“I was ghosting you last night because I was with someone else.”

I stare at the text on my phone with angry tears and gently set it down on the counter so I don’t throw it across the room. How could Hayden betray me like this? I thought we were soul mates, but that was stupid. I meant nothing to him; I wish I had figured that out before I bought the ring. I pick up my phone again, text him before blocking him, and pretend he never meant anything to me.

“Burn in h*ll; I hope they cheat on you and make you feel like I do right now.”

He usually never talks like that; he must have had his eyes on this person for a while. I can’t believe I never noticed. I must have been so blind-sighted by love that I ignored all the red flags. I text my best friend, Derek, to tell him what happened before I head to the bathroom to get ready for bed.

I pick up my phone once again and walk to the bathroom. I try to hold in my tears until I get there, but a few roll down my cheeks as I enter. I turn on the hot water and jump into the shower. The hot water against my skin almost makes me feel better. I just stood and let the water hit my body when suddenly, the room went black. Great, the power’s out again. I quickly turn the water off before it gets cold and turn on my phone’s flashlight to leave the shower without slipping and breaking my head open. I dry off and put on my pajamas while I pray the power returns quickly; a few weeks ago, it was out for days, and luckily, I could just go to Hayden’s house and spend the night. But I can’t do that now. Maybe I should text Derek again and ask him if I can stay the night, but then he’d probably force me to spill what happened between Hayden and me, and I don’t feel like doing that.

A thud from the living room disrupts my thoughts, and I quickly run to my room and lock myself inside; there’s no way I’m checking that out. That is how you get murdered or worse. I check under my bed to grab my knife, but as soon as I reach underneath it, I feel nothing. I crouch down to check if it’s there; it’s gone, and someone took it. I quickly get up from the floor and look around my room, ensuring no one is in there with me.

“Hello? If anyone is in here, I have a gun. I’m not afraid to shoot you out of self-defense.”

There’s a loud crash from my living room, and I whip my head around to my door, praying that whatever is out in my living room won’t come banging on it. I hold my breath and slowly back away from the door and under my bed. That’s when the banging starts. It sounds like whatever is desperately banging on my door is trying to break it down. I press myself up against the wall and reach to pull out my phone. But when my hand comes to my pocket, I realize it’s not there. Well, sh*t, if whatever is out there manages to break down my door, I’m done for. My breathing starts to quicken, and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. I’ve never been religious, but I find myself praying to God in this moment, hoping that someone will come to save me or that the thing outside will lose interest and go away.

Suddenly, as quickly as it began, the banging stops. I breathe a sigh of relief and get out from under the bed. I go to the door and put my ear up to see if I can hear the thing on the other side, but all I hear is silence. I hold my breath and open the door, quickly punching at the air to try and hit the possible attacker, but when I open my eyes, there’s nothing in sight. I walk around the house, checking every nook and cranny, but there’s no sign that anyone else is here. I let out an anxious laugh.

“Oh my god… I’m going crazy.”

I imagine I’m acting like one of those dumb guys in a horror film that, instead of staying put in a safe place, decides to search every possible place for the killer, only to get attacked and brutally slaughtered. The kind of guy that everyone in the theater laughs at because there’s no way someone could be that stupid in real life. But here’s what I’m figuring out: when you think someone is in your house, you tend to make foolish and irrational decisions because you aren’t exactly thinking straight, and in my case, you may be going a little crazy because of the stress and anxiety of being caught by this potential killer.

While my mind races, thinking of all the possible scenarios that could have caused the banging against my door, I head back to my room and lie down, still coping that everything I thought I heard and saw must be fake. There’s no way a breakup could cause me to develop hysteria this extreme, right? I must have done something else that caused this; maybe I ate something wrong. Maybe someone drugged me at work or something. No, that doesn’t seem right. I know what I saw and what I heard. That was real. I sit up and sporadically search the house again, throwing over furniture and searching every hiding place. Maybe I’m just desperate to prove I’m not crazy. Perhaps I’ve always been crazy, and this breakup was my mental breaking point. Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me, and I quickly turned to where they came from, but there was no one. I get angry; this bstrd is starting to drive me to madness.

“Come out, you coward! Face me!”

I must be crazy. My neighbors have probably called the cops by now, calling me the lunatic from downstairs who’s screaming at nothing. Maybe they should contact the cops; maybe when they get here, these stupid hallucinations will stop. I hear a knock at the front door and rush to open it. Finally, these stupid visions will disappear, and I can prove to the police, my neighbors, and most importantly to myself that I’m not crazy. I open the door and see a person in a terrifying mask. Before I can even scream, they hit me over the head, and my vision goes black as I hit the floor. Before I lose consciousness, I hear a deep and gravelly voice whisper in my ear.

“Your boyfriend was wrong; you were easy to trick, and now you’re going to die.”