Who’s there?

The old church was silent. Services ended at eleven on Sunday morning. By all reasoning, it should have been empty at two in the morning on Tuesday. But it wasn’t.

Jerome could see the massive shadow lurking in the building. It would move back and forth across the sanctuary, in front of the brightly colored stained glass windows. No sound or vibration accompanied the movement of the beast, though.

“Sam, look at it!”

Jerome’s friend stared at the hulking figure inside the church. He nodded. “Yeah, I see it, Jer.”

“What is it, you think?” Jerome wasn’t well versed in Bible stories, but he was pretty certain he’d never heard of any beasts lingering in a chapel.

“Well,” his pastor friend said, “I don’t rightly know, Jerome. I’ll have to think on it, check my Bible, and pray about it, I suppose.”

Jerome grinned. “I knew you’d know what to do, Sam!”

Jerome started up his battered old truck and turned toward the end of the parking lot. But Sam stopped him.

“Jerome. It stopped.”

“Huh?” Jerome forgot for a moment what he’d asked Sam to look at. “You mean the thing in the ol’ church?”

“Yes. It stopped pacing and looked toward the truck,” Sam said. “You think it heard us?”

Jerome shrugged, but to test his friend’s theory, he backed the truck backward, deeper into the church’s lot. He watched the massive shadow turn to keep pace with the vehicle. His eyes grew wide at the thought the shadow might be sentient.

“Sam!”

“I saw, Jerome. We need to call the police. I think it’s somebody in there.”

The pastor pulled out his cell phone and dialed the emergency line. He reported a suspicious person in the church and hung up.

“Let’s get out of here, Jerome. I feel the need to pray.”

The two men tore off into the night, leaving the figure for the police to figure out.

When the police arrived, five minutes later, every light in the church was on. The single sergeant of the department strode up to the door and checked it. It was unlocked. The seasoned officer opened the door cautiously and stepped inside.

No one greeted the officer, but every scroll of scripture and every decoration was turned upside down. The large crucifix that normally presided over the church was dangling from the giant ceiling fan in the middle of the big, open sanctuary. Under the hanging cross, every pew in the church was stacked, making a pyramid of polished wood.

When the lights flickered rapidly, the officer fled. He was already in his patrol car, calling for backup, when the maniacal laughter began.

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