Nightfall draped the small farm house in a shroud so dark and heavy it crushed the twilight’s last gleaming from the sky in one violent, oppressive thrust. The stars. The moon. All that would glow in the night sky was obscured. Curled up on a couch within the home, Hayley shivered as the final spark of light from the sun was snuffed out.
This was a night rife with evil. She could feel it. In fact, she’d sensed it building months ago. A darkness was forming; a portent of great horrors to come and it had regularly enveloped her in a tightening grip of fear, repulsion and dismay.
She’d tried to confide this growing unease to friends and colleagues months ago. Some had tried to ease her discomfort with little jokes, implying there was really nothing to fear. Some told her outright that she was being silly, there was nothing looming on the horizon that warranted her worries and concerns. Still, the sense of dread expanded, engulfing her mind with a bleak despair.
Why could others not sense what she felt so deeply? A beast was about to be loosened; it’s raving fury and unimaginable predilection for terror and destruction would rip and rend, laying waste as it spread its horrors in an unstoppable wave.
And she could actually see the beast, picture it standing before her. Unearthly colours, putrid, rotting in diseased hues wrapping a porcine, ungodly shape that oozed across the land. Stretching grasping paws, she knew it was reaching for her, yearning to draw her into its unholy embrace. She shivered again, not so much from the cold as from the fear that was once again growing within her.
Tonight, she sensed, months of growing unease and dismay could be revealed as justified. The malevolent presence she’d felt building could finally break loose and spill out tainting whatever was once pure with its vile essence. And no one would believe her. She could do nothing to stop it.
Transfixed, she stared into the blue glow of the television screen. Images flickered. Words were spoken. Nothing eased the dismay threatening to shatter her growingly fragile link to a hope that all was not lost. Surely, humanity would awaken to the reality of the threat it faced. Evil didn’t need to triumph, did it?
A sudden change in tone, an increased fervour in pitch from the voices speaking to her from the television jarred her to full attention. She realized she’d been drifting. Lost in a fog of worry. Inattentive to what was developing on the screen in front of her. Now she was back to the present. Now she was focused. And now she realized the horror was about to become real.
She felt a scream building within her. No. It couldn’t be happening. Despite the months of trepidation, she’d held onto a fragment of hope, a sliver of belief that, in the end, it wouldn’t, it couldn’t come down to this moment.
Her throat tightened. Her stomach roiled. Beads of sweat broke out on her forehead. Unconsciously, she raised a fist to her mouth, biting down on her index finger as her head twisted side-to-side – a silent, futile gesture to deny reality.
A voice spoke from the television. Ominous. It’s words sending uncontrollable shivers rippling along her spine.
“Ladies and gentlemen. The numbers are in. And in a complete shock to pundits everywhere …”
“No!” Hayley jumped from the couch, screaming at the faces on the screen. “No! Don’t say it. Just shut up. Don’t let it happen!”
“… Donald J. Trump has been elected the 45th president of the United States of America.”
Wailing in sorrow and fright, Hayley collapsed to the floor in a sobbing heap. Her fears and terrors had come true on a bleak November night. Hope had been crushed. Hatred had won. And the Beast had been set loose.