As soon as she opened that old, broken door, a gust of freezing air slapped her face. The wind was so strong that it almost blew her away, fragile as she was. The chilly breeze wasn’t the only thing that made her shiver…it was also the realization that dawned on her…the fact that the insistent knock that she thought she heard was nothing but mere hallucination. But it cannot be. She wasn’t day-dreaming like they said she did! She was sure that she had heard someone knock on the door; someone who was impatient, impatient to get inside the house, maybe to talk to her about something. But there was no one out there. The doorway was empty. Wondering about all the terrible possibilities, her knees became puddles. Was she really hallucinating? Were they right about her?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the shrill ring-tone of her cell-phone. She hurried to receive the call, but surprisingly, as soon as she reached the coffee table to receive it, the ringing stopped. Until now, she was only suspicious of something strange that was taking shape, but the recent turn of events only confirmed her doubts. The telephone rang again. This time she picked it up and an inaudible “Hello?” escaped her mouth. There was no reply on the other end. She gave it another try, this time however louder, she said “Hello?”, still no reply. After a few seconds had passed, she heard a familiar sound on the other end…it was the dial tone, slow and steady unlike her racing pulse. She could think of absolutely nothing when it came to solve the mystery of the anonymous things that were happening to her.
What was going on? Who was stalking her?
She could see the deluge through the window pane. The clouds roared and the lightening was blinding. She thought she heard something. She asked herself “Was it the thunder?” “Absolutely NOT!” She heard it again. She hated herself for comprehending the horrifying truth but gave in, eventually. It was that same rugged knock that she had heard. The knock of urgency, of impatience.
Her mind went blank… she could think of absolutely nothing. Should I go and check it out? She asked herself; Yes! said her inner voice but her feet refused to move. Somehow, after the third tap, she gathered some courage and walked up to the door, through the dark corridors of that old dwelling. She looked through the peephole and could see nothing but the cold grayness of the rain. She pressed her cheek to the door, peered closely but to no avail.
“There has to be somebody out there…” she whispered to herself. She stood there, hoping for another tap. She was more curious than she was scared. Time passed, the downpour was now reduced to nothing but a sprinkle. The old house was embraced by an eerie silence. So was she. Her phone rang. She was surprised at the symmetry of events. Gradually, her feet found the way to the ringing phone. She picked it up with quivering hands, flipped it open and the smiling face of her mom greeted her. Relieved, she answered the call. The warm voice of her mother on the other end alleviated her nerves. It had been months since she had heard her voice. She was tempted to tell her about the mysterious things that were happening to her but prevented herself from doing so. She didn’t want to keep her mother on the edge. After a warm conversation, she put the phone down and checked on the time. She was amazed to know that it was 5.45 p.m. She hadn’t realized the pace of time until then.
She fixed dinner for herself, sat on the settee and switched on the television. It sure was a good distraction. Tired of TV, she opened the window and gazed into the night but there was nothing there to see, there was no one in sight.
The icy breeze compelled her to shut the window. She turned and looked around the room. She knew that the place needed a makeover. She also knew that the alteration would have to wait for some more time. She stretched herself on the couch with the intention of getting some sleep but instead was forced to think about the day that was. What would somebody want from her? She was not very affluent nor was there any chance to be, in the future. Gradually, after some contemplation she succumbed to a troubled slumber.
When she woke up, it was 11.07 a.m. She was in no hurry. She was not supposed to rush for an interview or any job. She couldn’t, even if she wanted to. She was unwaged and stood no chance of being employed anywhere. She was surviving on the little money that her mother sent her monthly for basic expenditures.
She was about to sleep again when the doorbell made her jump. She went to the door. She was sure that the guest was in a hurry as he was ringing the bell incessantly. She opened the door in haste and found the postman retreating to his vehicle. She called him and he delivered a note addressed to Abigail’.
She signed on the delivery receipt and shut the door behind her. The typed note read:
The note had taken her by surprise. She was expecting some money from her mother as she had no money left and her mother knew it. The note that she held in her hand had a touch of haziness to it. Nobody knew her name in this unfamiliar locality or at least she thought so, and then who would send her such a weird note? She couldn’t figure out. In any case, she was clear on one front… she wasn’t hallucinating.
She ate her breakfast thinking about these strange proceedings unable to figure out any solid reason for their occurrence. Days passed. She was now surviving on one small meal a day. Finally, one day, when she was explaining the delay for the payment to the milkman, her phone rang. She was sure it was her mother, so she sent the milkman away and ran to the only room that was furnished, the one you have already been introduced to, as soon as she reached the phone. It stopped ringing. She tried calling her mother but was out of credit. She sat down as she could do nothing, nothing but wait. Out of the blue, it occurred to her that she hadn’t shut the main door. She got up, went to the door and locked it from the inside. Before she could turn, she felt a sharp, excruciating pain. She knew there was somebody behind her, she could feel his heavy breath on her neck. But before she could turn to see who he was… she gave way to darkness and then to nothingness. The intruder pulled out the knife that he had used, opened the door and went out of it.