The night is dark and brisk. A lone middle-aged man walking his dog comes into view, walking up to the front of his house. He takes a long moment to admire his visible breath in the cold Buffalo air. He reaches into the mailbox on the front wall of the house. The Mailbox says “Norwood”.

Scott goes in his home. His wife has prepared some hot chocolate for the two of them. She’s even put marshmallows in it. He removes his coat and boots and grabs his sweatshirt and most comfortable baggy grey sweatpants. As he settles into his couch, his wife snuggles up next to him. He puts the footrest up, sets his hot chocolate on the endtable next to him, and lets loose a satisfied sigh. It’s movie night. The best night of the week. The couple takes turns flipping through Netflix, then Hulu, then Amazon, then back to Netflix, before settling in on a cozy Ryan Reynolds rom-com. Scott’s wife looks up at him.

“Are you sure you don’t want to watch the game tonight? I’m okay skipping the movie tonight if you want”.

Scott looks back at her tentative eyes. “Not in the slightest,” he says, putting her at ease. “That time of my life is over. I think they’ll win it tonight and I can always catch the highlights tomorrow”.

The movie is pretty bad but it doesn’t matter. The two of them are cozy and enjoy watching the subpar direction and laughing. Scott flips on the fireplace and the room fills with a cozy warmth. Yet his mind occasionally flips back to the Bills. Tonight they are playing the Chiefs for the right to go to the championship. The stadium is close enough to the house that he can almost imagine he hears the crowd cheering. Kansas City limped into the game with a disappointing offense. Surely the boys can take care of business this time.

The movie ends. His wife gets up and looks at him lovingly. “I’ll see you in bed real soon” she says, winking. She then rips one in his face and runs off cackling. He can’t help but laugh. They have been married for quite some time by now, the time of not farting in front of one another was over a long time ago. He hears her getting ready for bed in the bathroom and he grabs the remote. Well, maybe the game hasn’t ended yet and he can see the last minute or so. He flips it on. The Bills are 3 points behind and have set themselves up for a field goal.

His heart sinks. Then stops. His veins go cold.

He tries to push the button to turn the TV off but he can’t. It’s like he’s frozen back on the cold turf of the stadium again. His eyes refuse to blink and Tyler Bass hits the ball. For the briefest of seconds, his hope swells. The ball is heading true. But just like that it’s over and the wind takes the reigns and whips the ball to the side. The right side. Far wide to the right side.

5 minutes pass. His wife, brushing her teeth, hears a ping noise. Then another. It sounds like Scott’s phone notification sound. The pings continue. They pick up in frequency. A cacophony of pings forces her to stop her electric toothbrush cycle early and step back out to the living room. She sees the phone on the floor. It keeps pinging. She gets a glimpse of the message. It’s from Scott’s work buddy. “Are you okay? I’m so sorry man”

She realizes she does not see Scott. She looks frantically around the room. She calls to him. Her heart races. She finally sees the TV as the Chiefs kneel down in victory formation. Her panic grows. Suddenly she sees it. A dark shape, tucked in the corner of the room, behind the corner plant. “Scott?” she manages to whimper, almost involuntarily. She flips the lights on.

His face is frozen, locked, twisted into a shape that shouldn’t be. His eyes rolled back in his head. His body limp and cold. She touches his hand…and it turns to dust.

Her screams are never heard.




Because the rest neighborhood is also having a simultaneous meltdown over the game.