Just of route 49, in Clay county Alabama, there is a house. It's abandoned now, slowly rotting away to dust, but in 2001 I lived there. There is one reason I left: fear. It started in October. My dog, George, had died earlier that month at the age of 14, my girlfriend had left me, I was heavy in debt. It's safe to say thing were pretty shit. But one night, things took a sudden turn for the macabre. The phone was ringing, and when I picked up, it was my neighbor Mr Ronson. He said he had seen lights around my property (about a mile down a track from his) and he wanted to check I was okay. After giving him my assurance that I was okay, I headed outside to look for any 'lights'. Maybe rowdy teenagers where nearby or something. I trod through the darkness barefoot, just with my dressing gown and a flashlight. Silence greeted me. Silence and darkness. No rowdy teenagers, no mysterious lights, no nothing. I turned around, and headed back inside, to sleep.
The next morning, I went to check around the property. The front door had a strange symbol daubed on it in black paint. It was two black triangles arranged to make a diamond with a gap in the middle. A line connect the two triangles furthermost points. Underneath was scrawled 'rule of seven' in the same paint. I stared at it in disbelief. This kind of thing didn't happen around here. After calling Mr Ronson, the cops, and anyone else I could think of, I resigned myself to scrubbing it off with a sponge and a bucket of water.
Later that night I entered my kitchen, and saw something white on the table. I picked it up cautiously. It was a sheet of plain white paper. In the middle were the words 'rule of seven'. I swore. Loudly. Someone had been in my house. Someone had been in my house, and I didn't even notice. I locked all the doors, checked every room, then went to my phone. There was no dialing tone, no operator, nothing. Just silence. Someone must have cut the line. I was beginning to panic. I went to my gun safe, and pulled out my weapon. It was a Colt M1911. Loaded. I flicked off the safety. I slowly stalked up stairs to my bedroom, jumping at every shadow. I barricaded the door, locked the window, and crawled into my bed. Sleep was impossible. Every sound I heard convinced me that whoever came in earlier was still inside. I clung to my firearm, and stared at my digital clock.
It was 3:49 when the power went. The clock flickered off, and was quickly joined by the lights. My heart turned cold when I realized the flashlight was still on the kitchen table. I edged open my door. Silence and darkness, just more silence and darkness. I walked blindly down the stairs, weapon at the ready. The only sound was my breathing and the creaking of the floor boards beneath my feet. I reached the kitchen, and grabbed my flashlight. I fumbled with the switch, and the sweet relief of light flooded the room. The kitchen door that led out to the yard was open, shaking in the wind. Even though I locked it 5 hours ago, and the keys were still in my pocket. Just in the corner of my vision, I saw something moving in the shadows. Quicker than a bullet, I swung around. My eyes landed on an empty patch of wall. I stared at it intensely for what could have been hours, when a sharp noise broke my concentration. I panic, backing into a corner. vomit was rising in my throat. I breathed deeply. It was just a dog barking in the distance. The panic began to subside. My stomach clenched and I threw up, onto the cold floor boards. I dropped the flashlight, and watched it roll under the kitchen counter. Putting the gun down, I dropped to the floor and felt under the kitchen counter to grab it. My hand met nothing but dusty air. I reached further down the gap. My finger brushed something. I reached out to feel what it was. My hand was met with another. A human hand. It was cold and hairy. I pulled back in pure shock, but it grabbed me. It's sharp long nails dug into my skin, drawing blood. I couldn't get free. Blood was pouring down my arm.
I was looking at the floor. It was cold and dark. I was lying on the kitchen floor. Had the hand been real? I didn't know, maybe it was a dream. But when felt my arm, It was coated with dried blood. Panicked, I felt around for my gun. My fingers met it's grip, and I pulled it up. I leveled it with the kitchen counter, and open fire. The gun flash illuminated the room, and with terror I saw blood splattered all across the walls. It had been splashed to form the same symbol, and those words. Rule of seven. It was my blood, I remembered now. My fingers were red and raw from scratching the symbol into the wood so many times. Rule of seven. Rule of seven. I discarded the gun, now empty, and ran for the door. The relief of night air met me, and I bolted round the yard to my car. I jumped in, and felt around in my pocket for my keys. When I pulled them out, I started the car, and pulled out onto the track. As I did so, just out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure in the window of the house. I looked away, and drove off into the night, eager to forget.