The first night she saw the red light in the window across the valley she thought nothing of it. Even the following night when it had appeared in the window of a different apartment she still didn’t give it a second thought. But on the third night when the light moved to another apartment in the buildings across the valley and she saw the shadow moving around inside, she noticed, and every night in October since it had been getting closer and closer. Each night a different apartment but each time it moved closer to her bedroom.
The cat had been the first to see the figure, she had heard him growling through the music in her headphones and turned to look. At first there was nothing to see so she continued writing in her journal, she marked the date each night she studied in what felt like a never ending series of late night sessions. She could hardly remember what it was she was studying for. The date on her journal as she jotted down notes read as October 27th, four days before Halloween. When the cat hissed loud enough for her to pause the music she spent longer looking out the window than she did before. That’s when she noticed the figure moving in front of that curious red light across the valley. She could see nothing more than its shadow and at first she thought that it must be some kind of fan or child’s mobile moving in front of the light because the shape and strange motions it made were anything but living. Long strange jerking movements brought the thing round and round before the window and as she stared she thought it looked like a kind of dancing. She reached out and petted her cat in an attempt to calm the angry feline. Soon his fur rested on his body once more but he would not purr and his eyes remained fixed on the red window across the way. She tried not to but she couldn’t help but glance over every few seconds. The figure continued to dance.
That had been four days ago and now she sat alone with her cat, too scared to study and yet she still wrote notes. The light had travelled around the valley each time bringing the strange dancing figure with it regardless of who’s home it entered. Last night she had heard the music for the first time. A strange and terrible noise that set her teeth on edge and her pen quivering in her hand. She looked to her cat who stood up hissing out the window at something she could not see. For the first time in what felt like four years of studying she got out of her chair and looked out the window. She followed her cats gaze to the apartment beside hers and felt her knees grow week. The red light was next door. The shadows from the dancing figure played on the street below as it twisted itself wildly to the terrible music. She couldn’t think of anything to do but turn up her music and continue to study.
The following day she sat in her seat feeling the sweat drip from her forehead. It was almost dark. One moment the sun would be here the next she would be forced to turn on the light. She sat waiting. Her hand shook as she wrote. Her cats tail thumped against the wall below the windowsill. Then it was dark. With beating heart and held breath she reached out and clicked on her light. Her room filled with a blood red glow. She immediately tried to turn off the light but it would not. Her headphones filled with the terrible piping music, replacing the chill beats she had been listening to. Her cat turned and spat at something behind her. She stared at the date in her journal, read the shaky writing,
October 31st. Halloween!
She felt the floorboards creak underfoot and felt the presence of something strange and unknowable standing behind her. She glanced out the window and saw that there wasn’t a light on in the entire valley. It was as if her apartment had been swallowed by a void of pure black. She felt something on her shoulder but was afraid to look. Something slid her headphones from her ears. She shook all over as the creaking groaning music filled her room. Hot moist breath reached her ear as it spoke to her,
‘Tonight we dance.’
Then all was black and noise and flashing red and then nothing at all but dark and that strange voice telling her to dance. Then darkness overwhelmed her.
She stared at her journal the next morning trying to understand what it meant. The writing all in strange runes and symbols that she had no memory of making. When she flicked through the pages of indecipherable nonsense coarse black hairs like a dog’s fell from between the pages. In fact she could remember nothing about last night and for some reason her cat was being more affectionate than usual bumping her leg with his butt as he passed, resting his tail against her leg. Her legs and arms ached for some reason she couldn’t say.
She felt sorry she hadn’t gotten to enjoy Halloween but it was time to study. She looked out across the valley and her cat took his place on the windowsill.
Maybe next year, she thought.
And she shuddered without knowing why.