“Is it supposed to look like this?” I asked skeptically. In front of me was a pan of chopped onions sizzling in olive oil, and I was tentatively poking a spatula at it. I had never actually cooked anything from scratch before so I had no clue what I was doing.
Niall came up beside me, his shoulder touching mine.
“It’s perfect,” he said. “See, you’re better than you think.” He gave me a peck on the cheek. “Just keep pushing them around so they don’t burn. I’ll be back in a second.” He flashed his knee-buckling smile at me and headed out of the kitchen.
I smiled at my browning onions as the feeling of his lips lingered.
A minute passed and I heard something smack up against the window above the sink. I gasped and turned around to look. There was nothing there. It didn’t help that it was dark outside; all I could see was my startled reflection in the glass.
“Niall,” I called, not taking my eyes off the window. Things like this always creeped me out more than necessary.
“What is it?” he answered, coming back into the kitchen.
I felt relieved by his presence. “Something hit the window and it scared me,” I said, turning to face him.
“It’s alright,” he chuckled. He came up to me and wrapped me in a warm embrace. “It was probably just a bird, or a moth.”
“Only a giant moth could’ve made that sound,” I said.
He laughed and kissed my hair. “I’ll just have to go out and look for it then.” He took my hand and we walked to the patio door. “You want to come out with me?” He opened the door and a cool breeze fluttered in.
“No, that’s okay. I’ll just wait here.”
He stepped out onto the patio and out of sight. I could hear his bare feet padding across the concrete towards the window. I warily stared out into the dark, quiet forest as I waited. It felt like there was someone out there.
I could hear Niall coming back, thankfully. “Well, it wasn’t a giant moth,” he said.
“What was it?”
“Let’s just get back to making dinner.” He stepped inside and locked the door.
“Niall?” It wasn’t like him to be secretive.
“It wasn’t anything, just forget about it.”
I had to know why Niall was acting like this, and my worry overrode any fear I might have had. I opened the door before he could stop me and went to look for myself.
“Eww!” I cried as I saw it. Underneath the kitchen window lay a small bone, about the size of one of my fingers.
Niall took my arm and quickly pulled me back inside, locking the door again. “I told you to just forget about it. Now it’ll worry you all night.”
“But how did it get there?”
“Some idiots probably thought it’d be funny to throw chicken bones at a bunch of people’s windows to scare them.” He brushed a strand of hair out of my eyes. “Don’t worry.” But he didn’t seem to believe his own words.
Suddenly there was a shrill beeping that startled us both. It was the smoke detector telling us we’d forgotten our onions.
I looked up at Niall’s shocked face, and he looked at mine. We started laughing. We were being silly by letting stupid pranks get the best of us. Still laughing, he took the burnt onions off the stove and I opened the window to let the smoke out. Once the smoke was out Niall grabbed a broom and stopped the detector.
“We’ll just have to do without the onions, then,” he said.
“Sorry,” I expressed.
“No, it’s not your fault,” he frowned. “I blame those idiots.” He hugged me, then took the pan of onions. “Let me chuck these in the bin outside or they’ll keep the smell in here.”
“Okay,” I said.
He stepped out on the patio again and out of sight. I heard him cry out, and the pan fell to the concrete with a ding.
“Niall!” I ran out thinking that he had tripped, but he was nowhere to be seen. The pan was on the ground, burnt onions everywhere. But no Niall. “This isn’t funny.” I thought maybe he was playing a joke.
I waited, hands on my hips. I listened but couldn’t hear anything. After a few seconds I went inside, shaking my head.
“Jerk,” I said before shutting the door.
I waited angrily at the kitchen counter for him to come back inside and apologize, but I waited two long minutes before I started to get worried. It wasn’t like him to do this sort of thing. And it definitely never took him so long to apologize when he knew he needed to.
Something big hit the house, right under the kitchen window.
Really?! I thought, no longer worried but ticked off more than ever.
I went out the patio door to see what Niall had done.
He was lying crumpled on the concrete against the house. I walked to him slowly, not sure whether he was joking or not.
I let out a horrified scream as I saw blood all over the front of his clothes. His face was frozen in an expression of pure terror except for his eyes. They were expressionless, lifeless. He was dead. And now I was dead.