[WP] You awake in the middle of the night to your phone loudly playing a message, "This is the emergency Broadcast channel, This is not a test. Please seek shelter immediately. Do not look outside, do not make noise, do not-", the transmission ends.

I was awoken by an almost deafening noise from my cell phone. At first I wasn't sure if I was dreaming. It had been a long Friday night out downtown and I wasn't even sure where I was sleeping. I rolled over, blinked a few times to re-adjust my contacts that I drunkenly forgot to take out before falling asleep, and recognized the glaring red numbers on my alarm clock. 6:38 a.m. and I was sleeping in my own bed. What a relief.

That feeling was short-lived. As soon as I had my bearings I recalled part of the message my phone had seemingly screamed to me. Something about seeking shelter... It was definitely the unmistakable emergency broadcast alert tone. I grabbed the half empty glass of water on my night stand and drank it to try and clear my head. What was the rest of the message? It slowly came back to me, piece by piece. "This is the emergency broadcast channel"... "seek shelter"... "do not look outside or make a noise"... "this is not a test".

My heart almost stopped. I rolled out of bed and started to reach for my window blinds, drawing my hand back at the last second after remembering the stern warning from my phone. I began to panic, going from a groggy state of miserable whisky-induced hangover to more awake than I've ever felt in an instant.

I realized I was stuck in my apartment, alone. For the first time in 4 years I regretted living alone. My cell had lost service and my WiFi was down. "Thanks, Comcast, now I'm fucked.", I whispered to myself. A feeling of total and complete helplessness swept over me, leaving me almost paralyzed.

Suddenly the winter morning silence was broken by a series of screams that sounded like they were coming from the apartment below me. I was used to hearing my neighbors scream at each other, but this was different. I had never heard anything like it before. The sound was indescribable. My mind was not capable of imagining something so terrible as to cause a person to let out such a gut wrenching shriek.

Then everything went silent again. I heard two sets of footsteps. One was Tony, who lived in the apartment next to me, scurrying to his front door to double check the locks. Not that it even mattered, because the second set of footsteps was someone or something coming up the stairs outside. Tony's door may as well have been wide open judging by how quickly it was knocked open.

I heard the same blood-curdling scream.

Quietly, I slouched down with my back against the wall under my single bedroom window where I had been standing, frozen with terror this whole time. The footsteps left Tony's apartment and were headed towards my own front door.

Without even looking I reached directly to my right, underneath my nightstand. I wrapped my hand around the curved grip of my .40 Smith & Wesson. It was the most comforting thing I've ever felt.

I had no idea what was about to come through my door and I didn't ever want to know what would make a person scream like my poor neighbors did.

I didn't have to check. There is always one in the chamber.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread