2 AM Photo

It was nearly one-thirty in the morning when Dave Aulman laid down next to his wife in bed. Suzy was on her side facing away from him, snoring her cute little snores. Dave covered himself with the blankets and faced his wife. He rubbed on her arm with his hand and in her sleep she responded by touching his hand with hers. Dave smiled and turned over.

Dave looked out into the darkness of the room, looking at all of the familiar shapes and shadows, produced by the faint light coming in through the windows. There was a street light that always produced the shadows, but tonight there was also a clear sky and a full moon. The room was lit up nicely in a pale white light.

Suzy continued snoring her cute little snores and Dave listened to them, getting lost in them. They weren’t annoying like a man’s snores. They were hypnotic, and they often helped to put him to sleep. Unfortunately for Dave, that wasn’t going to happen so easily tonight.

Dave had a few things running through his mind. He knew his company was laying off people, some who had been there longer than he had. He had been worried since the first round of layoffs happened two weeks prior and had been exploring other options since. The options he had, weren’t very good.

Their oldest child, Angel was about to graduate from high school and was going to become a Freshman at their local college in the fall. Sure they had money saved for her books and those other little things that her scholarship wouldn’t cover, but where would that leave them if he couldn’t find work? Suzy’s job was going well, but it wouldn’t be enough.

Dave lay awake, thinking of all the things that were going on, those extra little things that made those few big things stand out even more. Oil change for the car, renewing of plates and license coming up in a few months, groceries, gas prices going up. All of the necessities of life were racking his brain when he knew they shouldn’t be. But he couldn’t help it.

After laying in bed for what seemed to be forever, Dave finally succumbed to sleep. His eyes closed, blocking out the misty white room, and his thoughts took a time out. He was feeling calm and peaceful as the sleep slowly made its way through his body.

He wasn’t sure if he had been out completely yet or not, or if he had been out long if he had fallen fully asleep when his cell phone vibrated on the stand next to his side of the bed. He opened his eyes and could still feel the comfort of being almost asleep all throughout his body. He could see the room was lit up a little more by the new message on his cell phone screen.

Dave reached out and grabbed the phone, still unable to think of who it might be at that time of night. His screen showcased two messages to him, the time, which he now could see was just after two in the morning, and one telling him he had a new text message.

He flipped his phone open and clicked a button. The message opened up and it was nothing more than a photo. A photo of the front of his house.

House At Night

Time: 2:01a
Date: 2/25/13

Dave swung his legs out of bed and sat up, staring at the picture. The sleep his body had felt was gone and replaced with adrenaline. Next to him Suzy stirred. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, just go back to sleep.”

Suzy could see the light from his cell phone shining and she also sat up. “Dave, what is it?”

“I’m not sure, I just…” He shook his head and held the phone up over his shoulder so his wife could see it. “I don’t know. Just came to me from an unknown number.”

“What the…” she said, fear showing itself in her voice. “Should we call the cops?”

Dave lowered the phone and looked at the info on the message again. From: He shook his head. “Yeah, but let me see if I can see anyone outside.”

He got up from bed and walked over to his window. Without getting too close to it, he didn’t want whoever was outside to see him looking, he glanced out. Even though it was well lit outside, what with the street light and the full moon, he still wasn’t able to see anyone.

“Well?” Suzy said. She had brought her knees up to her chest and she was hugging them.

“I don’t see anyone, but they could be hiding anywhere out there.” Dave walked back around to his side of the bed and slipped his house shoes on.

“Where are you going?” Suzy demanded quietly, panicked.

“To the office to call the cops. I’m not going to use my cell phone. What if somehow this person is tracking it?”

Dave wasn’t sure if that sort of thing could be done, or at the very least if that sort of thing could be done by just anyone.

He crept down the hall past his daughter’s door. Angel was still awake, the light from her room barely coming out from underneath her door, and she was listening to some music. It wasn’t loud enough that he could hear it from his room, but standing outside her door he could tell it was one of the boy bands she liked. Not his thing.

He continued down the hall to the office and went in, just a spare bedroom they turned into a make-shift office, and he refused to turn on a light. He picked up the house phone, one of three they had in the house, and called their local police station. He told the dispatcher what was going on and gave her his address. She told him they would send someone out. He thanked her and hung up.

Dave went back into the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed.

“So, what did they say?” Suzy asked.

“They said they’ll send someone over.”

“Well what should we do?” Suzy was almost pleading for an answer, and Dave could hear it. He just didn’t have one for her.

“I don’t know hon, just relax, try to go back to sleep and maybe the cops will find someone to arrest.”

Just then his phone vibrated in his hand. “Uh…” he started and Suzy jumped up on her knees behind him and looked over his shoulder at the phone in his hand. “One New Text Message” was brightly displayed on the screen.

