Somebody was in the house.
They were in the house with a light and a radio.
They didn’t know anybody was at home.
It was an old transistor radio tuned to an AM station.
It was on low and I couldn’t hear it clearly.
But the music had woken me up.
I didn’t know what song it was.
And I lay there hoping they’d go away.
If I didn’t make a noise, they wouldn’t.
If they’d come looking for somewhere to spend the night
and they didn’t know anybody was at home, they’d stay.
They’d light the fire
and put the radio on the shelf.
Then I saw the torchbeam.
It hovered on the landing.
They were coming upstairs
to where everybody but me
was still sleeping.
I saw the hideous distorted faces, like children’s masks,
as the light passed over the jumble of clothes and things.
I tried to call out.
But my throat was dry.
And no sounds came.
I pushed at the body next to mine.
It was sodden and immovable,
like a big fish washed up on the shore.
As soon as they found evidence
that we were up here,
that would be the end.
The light would go off.
And the radio would keep playing.
As if whoever it was
wanted to carry the nightmare on
for as long as they could.