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By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 11/03/2021

- Contributed by Ed Rinderle -

It’s Halloween night, and it’s getting late. The few trick-or-treaters that braved this misty evening have come and gone. Outside all is silent but for the occasional soft slurping of automobile tires as they lap up moisture from the damp street.

Donny busies himself with his usual end-of-day routine. He feels a sense of calm; another
Halloween has come and gone without incident. Having donned his pajamas and brushed his teeth, he turns out the bathroom light and with a sigh of relief, he enters the adjoining bedroom.

As he reaches the doorway, he hesitates. He thinks he hears a barely audible sound behind him. He returns to the bathroom, and the sound seems to grow. A sort of buzz, its pitch varying slightly. He turns on the bathroom light and scans the room. He sees nothing unusual at all.

He wonders if perhaps the sound is coming from a neighboring area of the house. He checks out all of the rooms of his small dwelling and hears nothing but silence. In fact, the silence seems to have deepened.

Donny considers just ignoring the sound and returning to bed. But his curiosity is peaked, and deep inside he feels the knife of fear prick at his gut. He thinks he had better check outside.

Donny puts on his outside shoes, wraps a robe around him, and grabs a flashlight. Once
outside, the mist seems to loosen its grip as if to spirit him away. As he circles the house, his uneasiness grows. He feels the need to rush his search, but he wills himself to take his time and pause every few steps to listen. No sound reaches his ears but the dripping of the mist. His flashlight reveals nothing unexpected.
He re-enters the dead quiet of his home. He takes off his wet shoes and damp robe. Returning to the bathroom, he still hears nothing but the deepening silence. Relieved, he returns to his warm bed and buries himself under the covers.

Bzzzzz. The sound returns, just loud enough to banish any hope of sleep. Pulling the covers aside, Donny returns to the bathroom. Once again, he scans the room, more slowly and thoroughly this time. His eyes stop on the linen closet. He hadn’t thought to look inside. As he approaches the closet door, a feeling of trepidation accompanies him. He has seen enough horror films to know that all manner of evil can hide ensconced in a closet. But he summons up his courage and opens the closet door.

BZZZZZ! The sound blasts away at his eardrums! It seems to be emanating from a box on a shelf just below eye level. Dare he reach inside? He knows he must, but fear is tightening its grip. He raises his hand and stretches his fingers slowly toward the rim of the box. The sound now seems not only louder, but angry. After a few agonizing seconds which feel like minutes, Donny conjures up his courage. He thrusts his hand into the box and, grasping its contents, pulls out . . . his electric shaver! He heaves a sigh of relief, and giggles in amazement at what a little imagination can do. He pushes the shaver's on/off button, and the sound disappears. Relaxed now, he retreats to his bed. Sleep encroaches even as he wonders how the shaver managed to turn itself on.

Minutes pass, then . . . Bzzzzz. Now Donny, half asleep, is no longer afraid, but annoyed. He throws back the covers in disgust and stomps into the bathroom. It’s the shaver all right. He snatches it, then hesitates. The light just below the on/off button, the one that blinks yellow when the shaver needs a charge, the one that stays white when the shaver is operational, that light now shines a bright orange. It curves around the on/off switch in a grotesque smile. Hands trembling, Donny presses the button. The shaver goes off, but the orange “smile” remains.

Donny drops the shaver onto the bathroom counter, clasps his shaking hands together, and
takes a deep breath in an effort to regain his composure. Desperation begins to invade his mind. He asks himself what he can do to thwart this enemy who seems determined to wreak havoc on him. Eventually, his anxious thoughts stumble onto a note in the shaver's instruction pamphlet. He recalls that the shaver will only operate for a few hours before it runs out of power. Furthermore, the shaver is waterproof, so he can dull the sound by submerging the beast in water.

A glimmer of hope accompanies Donny as he rises from bed once again and heads for the
kitchen. He retrieves a large pot and returns to the bathroom. He lays the shaver in the pot,
then covers it with tap water. He closes the bathroom door and returns to the comfort of his
bed. His fears wane, and precious sleep comes at last.

Meanwhile, back in the bathroom, on the floor of the shower, bubbles rise to the surface of the pot of water. The crooked orange smile brightens. A soft Bzzzz rises from the depths and begins to grow in volume. The buzzing seems to resolve into an eerie call: “Donny . . . I’m still here . . . ”

Donny, wide awake now and trembling beneath the covers, forces his gaze toward the
bathroom door. There, a huge figure stands, arms outstretched, face blacker than night, eyes glowing red, mouth twisted into a ragged bright-orange smile.

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