It was a cold spring night. The wind howled around tree and houses, tearing off leaves and shaking the windows. The clouds were heavy and dark, yet no rain fell. Inside his house, a man paced the hallways, his bare feet slapping the hard wooden floors. At each clap of thunder, the man flinched and stared up at the ceiling, his eyes wide as they envisioned the house caving in on him. He wrung his hands together and gnawed on his bottom lip, shaking his head slowly as he marched up and down the hallway. At each flash, lighting fought to get in, filling the dark curtains with harsh, blinding light. He swallowed and licked his lips, and realized he was thirsty. He let out his breath and continued down the hallway, which led to the kitchen. Opening the white, plastic fridge, the man squinted and looked for something to drink. He grabbed a can of Sprite and drug himself back into the hallway, resuming his march as he sipped on the bubbly froth.
The hour was late: It was well passed midnight. The rest of the neighborhood slept in their homes, warm and safe in their beds, dreaming of galloping horses and garbage trucks as the thunder played its song. In the morning, despite the vicious threat of storms, they would go on to work, to school, and to the mall in complete ignorance of the man suffering in his house. The neighbors knew the man's house well; they knew his yard, his mailbox, his car in the driveway, for it was always the same everyday. His yard was overgrown, his mailbox stuffed full of mail, his car, once a glossy blue, now rusted beyond repair. No one could recall ever seeing him leave his house, not that they cared either way. They didn't even know the man's name. He was a recluse. If he didn't want to show up to a neighborhood block party, fine! He would never get invited again. So the neighbors slept peacefully while the strange man remained awake.
Thunder crashed nearby, rattling the house. The man froze, his hand shaking as it held the can of Sprite. He closed his eyes as the wind screamed, flying through every crack in the doors and windows. When the wind died down, he opened his eyes and walked carefully down the hallway that led to the stairs. The stairs were at the front door, and he avoided eye-contact with the door as he limped up the stairs. Suddenly, the lights in his house flickered, and the man paused and stared at them anxiously, his eyes wide and pleading. Thunder shook the house once more, and the lights went out with a soft flicking sound. Helplessly, the man dropped to the ground and clutched onto the stairs. His Sprite can bounced down every step, spraying bubbly liquid everywhere. He pressed his body into the steps and trembled, eyes squeezed shut tightly. The wind picked up speed, and lightning flashed through the house like a strobe-light. Rain began to fall, beating against the house with fierce determination. The man gathered his strength and stood up, his eyes huge as they strained to see in the dark. He had to get the Sprite can. Feeling the wall with his hand, the man slowly edged his way down the stairs towards the front door. Lighting showed him the can laying on its side in front of the door, its contents soaking into the doormat. At the last step, he paused. His heart was pounding. He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn. He swayed and leaned heavily against the wall, dizziness overcoming him. It bothered him that the Sprite was ruining his doormat. He shook his head like a dog and quickly stepped over to the front door and grabbed the can. Panic set in. The door led to the outside. Someone was out there, and wanted in! The man jerked himself away from the door hastily, but his foot slipped in the Sprite. He fell over onto his back and his head cracked into the bottom step. He was killed instantly. The can of Sprite crushed under his arm, the soda mingling with the blood that dripped from the stairs.
Months would go by before anyone noticed. People would go about their days laughing, playing, enjoying their lives. The man and his house would continue to be ignored by the neighborhood until the bills went unpaid and the police went to his home to evict him. When the neighbors found out the man had died, they accepted it with calm indifference. The man was nothing to them, so why should they care if he died? Obviously, he didn't enjoy their company, so they had no reason to care about him. A funeral was arranged for the man, and after going through bills and records in his house, the police discovered his name. His name was recorded in the obituaries in the paper, it was marked on his gravestone, but nobody cared or remembered. No one went to his funeral. Unexpected things happen, and people die everyday; the neighbors were simply glad it wasn't them.