, he will disappear the next time I go to the kitchen. So I ignore his silent protests and go about my business as usual, throwing the occasional glare his way in the morning.
As the mornings passed, it got easier and easier to ignore him, to leave the angry man outside in the storm. So as I am woken up early on the sixth morning, I expect no challenge as I crawl to the kitchen.
I switch on the kettle as usual, and don't bother to look at the door. This morning, I won't even give him acknowledgement, not even in the form of a glare. I make my tea and take a seat with my back to the door. For a couple of minutes I sit calmly as normal, only the sounds of the storm breaking the silence. But something feels wrong. This morning, it isn't as easy to ignore him. More than usual, I feel the need to turn around, to see him. I'd like to think I could hold my resolve and stay determined, but only after another minute of awful tension do I turn to the glass door.
There he stands, in his usual spot as expected. But today, he does not look angry with me. He looks scared. He looks terrified. He silently slams his hand against the slippery glass and yells to me, pleading, begging. I get up, and guilt slowly drags me forward. He keeps looking back over his shoulder, and his eyes are getting wider. I inch closer. Is his face wet, or is he crying?
I reach the door handle and hesitate. He is screaming now, and his body shakes. But it's one last look at his desperate eyes that melts my will, and I pull the door handle.
He disappears again, and I am about to charge out into the storm and hunt for him, furious with him for tricking me yet again. But the sight of my glass door stops me: the heavy rain that normally runs down the slick glass is now thick with blood. Red is splattered wide across the entire door, and slowly runs down with the rain water.
I watch it until the last drop reaches the bottom. Until his blood is washed away.
The next morning starts as is now the norm, with the storm as my early wake-up call. I dread making my way down to the kitchen, not sure what to expect at my door. I turn on the kettle. A deep breath. I cautiously turn to face the glass door...
And there he stands. In his usual spot, in front of the door now streaked with the messy blood stains he left behind. I hadn't thought to properly clean it. I didn't want to.
He is unmoving, expressionless. He only stares straight ahead of him.
Gingerly, I step to the door and slide it open. He disappears again. I knew he would. But guilt forced me to try.
I look to his spot on the ground, and carefully stand there myself, to see things from his perspective. The rain pounds my back and the wind threatens to throw me off balance. But I close the door from the outside, and look ahead to where he was looking only moments ago. I can see nothing of importance in my kitchen as I try every conceivable angle of vision. I look to the bloody glass around me, and try rubbing it with my hand. It squeaks, but doesn't come off.
I let out a sigh and glimpse the reflection of the trees in the shiny glass. I keep my gaze's focus on the glass itself, and turn to look straight ahead of me. And in the reflection I see a distant figure standing among the trees at the back of the garden.
I turn and narrow my eyes down the stretch of grass to the thin tree line, but cannot see a figure. Yet as I face the reflection again, sure enough, a figure can be seen.
I start to panic. I grab the door handle and pull on it. But it does not open, and I can no longer see the key in the other side.
Before I can try to open it again however, a woman seems to walk into my kitchen. She wanders around for a while, before catching sight of me. I don't know how she got there... but she can let me in. I knock on the door, and call to her. She stands like a rabbit caught in headlights, utterly stunned. I knock again, asking her to open the door, and eventually she rummages around looking for the key. I tell her where it is, but she doesn't listen.
At last she finds it and comes to open the door. She slides it open-
I'm outside the door again. The woman is still inside the kitchen. I bang on the glass. Why did she not let me in? She doesn't turn around. I'm really getting frustrated. I bang harder and shout to her. I can feel the storm's chill deep within my bones. After a minute she notices me, and I glare at her. How long was she going to make me wait? Just let me in already! She fumbles with the key and opens the door-
I'm still outside? And the woman is still messing around! Get out of my house! Let me in! I start to scream at her, and pound against the glass door, but she doesn't turn. She's ignoring me.
Still I bang on the door, still I yell at the stupid woman, and still I demand to be let in, when I check the reflection in the glass again. The figure is definitely getting closer. I thought I was imagining it before, but he is now halfway across the garden. But now as I look again, he is moving. Slowly but surely, he stalks toward me.
I bang on the door again, but the woman still ignores me.
He is getting faster, and I am screaming louder.
He starts to run toward me, and now so does she.
But he is faster.