As my fourth post of the month, this post is attributed the Twitter hashtag, #amwriting. It is the third post of my story, “It was Him?”.
Did you miss part 1 or part 2 of this story?
All during her shift as she bagged and sealed the ingredients and folded the ends of the boxes for the next person in line, Caitlin tried to figure out who would give her a message like that. You’re next. Next for what? Is the person going to blow my head off? Or is he going to beat me up? What? Maybe it isn’t a he, but a she.
By the time she got home, she was exhausted from the dread and suspense rolling around in her head all day. Unexpectedly, her landline rang. She tripped over the corner of her overstuffed chair landing face first onto the hardwood floor. “Augh!”
From there she crawled to the in-table where the phone continued to jangle. “Uhmm… Hello.”
“This is Officer Tanner. Just calling to make sure you made it home safe.”
I was safe until you called. “Thanks. Yes, I’m safe.”
“We haven’t found the culprit but we’re looking. Be sure to lock up. Have a good night.”
“You too. Goodbye.” She hung up the phone and, pulling herself up, sat haphazardly on the smaller chair. Abruptly, she jumped up and retrieved paper and pen from the first kitchen counter drawer and sat at her beat-up kitchen table.
She wrote down everyone she knew in her building, including the superintendent, Mr. Hall. Looking at the list, she tried to determine who she might have pissed off unintentionally.
She had raised her voice at Candy because of her stupid dog. The dog had gotten away from her and gone bouncing down the stairs tripping Caitlin up as she was climbing to her floor. Candy hadn’t seemed bothered at all. She said, “Sorry,” and grabbed the leash yanking the pooch to her side.
When the Mr. Hall knocked on her door the other night, he informed her she’d need to find another place to park next week because of road repair. Caitlin’s response was, “You got to be kidding! Where am I going to find a parking place that isn’t five miles away?”
As he sauntered down the stairs, he said, “Not my problem.”
She had countered, “Thanks a lot, lazy butt.”
Could he be angry enough to threaten a tenant?
She dutifully locked her door to the outside hall and trudged to the bedroom hoping to sleep.
The next morning Caitlin walked out of her apartment and locked her door a smidgen earlier, and trotted down the stairs. She knocked on Mr. Hall’s door and stood so he could see her clearly through the peephole. He threw open his door.
“What do you need, Cat?” His robe was cinched at just below his waist. Tuffs of hair decorated his chest in the middle. She could see the top of his white underwear.
“Are you mad at me?”
“You knock at this hour to ask me that?” He gave her a perplexing stare.
“Someone wrote a message in ice on my windshield yesterday morning. It was kind of threatening. At least, to me it was.”
Mr. Hall began to chuckle. Before long it was an all-out belly laugh. She stood in the hall utterly baffled. “What’s so darn funny?”
He leaned his arm against the door frame to get the laughter under control. “Cat, you’re next.”
A horrified look crossed her face. She slowly backed away from Mr. Hall’s door.
“Don’t go, Cat. I wrote that the night before. You’re next to get your walls painted. Remember the note I gave to you a month ago? You need to find someplace to be for three days while I get your apartment painted. I’ll have your windows open for ventilation.”
At first, she could tell she was losing her balance. She shifted from one foot to the other until her head cleared. “So I’m next to get my walls done, right?”
“Right. In two weeks, the painters will be in your place stinking it up. You need to find someplace to stay.” She frowned. I’m being thrown out twice! “When you come back from your job this afternoon, stop by so you can decide the color.”
“Oh! I have a choice?” Her index finger moved up to her mouth as she thought.
Mr. Hall grinned. He said goodbye and closed his door.
Please don’t feel shy about giving me feedback.