Dave opened his phone and punched the button that took him directly to the message. It was another picture, this time a much closer shot at the front of their house, as if whoever it was had been standing in the middle of their yard.

Dave jumped up from the bed, nearly knocking his wife over and he ran to the window. Nobody could be seen. “This is bullshit” he said, pacing the room and staring at his phone. “It’s still showing that it’s coming from nobody.”

“Will you sit down on the bed? No need to get freaked out over this…” Suzy said, completely freaked out.

“I can’t. Someone’s messing with us and I’m not having this. Not with you and Angel in the house.”

“God, we should get a dog.”

“I wanted to get a dog but you said no!”

“I know…” Suzy said frustrated, again hugging her knees.

Dave went to the window and carefully peeked out. He knew if the light from outside hit him he could be seen, and he didn’t want that. What he wanted was to see who was messing with him, but that wasn’t happening. Nobody was outside at all, none that he could see anyway.

“I’m going downstairs to look out another window, maybe from the side of the house I’ll be able to see someone.”

“You’re not leaving me alone up here!” Suzy insisted.

“Like hell, what are you going to do down there? If anything you’ll be closer to the person. Just stay up here and stay in bed. If you like, watch out the window for the cops, they should be coming by any minute now.”

Suzy huffed but didn’t move. Dave walked out of the room. As he passed by Angel’s room again he thought of filling her in on what was going on, but he didn’t want two freaked out women in the house, so he decided against it. He went to the steps and began walking down them. He laughed to himself at the thought that his daughter would probably be cooler in this situation than his wife was.

As he walked down the stairs he realized the lights were on in the downstairs hallway and in the living room. They left them on every night for safety. He realized now that it really didn’t matter.

Dave made his way to the back of the house where the lights weren’t on and he looked out of a family room window. In the darkness he could see very little so he settled for going to the back door and checking the locks. Once he checked those he made his way to the front door and despite being visible, he had to make sure those locks were locked just the same, which they were.

Satisfied for the moment, he went back upstairs and into his bedroom.

“Well?” Suzy asked just as he walked in.

“Well, nothing. I made sure the doors were locked, which they are, and I couldn’t see anything at all. Have the cops come by yet?”

Just then his phone vibrated again. “Shit.” He opened it and looked at the picture. It was of his front door. And he could be seen through the door’s windows checking the locks. “Holy shit!”

“What? What?” Suzy jumped up from the bed and ran around it to him, grabbing his hand and looking at the phone. “Oh my god!”

A moment later Angel was standing in their door. “What’s going on guys?”

“Nothing honey, just go back to bed” Suzy practically yelled at her.

“Yeah, that’s convincing.” Angel turned and started back to her room.

“Honey,” Dave called out, “stay away from your window.”

“Why?” Angel said, almost with excitement in her voice.

Dave wanted to laugh again at his daughter’s reaction. It was what he expected. She was adventurous, and she obviously got that from him. “Just do it. I’ll tell you later. Swear to me you won’t even so much as look out it.”

The excitement was gone. “Yeah, okay. Sure dad.”

“And honey, stay in your room, keep the door shut and don’t open it until we say you can.”

“Oh my god dad, what’s going on?”

Suzy grabbed Dave’s arm. “Let her stay in here with us, please.”

Angel walked to them and her mother hugged her.

Dave’s phone went off again. He looked at his family and back at his phone. He checked the message and it was a picture of the inside of his house. He could feel the blood leaving his face and he felt as if he would pass out. The fear quickly left as an anger rose. Nobody came into his house uninvited. The safety of him and his family came first, and he would be damned if someone were to threaten that.

“To hell with it” he said and he dialed the police from his cell phone. He told the operator that whoever it was just sent him a picture of the inside of his house. He also told of the other pictures and how he had a gun and would shoot whoever was in the house. The operator told him that if he must, then he must. She also told him that an officer drove by and saw nobody, but that she would get him to go back to their house if Dave wanted him to. He said he did and hung up the phone.

He went to his night stand and pulled out his pistol. He quickly went to the closet and pulled out a shoe box. From the box he pulled out a fully loaded clip and he inserted it into the pistol. “Stay here.”

Dave walked out of the room and slowly went down the hall, which was now completely lit up from his daughter’s open door. The music was louder now and Dave grimaced at it.

He got to the staircase and looked down it. He saw nobody and heard nothing. He slowly made his way down the steps and as soon as he could, he peeked into the downstairs hallway. Nobody could be seen or heard. He finished going down the steps and looked around. Still nothing.

Dave slowly made his way through the house and he found absolutely nothing, nobody was there, and he was starting to really freak out. Quickly he ran up the steps and into his bedroom, shutting the door firmly behind him.

“I didn’t see or hear anybody while I was down there. The front door is still locked. I have no idea what’s going on, but I swear if I find out who’s doing this…” His phone vibrated again.

