Happy, ecstatic, joyous, exuberant, there is just no one word to define the feeling when someone special is going to take you out on a date.
And to make the occasion extra special I go to extreme terms and dress up just for him. With a little bit of lipstick, a red dress, and a pair of high heels I am ready right on time. Of course I’ll be ready on time, if I’d be preparing for hours. Restless, I check the windows for any sign of his car, the phone for any texts. And just a few minutes later a horn blows off, and I am pretty sure it’s him.
Hiding behind the curtains, I take a glimpse, confirming that it’s him. Then, composing myself I go to the door to welcome him. Out of habit, I look through the peep hole.
It is not him. There is no one.
The doorbell rings again, constantly.
It is definitely not him.
I look through it again. And I fall back a couple of steps, trying to hold onto something, to be stable. I have never seen such a creature in my life. There is a lean, bony man outside, looking right at me, right at that tiny hole, making his face larger. He is smiling at it, smiling cunningly. He has a dark complexion, with weird teeth, and ears too big for any human face. He is wearing a black mask. He is laughing; I can hear it through the sound proof door. And just when I gulp down the saliva from my mouth, he starts banging on the door, laughing, and screaming, ‘I am going to get you.”
I double lock the door, rush to the windows and lock them too. I run to my room, locking the balcony, bolting every possible door and window, increasing the claustrophobia within. The air grows thick; I am sweaty, unable to breathe, shivering with fear and rage. Doubt and apprehension fill my mind.
Where is he?
Who is this creature?
What is going on?
What am I supposed to do?
I rush to grab my phone, and somehow the battery is drained, wasn’t it charged about 80%, right before he was to come?
The landline is dead.
And then the power goes off.
The next thing I know is I am in my bed, hardly breathing, craving for some air, my mouth is dry, and the mascara from my eyes has spread beyond my pink cheeks. I lay quite, befriending silence, trying to listen to any sound. I have one arm under the pillow, shivering, holding a small gun, when I hear footsteps.
It couldn’t be.
I locked everything.
The shadow neared.
And my terror augmented.
Any thought of the date, a someone special, was nowhere in my mind now.
And then that lean, dark and bony creature entered my room.
His laugh sent shivers down me, and all my mind could think of was “Why me?”
The mask was not my illusion; it was a confirmation, the only common link among all the recent rape cases in the town, of all the women who were raped and murdered. He was the same man, the man with the mask!
He was a serial killer.
In my house?
Our eyes met, and he bent to grab my legs.
I kicked and waved with all my might, tears stinging my eyes. I got up, grabbed the blanket and covered my body, and with the other hand, I held the gun, pointing right at him.
Only it was not a gun. Instead it was a bed side lamp.
Only, there was no serial killer in my room, there was no one.
Only, I had been dreaming, dreaming the plot of the book that I am currently reading.
All sweaty, and craving for some air, I put down the lamp silently, and yet hesitated to open the windows. My mouth went dry at the mere thought of the dream. Sure, it was just a dream but I had seen it too closely.
I gulped down a glass of water, splashing some onto my face and went back to bed not daring to go outside, not wanting to even take a peek outside, till the sun came up.
PS: Currently reading, ‘A Thin Dark Line’ by Tami Hoag.