She creaks, she moans, and she squeals, but not in delight.
A slowly spinning ceiling fan, through one newly opened eye... can't remember if I left it on or not. January delivers some nippy nights and usually the fan is left off. When it is on low-and-slow, it tends to creak when the blade with the most buildup of dust swings past my north-facing master bedroom window. Giving out a protest of unbalanced metal against metal. Annoying as shit, but easily tuned out, or remedied by the loss of power, or a higher setting... no big deal.
The front door hinge, also neglected and needing a squirt of oil or WD40, was not on the top of my to-do list as I layed down for the night. Easily forgotten in this crazy life of work, bills, and more of each. That sound never bothered me before, but then again, my life was changing and things are starting to seem more and more ominous for some unknown reason.
The fourth step up the first half of a set of stairs, lets out a wood-on-wood screech that most times is barely audible. In the hustle and bustle of most trips up and down these stairs, it may have been months since I even heard it, much less cared about it. Winter temperatures caused the wood to contract and leave just enough wiggle room for them to slide against each other under the weight of a footfall. Baby powder creeps into my subconscious for some strange reason. A late night infomercial or maybe just an advertisement of some sorts brings these thoughts in about a remedy, but I could care less, even though the sounds of this house seem to be talking to me tonight.
Whispering what I do not want to hear. Possibly a warning of untold dangers. Dangers of what? Not being able to sell my house? Why would I sell my house? Did I have a dream about selling my home during the few hours since I fell asleep? I doubt it.
Other places in the house make noises as well, like the door to the pantry, or the kitchen faucet. Each desiring their own fix and face time with their beloved owner, who ignores them month after month. Maybe this is why I am single? My ability to selectively see and hear what I want, or don't want, has left me with not many people I can call "close".
The doorstop to the second, unused room across from mine, has a distinct clicking sound when the door is moved either way more than an inch. Tonight it talks to me... telling me that I will not sleep again tonight. Telling me that no matter how hard I try, or what I drink, or what pills I take, my night of slumber is over. I wouldn't leave a window open to create a breeze, so the audacity of this house to torment me is beyond my comprehension, especially since my head is still foggy and cloudy with threads of sweet sleep still lingering in my vision.
The house seems so loud tonight. It seems to hate me. It wants me to suffer through another sleepless night, or even worse, another night in which my bouts with sleep are short, and unsatisfying... I hate this place.
Even the decorations annoy me. Not any kind of holiday decorations that were not taken down after christmas. Not pictures or creative pieces of art showing my taste and style, but instead just cheap candle holders and small shelves bought at Ikea. Like the one right outside my bedroom door, which hangs with just enough slack to catch the wind from a slight draft,or my bedroom door opening. It's tell tale scrape of steel against drywall are almost unnoticeable... except to me, and moreso on this night when that sconce seems to be yelling at me. Joining in with the symphony of messages from all around my house. Messages of doom, songs of peril... or maybe just sounds of annoying shitty old creaky house.
Regardless of the intention, I nevertheless was ready, crouched in my walk-in closet when the hooded man entered my room...
My floor was silent under the tread of his black boots. Possibly thankful that I had finally headed their protests of danger, which would suit me well. Any additional sound this intruder makes will only heighten his senses to how betraying this old shitty creak y house can be.
I stand up, and it only takes me one step to exit the closet, as silently as he had rounded the bed to the foot where he now stands. Staring into the blackness while his eyes adjust, straining to focus on a form under the blankets that he has mistakenly thought of as me, I take the final step to close the distance between us.
As if practiced over and over, in some sort of sick ballet of death, a synchronous raising of both our hands, both of our arms outstretched, both holding pistols, happened at the exact same time. This dance is not going to happen they way he thought, is what I am sure ran through his mind, as the barrel of my gun touches the collar of his long black coat.
No doubt the moment he felt his collar move, and I saw the slight raise of the chin... he knew the situation had changed. With this moment came a nice, long, well deserved exhale, followed by an inhalation of a faintly familiar smell. A sweet aroma, a tantalizing and welcome bit of nostalgia that almost took my breath away.
Attempting to hide my shock, a pathetic exasperation of "holy shit..." is all I could muster before she turned her head slightly, revealing a familiar, slender, sweet jawline that lowered slightly as she said....
"Well well well... "