Dave flipped it open so hard he thought he was going to throw it across the room on accident. The new message was taken at the bottom of his stairs and it showed the top of his stairs, with him at the top heading back to his bedroom.

By this point Angel had already been filled in by her mom and both of them began to react frantically to the picture. Dave tried his best to calm them down and they finally listened. “The officer should be here any minute and he’ll help us out. Don’t worry.”

As if it were planned, the door bell rang and the three of them jumped.

“Stay here, I’ll go let him in” Dave instructed. “And make sure this door stays shut while I’m gone.”

Dave opened the bedroom door and looked out. In the hall he saw no one, so he left the bedroom and pulled the door shut behind him.

Leading with his pistol, Dave made his way down the hall, pointing the gun into each open room he went by, checking them all out thoroughly. The doorbell rang again.

Again Dave made his way downstairs just as carefully as the last time until he finally found himself at the door. On the other side of it standing on the brightly lit porch was the officer. Dave opened the door and let the officer know he had a gun.

“Yes sir, they informed me. Have you gotten any more messages?”

“I have and they’re from inside the house, only I checked and found nobody here.” Dave looked at the officer with panic in his eyes and he whispered, “Please help us.”

The officer entered the home and, with his gun drawn, began walking around the downstairs. Dave went the other way, hoping to catch someone in the middle. Just as the two met in the dining room, Dave’s phone went off again. The officer watched him as he opened the phone and checked the message. The picture was of his wife and daughter staring out the window. Both had their backs to the camera, and the person taking the picture. Dammit, he thought to himself, I told them to keep the door shut.

The blood left Dave’s face and he felt faint. Whoever was in the house was in his room with his wife and daughter. But how did they get in there? Why did his wife and daughter not see or hear the person? Why wasn’t there a scream from either of them?

“Go!” the officer whispered loudly at Dave, scaring him out of his thoughts. Dave snapped his phone shut and the two ran through the house to the stairs which Dave felt he couldn’t climb fast enough.

At the end of the hall Dave kicked open his bedroom door and ran in followed by the officer, guns drawn…

This was a Creative Writing Prompt from Daily Post.

So readers, what happens next?

EDIT: I got a nice response from everyone wanting an ending as I thought I would, and I actually do have an ending, but to be fair I wrote the ending after I posted this story. It finally came to me, the one I should use, so I wrote it out and it turned out to be perfect for the story. I’ll share that ending with everyone soon! Keep a look out on my Twitter feed and my Facebook page for the announcement as to when that’s going to happen! Until then, I’m STILL looking for YOUR endings! Let me know what you think! If I like your ending good enough, I’ll write it too!

Both men were shocked to see nobody in the room. Dave flipped the switch on the wall next to him and the room immediately filled with light. He looked in the closet, under the bed, but nobody was there. The windows were still shut and locked as well.

After a fluid search of the house, neither his wife nor his daughter could be found. The officer called for backup and Dave broke out in hysterics. While the officer was calming Dave down, Dave’s cell phone vibrated.

Both the officer and Dave stared at it for what seemed like forever, before Dave flipped open his phone and pressed the button that opened the message. Once again it came from an unknown sender and once again it was just a picture. It was a picture of Dave sitting on the couch with the officer standing above him, and both were looking at Dave’s opened cell phone.

Shortly after, backup arrived. They entered the house and did a thorough search. Nobody was found. After a thorough investigation into the case, which was called upon immediately after discovering the first officer on the scene had disappeared, Dave’s cell phone was the only thing that could be found to be evidence. The last picture on it was a close up of Dave and the officer, both with looks of horror and confusion on their faces. The officer, Dave and Dave’s family were never seen again.

16 responses to “2 AM Photo

  1. i want MORE!!! that was so excellent! i got to know who or what it was taking the photos!

  2. If I wasn’t a lady, I’d call you a bad name. How could you do that! That was not nice!! Brilliant story, but definitely not nice :-)

  3. You did NOT just leave us hanging!!!!! ACK!! This is so good. I don’t even want to attempt an ending…if I give, will you finish it?

    They walked in and found an antique camera on the floor, surrounded by a dissipating mist.

    • Actually, to let everyone know, there IS an ending and I’ll be sharing it with everyone ONE DAY! But I’m really looking for what everyone else thinks first!

      As far as your ending goes, I like it! I hadn’t thought of an antique camera, that’s interesting!

  4. Pingback: Smiles Are Everywhere | Cheri Speak

  5. Cbigony@gmail.con

    Can’t wait to see the ending! Awesome!

  6. Pingback: Creative Writing Challenge – 2AM Photo | Beyond Beauty Tips

  7. Pingback: 2AM Writing Challenge: Is This For Real? | The Velvet Closet of a Lesbian

  8. Pingback: 2 AM Photo: The Ending | Matt Roberts

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