She was sipping coke and listening to “World Looking In”, by Morcheeba, when she first heard the loud hiss. She stopped the music and listened, hair on her neck standing, pulse already racing. Maybe there wasn’t any reason to be afraid, but she’d seen enough horror flicks to know better than that. You always get your doom when you’re unafraid. Of course, plenty of characters met their grisly end in a panicked fright, but that was appropriate because at least they were paying attention.

Tea pot whistled. Phew. Relaxing, she stood up to take it off the burner. She’d forgotten about it completely after finding the last coke in the fridge. Water off the burner, burner off, she went back to the table and sat down.

Tea pot whistled. She whipped around to see it back on the burner, burner on. Her hands started to shake as she quickly rose to remove it from the heat. Again. Water and burner off, she turned and leaned on the counter, wiping her sweaty palms on her shorts.

Tea pot whistled, and this time she felt the steam searing her back. She turned around and grabbed the pot, threw it into the sink, and turned the burner off. She started to cry. She was afraid to stay in the kitchen, but she was afraid to leave it. Then she had an idea. Emptying the pot into the sink, she double-checked the burner, which was still off, and ran into the living room. The sight of her cat, Binkmuss, lying elegantly on the back of the couch made her feel better. He winked at her as she approached him. She sat down and put the pot on the coffee table.

“Come here, kitty,” she said, her voice quivering.

Tea pot whistled.

She refused to go back into the kitchen. Let it whistle! Let it dry out and smoke! She didn’t care! Whoever or whatever was playing this game was going to play it alone from now on.

Then she saw them. Outside, through every window, peered the people. So many people. She stared in shock, shaking all over. They were looking in and smiling large, unnaturally exaggerated grins. Slowly and simultaneously, they lifted their hands and pointed with one finger into the kitchen.

Pots and pans began to rattle.

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