by R.T. Allenson
She took each step slowly, tasting and breathing in the cold air as her heart pounded faster with every second that passed. Her fingers twitching, eyes flickering as the dread seeped in deeper.
The ancient cabinet yawned before her, the darkness within beckoning her to come closer. She knew something was wrong that day – the day when Jeremy told her that he left something at home and that she should stay where she’s at. He left in a rush, left her sitting on the corner cafe to pay the tab and to brave the rain alone. When she got home, her husband had already fallen asleep.
She had always suspected something odd about him though she could never really quite place it; there were times where she thought he was cheating on her and it wasn’t difficult not to think that way. But when he took her in his arms and whispered the words that she craved to hear, she knew that it was just her paranoia getting the best of her. She’d always think of what could be and never what really is and, self-admittingly, that was always her problem.
But the day afterwards, after he left her in the rain and left the following day without saying goodbye, she knew there was something different. Something had changed in him that she could not place. It tore at her heart and she whispered poison beneath her tongue as she scoured the house for whatever she could find that would give her reason for her husband’s behavior.
There was nothing of course – nothing off, nothing different. Everything was the same. No lipstick marks on his polo, no laced undergarments in his cabinet. Nothing at all.
She was about to leave for work, confident that everything was all in her head when from the corner of her eye she saw a crumpled piece of paper sitting innocently on the end table. Her heart jumped as she carefully read the words written neatly with a blue marker.
I left it in the cabinet, thanks again – love Kris
Something inside her exploded, like fury and vehement excitation. She knew Kris and how she had always been absurdly close to Jeremy but he’d always assure her that she was just a friend from the office. In hindsight, she felt her intuition was not baseless after all. There was only one cabinet in the house – in her room made from old wood, the kind that came from trees that stood piercing the sky when great beasts of old still walked the earth only to be felled by the clamor and perversion of man. It was a gift from his family, an heirloom of sorts and that made it worse.
There were no tears, only anger. She tore the piece of paper and stormed into her room. Right there as if waiting for her was the cabinet and in an instant, a sudden fear clenched her heart; something felt different, her room felt different and the cabinet itself, half-open and bearing shadows within, felt baleful to look at. She took each step slowly, tasting and breathing in the cold air as her heart pounded faster with every second that passed. Her fingers twitching, eyes flickering as the dread seeped in deeper. Something was inside the cabinet and she feared it, she was afraid of what she would find within the darkness. Slowly she opened the cabinet’s door; it creaked loudly and sent chills down the length of her neck and as she tasted the air within, she knew that whatever lay inside the cabinet’s bowels would be the death of her.
But she craved for it and as she stepped into the darkness, she knew with a certain clarity she never had before, that things would never be the same.