Cable

Julie rolled over in bed and faced the window. She hadn't closed the vertical blinds completely so the slats allowed dawn to filter into the otherwise dark bedroom. With sleep still draped over her body Julie wallowed in the purgatory she experienced every waking moment of her life, and sometimes every sleeping moment as well.

The cable stretched across the windowpane, cutting a swath through the chilly morning air like the visible trajectory of a bullet.

"Why do you haunt me?" Julie asked the silence, not particularly wanting an answer. "Why can't I find peace? I've been through enough already. I've dealt with the pain, and anger, and depression, so why can't I find peace?"

She pushed the covers off and sat up in bed. The cable remained in her sight, as well as her mind, so her movements seemed to have a mechanical aspect, hollow, without true purpose. Time had no meaning, nor did her family, her friends, or her job. None of it mattered to her.

Stumbling to her feet, Julie made her way to the light switch and flipped it on, flooding the room with a warm yellow glow. She turned to face the window again. The cable was still suspended outside, just like it had always been, and she found herself staring at it. She should have liked seeing it but for some reason she didn't. In a way it was her friend. Not only did it help break her fall when she lost her balance cleaning the gutters but it also brought cable TV into her home, something she enjoyed using every day.

"Can't we just be friends?"

The cable swayed in the breeze.

With the day's commitments working their way into her mind Julie pulled her gaze away from the window. She had things she needed to do, and standing in her bedroom because of a weird feeling she was having was not going to get them done.

She stepped over to her dresser and pulled out a sweater and a pair of jeans, and slipping them on, sauntered out of the room without a second thought.

Louise rang the doorbell, her thoughts alternating between the cute guy she met at the grocery store the previous day and the proposal she needed to have on her boss's desk by the end of the week.

She grew impatient. Julie knew she was stopping by so why wasn't she answering? She switched to knocking, using her knuckles to hit the storm door with short, rapid strokes, but there was still no answer.

Pulling out her cell phone out of her pocket she dialed her friend.

Eight rings later she hung up.

Louise was becoming worried. It wasn't like Julie not to answer her door or phone.

She stepped off the porch and made her way around the side of house, peaking in any window she came across. Julie would understand. They told each other in the past that if anything should happen to one of them the other should do whatever it took to make sure everything was all right.

After trying to look in the windows on the side of the house with no luck she found herself at the gate to the backyard. It was latched close so she hesitated to open it, unsure if she was going too far.

She opened the gate and stepped into the yard.

"Julie? Are you back here?" She knew her words were for naught; the yard was empty. "Julie?" She walked up to the bedroom window, nearly tripping over a wire, and noticed that the blinds were slightly parted.

She inched up to the window, bumping into a low-hanging cable wire, and looked inside.

"Julie? Are you in there?"

There was no answer and nothing but vague, still shadows in the room.

Puzzled, she stepped back from the window.

She didn't see the body in the room, a deep bruise stretched across its neck, the violent result of suffocation.

She didn't see the look of frozen terror etched on the corpse's face.

She didn't see the sinuous beast, resembling a cable wire, coiling around her neck.