It’s the feeling of being alone, or maybe just knowing it, that gets me. That must be why I hear
things—outside, first, rustling, probably a raccoon or a squirrel.
I go upstairs and turn on the TV. Golden Girls won’t be on for a while, so I click over to the house
channel, another renovation. It should distract me, I think, should keep my mind on house ideas instead
of on these things I hear in my head and Leah and Brent and whatever we are now that’s turned me into
a liar, too.
I look at the nightstand clock. It’s 7:15; Cody will be here soon, maybe even in time for the big
reveal at the end of the show. It’s just some new tile and landscaping and a couple commercials away.
I focus on the show, and when I hear the crickets—all at once, this time, and loud—I tell myself
they’re in my head. They have to be. The ground’s frozen after last night’s snow. But they just keep
I turn off the TV when I can’t stand it anymore, then open the door and turn on all the house lights
I can reach like the light might make them quiet.
They don’t stop. I run down the stairs. My breath catches at the bottom, when it’s just my
reflection in the big mirror. I must have thought I’d see something behind me.
I cross the kitchen and slap the switch for the outside lights. The wind’s blown a few leaves across
the deck. That’s something I can see, the leaves and the giant maple and the edge of the floodlight in
the corner. And the coffee pot and the faucet. That’s five. I can feel my heartbeat, the blood rushing
through my legs like I’m going to run—what from I don’t know. I know I can’t outrun this. I can feel
the tile under my feet, the brush of my sleeves across my wrists, the vents blowing warm air over my
But all I hear are the crickets.
I sit down at the table and wait. I’m not sure what for. I breathe, hold my fingers like I used to, start
tapping on pressure points and imagining this screaming in my head fading away.
It doesn’t. Then everything goes dark.
Categories: book excerpt