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The Faulty Cable - Dr. Gregory Serrano

1st Place

The Faulty Cable - Dr. Gregory Serrano


The candle wick crackled as the flame danced lazily along to the hum of the tranquil music emerging from her headphones.

“A fifteen page essay due tomorrow,” she thought frustratedly as a forlorn sigh escaped her lips. She looked away from her assignment and at the flame as it danced along to the music in her ears. 

Without looking away from the dancing flame art, she softly pet her fluffy cat, Mr. Chilledcow, behind his ears.  Purring, he lazily stretched out all four legs and spread his toes. 

“It’s Hallow’s Eve, and Ms. Jefferson decided to assign us this ridiculous paper!” she muttered as she readjusted her headphones.   

“Sometimes I wish I was born a cat so I wouldn’t have to worry about such things in my life”, she scoffed as she looked away from her cat who seemed not to be overly concerned with her looming homework assignment. 

Her set of headphones was aging, and every now and again required the wire be repositioned or else crackling and static would overtake the sound of music.  The truth was, she couldn’t afford to repair the cable, let alone buy a new pair any time soon. 

Pencil in hand, she continued scratching away at the paper in front of her, much as though she was trying her best to shred it to pieces with her pencil rather than actually write with it. 

The soft melodic hum of music seemed to be the only thing allowing her to keep her wits about her. It also prevented her from hearing a howl emanate from somewhere deep outside her dark, fogged, half-opened window.   

Mr. Chilledcow tensed.  He gained to his feet and looked out the window, body erect. 

“Cut it out!” The girl mouthed inaudibly to her own ears, as her headphones continued to emit the tranquil Lo Fi beats. 

The sound of static again crackled through her headphone as she adjusted the wire, all while her hand continued to dig away at the parchment in front of her. 

“All my friends in other literature classes are outside, right now, having fun trick or treating. I just know it. It's so unfair!” she screamed, audibly this time, as her headphone cable crackled again. 

Growing more agitated, she adjusted the wire again, as the light to her room abruptly went dark.  As she looked up at the ceiling light, which now stood there lifelessly, a light breeze blew in threw the window and blew out the candle flame. 

“Great”, she muttered, shaking her head. 

The room seemed to grow cold, as she could see her breath escaping her body in the moonlight which was now the only source of light in her dimly lit bedroom. 

She stuck her hand out once more to pet Mr. Chilledcow, but he seemed to be missing from his perch. 

“Now where in the world is that stupid lighter?” She thought to herself as she fumbled aimlessly in the dark, hoping to light the candle wick once more, in hopes that she could finish this essay on time. 

As she shuffled her feet across the floor with her hands out in front of her, she could faintly see that she had left her lighter on the edge of her bed, across the room from her desk. 

Shuffling her feet confidently towards the foot of her bed, she felt her foot ram into something warm and fluffy.   


“I’m so sorry, kitty!” she gasped as she bent over in the dark and ruffled her cat’s fur. 

She continued to pet away blindly at the soft, warm, pile of fur that remained immobile at her feet, as she leaned over and grabbed the lighter from her bed.   

With a flick of her thumb, the familiar amber glow radiated from the lighter and cast a light around her room.  She continued to massage behind the ears of her cat as she turned her attention back towards her desk. The light of the flame revealed the familiar sight of her brown wooden desk, adorned with the pencil which now rested motionless next to a pile of disheveled papers. As she slowly continued turning her torso in one slow sweeping motion, the flame light revealed a familiar sight on the window perch:  

Mr. Chilledcow.  

He was standing on the window perch, tail as erect as a steel beam, and fur on end as though electricity had just run through his body, his eyes fixated at her feet. A loud, scratchy hiss emanated from his mouth. 

Her fingers instinctively stopped petting the furry entity on the floor. A cold breeze ripped in through the opened window and through the room. Hands and legs trembling, she looked down just in time to see a set of red eyes look up as her lighter flame extinguished.


  • I really loved it. It was well written, I literally just came here to read but it unexpectedly became so interesting and I became so blended into the story that it is making me so curious to know what that entity was and what it would look like. If only I could know!

    Ayush Dave

    November 2, 2021

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