“I. Want. Out.”

I froze as the voice echoed through the living room. It was cold, almost robotic, and I shuddered with fear when I remembered- I was alone.
I was always alone on Mondays. They were my work-from-home days, and I usually relished the time spent by myself- but not today.
“I. Want. Out.”
There it was again- the voice, quietly calling to me from the kitchen, beckoning me to fulfill its desire. I gingerly picked up my cell phone and checked the time. As I did so, an idea flashed through my head, and I called my best friend to ask her opinion on the situation.
She picked up on the third ring.
“Kara, it’s me. I think someone’s in my house.”
“What? How do you know?”
“There’s a strange voice in the kitchen. It’s cold, almost robotic, and it keeps repeating the same phrase over and over again.”
“What’s the phrase?”
“I want out.”
Suddenly, she lets out a peal of laughter.
“Oh, hon. There’s no one in your house. Go look by the back door.”
Bolstered by her presence, I crept forward and peeked into the kitchen. It was empty, and I had just sighed with relief when I heard it again.
“I. Want. Out.”
“Did you hear that?” I asked Kara through the phone, and she giggled.
“Yep. Back door, sweetie.”
Following her instruction, I slid to the back door and looked out the window, but it was empty. Suddenly, something fuzzy touched my foot, and I screamed as I jumped back against the counter.
“Are you ok?” Kara managed to ask through fits of laughter, but I was breathing too fast to answer.
“Out. Out. Out. Out. Out.”
The words rang out and echoed through the kitchen, and I took a deep breath as I followed the voice to the back door and looked down.
There, as innocent as a lamb, was my cat, Charlie. He sat by the back door, his paw on a small set of buttons as he meowed piteously.
“Out. Out. Out. Out.”
“ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!” I yelled as I picked Charlie up and held him to my face. “YOU ALMOST GAVE ME A HEART ATTACK!”
“Calm down, sweetie. It’s not his fault,” Kara replied in my ear, and I set Charlie down as I returned to the conversation. “Remember? I gave you those buttons for Christmas.”
“Yeah, but he never used them!”
“Well, now he does!” Kara chuckled, and I smiled as the adrenaline wore off.
“I guess so. Thanks for being my backup.”
“Anytime. Bye!”
We hung up, and I looked at Charlie with a mixture of relief and embarrassment as he returned to the buttons and started pressing “Out. Out. out.” again.
“Fine, but only for a little while.”
I opened the door and watched him disappear into his favorite flower bed before turning back to the kitchen. Since I was in there, I may as well have some more coffee, and I had just started the preparations when a familiar sound made my blood run cold.

“Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out.”

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