The bedroom was just as dreary – unnaturally yellow sheets lined the ragged double bed, photographs with loved ones torn out decorated the bedsides and a carpet of clothes lined the floor. I swallowed and pushed on – trying times called for trying measures, and I was trying to not stay there any longer. The bed’s mattress yielded six hundred and fifty dollars from a poorly disguised hole, and an armoire provided some cheap white earrings that might have been worth something. Suddenly the room was lit up like a mall on Christmas Eve and I froze. I peered through the musty blinds and saw a sight quite terrifying for a burglar, two angular and rugged silhouettes approaching the house, their house. I panicked, unsure of what to do. My body screamed to both run and hide. And I couldn’t decide.
I ran out the bedroom and through the kitchen, fleeing the derelict domicile, prepared to do anything to live, but an argument describing the fermenting foulness of the couple’s relationship convinced me to act otherwise. I was stuck once again, muscles locked in place. I needed to move, but where was I to go? A jagged and slurred voice asking for house keys made my heart beat faster and turned my petrified muscles back into flesh and reaffirmed my need to hide. I deeply inhaled – the apartment’s stench perforated my lungs and I hurried back to the bedroom to hide, avoiding the squeaky linoleum as I did so, locking the bedroom door behind me as I entered.
“Megan! You left the door open you redheaded idiot!”
“This is what I mean Sean! Whenever something doesn’t go your way you find the need to insult somebody,”
“Please just stop talking,” the grainy voice moaned as the apartment creaked and groaned as they entered and moved about the house.
“Okay Sean! I’ll stop talking – about your volatile behaviour. How about the one hundred and twenty thousand dollars you owe to the tax office, the way you humiliate me in public or how this apartment is so rancid it keeps the cockroaches away.” The woman says through heated tears. Something had changed in the atmosphere, neither was talking but an uncanny feeling in my stomach let me know that their behaviour had changed.
I got up, out from underneath the bed where I was hiding. They were preoccupied with their silent argument and I saw an opportunity to escape this dreary prison. The window was stiff and refused to open, but with a gargantuan heave I managed to pry the swollen wood up. I was two legs out the window, ready to jump to my safety when the smash of glass and a scream unloaded all of my body’s remaining adrenaline into my bloodstream at once. If I was scared before now I was terrified.
I didn’t want anyone to die, or at the very least get injured, but I didn’t want to die either. A scream and cry for help urged me to act, to do something, but I didn’t want to – I could have been six hundred and fifty dollars richer and no one would have noticed. I needed to go. She probably liked abusive boyfriends anyway – there was no salvation for her. I went to leave, I swear I did, but a noise of metal on wood convinced me stay. The noise of a locked bedroom door. I locked that door! The woman screams, crying, clawing, cowering.
“Why is the door locked! Sean please. I’ll never bring it up again. GO AWAY!” the door handle shakes, wood slams against wood “Open please, please open, please open please!”
I clambered back inside, my instincts screaming at me once again – this time unified “Run! Hide! Flee!” But I endured and continued on my path. The lock clicked as I turned the quivering handle. The door opened. And there she stood her eyes as fearful as a slaughterhouse lamb’s. Her arm – if it could even be called that anymore. It had become a sacrilegious fusion of glass and flesh. All of my newfound confidence evaporated as the woman attempted to run inside but was pulled back by the long, wavy hair running down her shoulders. I watched unseen, as that man turned that decrepit, green, floral wallpaper red, I watched as his face turned from scowl to smile, I watched a knife being ploughed into that woman’s body over and over for an eternity before I had the courage to do anything.
And all I did was run.