The Smilers

This started with my child. She was the first to see them. I feel bad for her; she was the first one to experience the terror my wife and I would soon feel for ourselves. It began about a week ago, and I don’t know what to do.

Me, my wife Kimmy, and our 6-year-old daughter Anna live in a modest 4 bedroom house, in a place where we are victim to semi-regular blackouts. Only lasting for a minute or two most of the time, they are more of a minor inconvenience than a true problem. We’ve been dealing with them for close to three years now, and have learned to live with them. On the plus side, being subject to somewhat frequent blackouts has afforded us a relatively cheap mortgage. But that’s neither here nor there. As I said, this began about a week ago. Anna came into our bedroom at about 1:30 in the morning and nudged me awake. I had to look at my phone to see the time, because the clock on my nightstand read a steadily blinking 12:00. We must have had a blackout.

“What’s wrong sweetie?” I asked, my comforting tone thankfully overpowering the irritation in my voice due to being woken up.

“There’s a man outside and he won’t stop looking in my window.”

My heart sank into my stomach, and I jumped out of bed, telling my daughter to stay with mommy. I grabbed as baseball bat and ran to her room, looking out both her windows, and I could see no one. I did a circle around my house in both directions, looking into the distance every which way, and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Just other houses on our block, our backyard as quiet as it could be, and the woods past our fence as peaceful as they ever were.

Convinced my daughter had just had a bad dream, I told her I checked and no one was there, and that she could stay in bed with us that night. The following morning, she asked about this “man outside her window” again. I told her that she had just had a bad dream and to not worry about it. That night, I was up late, getting some writing done (my profession), when the power once again went out. My laptop switched to battery mode, so I kept working. It was about a minute and a half later when the power came back on and I heard footsteps coming down our hardwood hallway floor. As I turned around, I saw my daughter stumble into my office, with a look of sheer horror in her eyes. She said that the same man and two other people had come up to her window, and said that “they were gonna get you and mommy and save me for last.” Through her hysteric tears, she was hardly intelligible. I once again ran around the house, searching for anything that could confirm my daughters reason for being so horrified. I found nothing, and again let her sleep in our bed, while I eventually dozed off in my office. I was awoken in the morning by my wife, who had been unaware of the events the night prior. I told her I had checked it out, and we had nothing to fear. She wasn’t satisfied enough, and resolved to sleep in Anna’s room with her that night.

I was once again working on my project late when the power once again went out. Now, when I say we get semi-regular blackouts, I mean maybe 3 or 4 times a week, maybe, and like I said, only for a minute or two at a time each. Rarely did we get two in a row, and I don’t think we ever had one three nights in a row. This one lasted much shorter than the rest. It lasted about 15 seconds, and about three seconds before the power returned, I heard my wife let out a shrill scream. I sprinted out of my office and into Anna’s room as her nightlight and alarm clock came back on, and found my wife and daughter huddled in the corner of the room. I asked what was wrong, and my wife confirmed Anna’s stories. This time, five people had come up to the window, and had been just smiling and waving, but not in a nice way. She said their smiles were crooked and wide, as if they were straining to smile as big as they could, with their eyes wide open. My only response to being told this was “what the fuck?”. She said when the lights came back on, she looked away for a moment, and when she looked back, the people were gone. We called the police and made a statement, and they agreed to put a patrol car down the street from our house and have an officer keep an eye on us. This gave us a sense of peace, if only for that night.

We rested easy for most of the night, Anna sleeping in the bed with my wife in our room, and I was in the living room watching TV. Until the power went out. I looked out the window and to my surprise, the reset of the houses on the block were still with power. Porch lights were still on, and the glow of televisions in other houses still illuminated through their windows. It was then that I saw a group of people slowly walking down the street towards our house. They were in the middle of the street, under the still shining street lights, just casually strolling, and the cop was doing nothing. As they got closer, I noticed they were walking very loosely, their bodies being held up with the least amount of effort possible, their backs arched backwards a tiny bit, with their arms flailing back and forth as their nimble legs carried them towards my home. And it was when they got even closer that I saw their smiles. My wife hadn’t exaggerated; even from a distance, the street lights showed me that their neck veins were popping out from straining to smile as wide as they could. I stared out my window at them, trying to figure out what they were doing, when from out of nowhere, one of them popped up in front of me, sending me falling back onto the floor. It was man, looked to be about 30, just standing there, waving at me with that gross smile stretching his face. I stood up and looked out the window I could see the cop through. Not only was he sitting there doing nothing, but there was another group of three of these…whatever they are…flailing past his car. Unless he was sleeping, there is no way he could have missed them. They all converged on the sidewalk adjacent to my front yard, and lined up horizontally. Then, as if in a choreographed fashion, from the left to the right, each one began doing their creepy walk towards my house.

