Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the house of secrets

The moon that hung over the city in the night sky was thick and heavy and red, as though clotted with the secrets of every inhabitant on earth.  She observed it, swirling with its oranges and reds, with a sense of excitement and awe -and just a tinge of fear.  It was two months since Halloween; there was no reason for the moon to be so suggestive of autumn reaping and death.

She tried to take a photo, but the moon, in its typical state, was shy and refusing.  None of her photos would turn out.

Later that night, she opened the first door.  He was playing a music she'd never heard before, and yet it sounded like something she had known for years.  Although he played it over and over, she couldn't place the words.  Indifferent, he pressed the bindi set between her eyes.

She was in a different room when she opened her eyes again.  The boy had in his hands a tray covered with a dome, which he promptly removed.  Underneath the dome was a letter, but the boy snatched the tray back before she could reach for it, and slammed the dome back down atop the tray.

When she woke up, she was in the bathtub, with a towel over her face.  Her flip-phone was buzzing stridently in her hand, which confused her, because she didn't have a flip-phone.  She had a smartphone; she'd had one for years.  Disoriented and slightly unsettled, she pulled the towel from her face and lifted the phone so that she could see it.  There were indeed messages, but she didn't know how to check them, because she didn't know how to use the phone.

The child -the boy -was in the hallway.  She felt embarrassed, until she realized she was fully dressed.  By the time she climbed the stairs to go up to the tower, the boy had vanished, but she'd almost forgotten him.  The 360-degree night views of the place she didn't want to be in the tower were breathtaking, like the thick, red moon she would see three nights later.

She wanted to take a photo, but the flip-phone was still in her hand -and still buzzing -and she still didn't know how to use it.

The boy beckoned to her from around a dark corner to join the party, which she suddenly realized was in her honor, but she was transfixed by the people on the stairs.  It was a couple, and they were looking down upon her as she was looking up at them.  They seemed vaguely familiar, as though they should have been people she'd known for years, but she couldn't place them.  It took her a moment to realize that these were the people moving into her loft.

This whole thing upset her more than she realized.  Absently, she brushed a bit of fuzz from her sleeve, but it wasn't fuzz at all.  Instead, it was a tiny bug.  As she watched with disbelief and more than a little fear, the bug transformed rapidly from a caterpillar into a butterfly -which was momentarily wonderful -but then the butterfly became a monster, its large wings rapidly buzzing and flapping, razor sharp and threatening to cut her.

Anxiously, she waved her arms, trying to keep the butterfly-monster-bird far from her face, but before it could fly out the open window, which beckoned with a bright, yellow light, several thunderous shots in the night jolted her awake.

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