The story so far:
Forrest Mason leaned back in his leather desk chair looking over the notes for his current novel trying to decide which direction he wanted to take the main character. He tapped his cigarette in the ashtray just in time before the spent ash dropped in his lap.
Lighted only by a desklamp and the slowly dying embers in the fireplace, the man cut an impressive and mysterious figure worthy of the suspense writer that he was.
Here, surrounded by his floor to ceiling bookshelves, antiques, and stately furniture, Mason made one of the oldest houses in Havensville his home. Despite his popular success as a fiction writer and his busy touring schedule, he preferred the solitude afforded him by this big house in the small town, his only regular visitors being his agent, who made a monthly visit from New York, and Mrs. Crane who doubled as housekeeper and cook. Other than that, Mason was rarely seen by the locals.
The fire crackled, a log fell, and sparks shot up behind the wrought iron screen. The shadows in the room shifted. Mason shifted. So deep in thought was hethat he hardly noticed when the desklamp flickered. A few seconds later it flickered again, then went out.
Mason leaned forward, irritated by the interruption, and tapped the lamp. It didn't come back on. Laying the papers down, he made his way to the lightswitch on the wall. It too didn't work.
He crossed to the fireplace, tossed his cigarette in, moved the screen aside, and placed a new log on top of the glowing embers. The room had grown chilly and the heat from the fire felt good.
As he reached for the fireplace poker he was suddenly startled by a tap on the window. He turned. Another tap, light. Gentle. Then more. Like the slow, methodic rhythm of a woman's fingernails drumming in succession on a glass surface.
Then silence, save for the crackling logs.
Just some branches tapping the window.
But there was nothing outside the window that could be tapping against it. No tree branch, no bushes, and to his knowledge there hadn't even been the slightest breeze all night.
Mason was about to dismiss the noise as his imagination when he heard it again. Only this time, slower, louder.
Tap (one... two....three) Tap (one....two.....three)
Mason choked something back. Fear?
Poker in hand he moved slowly toward the large window behind his desk. His face, reflected in the glass, looked back at him. His shadow grew smaller as he moved away from the fire.
He raised a hand to the glass and pressed against it looking out into the darkness. The scene before him struck him incredulous. The lights of the town below were flickering indiscriminately, rolling from one end Havensville to the other then back.
At first he thought he was seeing things; the play of the fire behind him, or his own exhausted mind and overworked imagination playing tricks on him. He had been working himself too hard, he thought.
But no, what he was seeing was real.
What he didn't see was the figure slowly crawling up the other side of the glass until suddenly his face was not his own but something else looking in at him.