I was frozen in fear for a moment, but then snapped out of it. I had to make sure my family was okay, so I rushed down the hall to my bedroom. To my horror, my wife and daughter were not in the bed where I’d left them earlier. There was however, two of these freaks outside each of our bedroom windows. I screamed at the top of my lungs “What the fuck did you do with my family?!” and just then, the lights turned back on, and my wife and daughter came out of our walk-in closet. They both hugged me and cried, while I stood there in shock. I looked out the window and saw no one. I broke away from the hug and rushed back to the living room. There was no one in any direction for as far as the eye could see. I couldn’t make sense of this. I armed myself with my baseball bat and walked over to the police car. There he was, wide awake, sitting and listening to music. I asked what the hell he was doing there if he wasn’t gonna do anything to help us. I explained that people had walked directly towards him and past him, and he just sat there doing nothing. He claimed he hadn’t seen anyone, and had been awake the whole time. He then told me to get back in my house while he went and did a search of the neighborhood. I saw him drive off down the street, shining his spotlight through each and every yard and side yard on the block. My family and I stayed up together in the living room for the rest of the night.

Nothing happened for the next two nights, so we thought that whatever was going on had passed. Even so, I went to my father’s house the day after the last incident and retrieved the gun I had there, a .45 caliber Glock 37. Normally, my wife didn’t allow guns in the house, but with the events of the previous few nights, she made an exception to the rule for as long as we had to deal with this. It was last night that things happened again.

The three of us had taken to sleeping in the living room together so as to stay together and to be the most prepared if something happened again. We were all asleep when I was awoken by a tapping on the window. The first thing I noticed was all the power was out, and I took a quick glance across the street to see the neighbor’s porch light still on. It was once again only us that had been affected by this power outage. I then redirected my attention to the direction of the tapping. Once I looked, the person in the window stopped tapping, and all the while with that disgusting grin, waved to me, as if it was pleased I’d noticed it. I grabbed the gun and showed it to the prowler, but it didn’t phase her at all. She just kept right on waving and smiling. I then noticed that there was a large group, between 10 and 15 of these things, lackadaisically flailing down the street. I looked out the other window; an equally large group was coming from the other direction. I knew one thing, and that was I didn’t have enough bullets for all these people. They again converged by lining up in front of my house, but this time, they all started waving. Every single one of them. It stayed this was for about 10 seconds, before one in the middle stopped waving and began moving forward. It was doing it’s loose walk, though this time much more slowly, up the walkway to my door. I ran to the door and told my family, now awake, to stay down and cover their eyes and ears. They abided as I cocked the gun and waited. My plan was to wait until the guy got to the door, knowing I’d hear him come up the creaky wooden steps to my porch, and then swing my door open and find, at gunpoint, what he wanted with me and my family.

Sure enough, I heard the creaking of the steps and he surely bounced up each one of the three leading up to my porch. His scraping footsteps got closer and my heart beat raised. I had never done anything like this before and I truly felt like I wasn’t prepared to put a gun in someone’s face. The will to protect my family won out though, and as out doorknob rattled from whoever it was outside apparently attempting to get into my house, I swung the door open. As if it was planned, the very moment the door opened, the lights went back on. There was no one there. No one in the street, no one at our living room window, no one lined up in the front yard. It was as if they’d vanished into thin air. I told my family we were okay, if only for that night.

It’s the afternoon now, and my wife and daughter have gone to a hotel about 5 minutes away from our house. I made sure they got a room on a higher floor than the first, and politely asked hotel security to keep an extra keen eye on the grounds that night, especially in the case of any blackouts. I’ve decided to stay at home tonight, so I can do whatever I can to figure out what it is I’m dealing with and what they want.

Part 2

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