Victor Hodge woke up in a cold sweat. There was a tiny knock on the door, accompanied with a diminutive voice, “Victor Hodge? Victor Hodge.” Over and over again, first a question, followed by a statement. The rhythm was perfectly incessant. He half-groaned and replied, “Coming.”
He sat up, slid his oafish feet into a pair of tattered slippers, and dragged them on the floor, nearly tripping on an antique birdcage. He approached the door cautiously. He looked through the peephole, and saw no one. Yet, the tiny knock persisted.
Against his better judgment, he opened the door slowly. On the ground was a ventriloquist’s dummy, lying face down in what appeared to be a pool of vomit. Victor picked it up, looked down the hallway, and quickly closed the door. The dummy reeked of cheap booze.