PROLOGUE

Don't look back.

Have you ever had the feeling that you are being watched? A pair of prying eyes specifically set on you, preying on your every move as if silently sneaking into your body, feeding on your precious soul, sucking out every piece of you, and there is nothing you can do to prevent any of it. I tug my cardigan closer to my chest and hug myself tight against the cold night breeze. I can still feel them though, those eyes tearing down my defenses. Vulnerable I am.

Just keep going.

I urge myself to not look back. It's always a bad idea to turn your head around at times like this as taught in numerous horror movies. But that doesn't make me deaf. It doesn't numb my senses. I can still hear the eeriness of the rustling leaves and the creak of the swings as I pass by the playground with the majestic moon floating right among the smoky clouds. I can feel goosebumps all over my body, and my heartbeat racing wildly as the soft whispers land into my ears. When the sound of footsteps has come, I know tears will soon invade my eyes. So I keep going, the intervals between my steps are shorter than the last; I reckon my own shadow chasing me down the street.

Run, Chloe! Run!

Definitely the worst time to wear stilettos. But I keep running just the same, I don't care. Before I know it, I've slammed the front door shut then back away as far as I can, just watching the door vigilantly before me. It should protect me from any intruder, right? I should be safe from whatever danger is out there on the other side of the wooden barrier.

Knock knock.

They resonate softly, calm and harmless, as if they originate from a concerned neighbor who is about to offer some freshly baked cookies for a midnight snack, yet I can't seem to shake off this feeling of terror inside me. As time passes by and I still refuse to open up, the knocking, thankfully, has come to a stop. Silence is loud and clear.

Maybe it's gone.

I'm not sure though. I can barely breathe. I'm trying to exhale carbon dioxide out my mouth when the doorbell has gone off – I'm suddenly reminded of its forgotten existence.

It's back.

My stupid self tread towards the door against the major protests in my head; curiosity is bound to get me into trouble, I guess. I slowly lean over the peephole to find no one outside. Odd. I cringe at my paranoia. So have I just been acting crazy all along? To affirm my findings thus, I turn the knob open with a trembling hand. I pull the door in and apparently caught unprepared; there on my doorstep is a strange woman – eyes are crimson red, tears of blood stain her cheeks, her skin scrappily weaved into her flesh, and her teeth, as she slowly grins at me, sharp and crooked, adorned with live worms and roaches. And then I hear myself scream, horrified. I scream and scream and scream... I have no idea; that's the end of it.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN, CRICKETS!