As darkness crept over the house, the dweller of the desolate home placed the final beam of wood across the doorway. Every entrance, or escape, had now been barricaded in fear of the oncoming horde. News spread quickly across the countryside of a gruesome plague killing off at a rapid rate, but no further details could be obtained. All anyone knew this far out into the rural backcountry was that the affliction was mobile and the only safety would be to form a fortress keeping those inside separated from the newly formed hell outside.
The man had stored rations for the upcoming winter, but now he questioned if they could last until the end of fall under his current situation. With everything in place for the man to possibly ride out this disease until rescue came, he trusted typical everyday life would be restored.
Night settled and the man lay in bed wondering what chaos the world was being veiled under. That was when he first heard it. A very subtle tapping sound seemed to be coming from his front door. He had blocked off the seam at the bottom of the door frame in precaution of emitting any light to the outside, rendering the man unable to peak at what was creating the curious sound. He knew the horde would spread out to him at some point, but never thought so soon. The man tried ignoring the sound, which turned out not to be very difficult. The sound drifted off, out of his mind, and the man fell into deep slumber.
Abruptly, the man arose from his bed to a commotion outside. It was nearly identical to the sound from earlier, but was multiplied and projected from every side of the home. The sound had become more of a scratching than tapping. The man tried to bury his head in a pillow, but there was no escape.
He sat at the edge of his bed, wondering if this would continue for much longer or if whatever awaited outside would move on seeing there was no entrance. The scratching of what seemed to be claws all over his home started penetrating the very center of his mind. It was not just an abundance of sound, but one of those audible tones that makes a person writhe and shiver uncomfortably.
As time passed, the sound grew stronger. The man felt more were gathering around his fortress with demonic virtue. He seemed to have lost track of time and was not sure how long he had been subjected to this unusual torture. He could feel his sanity was slowly slipping away as the percussion continued to drill deeper and deeper into his mind.
The man began to scream at the walls in hopes of deterring the possible intruders. He twitched and scratched all over, feeling the sound seep into his whole body. The malicious melody made the man beg for escape, no longer worried about the dangers of the outside apocalypse for the current anarchy of being entombed in this indescribable hell was overwhelming.
The abrasive clamor seemed to slowly overtake his mind. Like fingers combing through his brain, the longer the sound persisted, the more sanity it grasped and suffocated. Any thoughts of survival were replaced with escape. He no longer cared about the world’s condition and had given up all hope. This torment would be his grave.
The mayhem outside paled in comparison to the thriving hell that was the man’s home. Every inch of wall behaved like an amplifier with the static on a constant rise. The man had been concerned with how well his home would stand, but now he wished the house would just give up and topple, freeing him from the nightmare to face what could only be chaotic pleasantries in comparison.
Reaching his breaking point, the man started to throw whatever he could at the walls. He screamed and pleaded for the noise to subside but to no prevail. Chairs, cups, lamps, anything within reach he would chuck across the room. The scratching would never end. He tipped over his couch, threw a hammer at the sealed up window, and finally toppled his stove, trying to do anything to get free.
The wood flooring gave way at the impact of the stove. What the man thought may have been an exit from his self-inflicted imprisonment instead raised the sound to a now deafening volume forcing him to his knees and cover his ears. As the man wailed on the floor, he caught a glimpse of what appeared to be two beady eyes peering through the crack. At first, just the sight of some other living being made the man crack a smile. The rat climbed up the hole a bit and the man gasped, for the rodent looked as if its skin had been terribly burned and would fall right off. As the rat moved across the floor, the man now realized what had been creating the scratching outside.
In a split second, the creature that had just given the man a glimmer of hope darted across the floor and latched onto his leg. As he flailed in pain, trying to kick off the demonic rodent, a flurry of movement by the hole caught his attention. Just as the rat fell off the man’s leg and was squashed with a satisfying crunch, hundreds more piled into the man’s home, the scratching and squeaking now at its height of intensity. The man was swarmed by the beasts, ripping off pieces of clothing and flesh, and all he could do was give a cynical laugh, for he would finally be released from the grasp of that anarchic tone which had haunted him.