Since childhood, I’ve possessed an uncanny ability to see events in my mind before they happen. Often times, I may be thinking about a person I haven’t seen in years, and a day or two later I might randomly bump into that person. Or out of the blue, I may recall an old movie that everybody has forgotten about for years and then see the next day that the movie is being replayed on cable TV. This ever useless feeling – that of pseudo-deja vu’ – was apparent to me as I glanced about the interior of the stationary house. Not much light shone, as the heavy curtains, sheened in burgundy, were drawn, and the front room’s only floor lamp was set low, but I made out enough to know that the whole space matched in my mind a memory that should not have been; for, unlike a friend from the past or a rerun of an old movie, I’d not been in a place like this before and should not have been familiar; still my eyes pointed through the room with invisible fingers, checking that the burgundy sofa matches the curtains! was spaced properly opposite the painted white brick fireplace with scorch marks beneath the mantle. And the matching burgundy love seat was positioned in a straight, perpendicular line from the sofa, and the oval coffee table, tastefully embellished with a tea-stained doily, atop which sat a burgundy! candle, and the group was held together predictably with an area rug of brown shades, laced with burgundy floral patterns, and oh how the burgundy highlighted rug and couches and doily with burgundy candle and the same-colored curtains made for such a lovely, matching arrangement.
The room was clean, the room was nice; I wanted to run from the room, to turn and walk out the door, perhaps to hide behind the plastic ivy and lattice. I reached behind, felt for the doorknob, careful not to bump the vase from the side table to my right that I hadn’t looked for, but knew was there.
A cascading thump, a near eruption, followed immediately by another – this I heard from outside the stationary house, and my hand, the one I was reaching with, went numb; my whole body felt numb – the sort you feel in your hands and feet when they are so cold, for nothing is so cold as fear, and fear encased me like ice. That erupting noise outside, I shouldn’t have known, but I knew. I couldn’t leave.
There was movement in the room, at the far corner, entry from the hall; I saw from the corner of my eye. Then it was gone. Glimpsing this movement – quick, erratic, low to the ground – I longed even more to be gone from the place. If I was dreaming, I vowed unpromisable things to the maker of dreams, if I could awake someplace safe, someplace of mercy, someplace anywhere, not here. My eyelids crushed, squeezed a stream of tears, rolling from my terror-frozen face to drop on the pristine, carpeted floor. I picked up the scampering sound of the moving thing, and there were other moving things further in the house, gaining in volume and speed, as though I’d interrupted a nest of oversized mice while they were busy scavenging food, and they changed their course to one of frantic elusion. A third eruption from outside, closer to the house, and I understood that this noise broadcast unlike any natural thing – an eruption of sorts, yes, but as one in reverse. If a volcano were to implode on itself, this may be the noise. Oh my God, no!