When I am not in Guatemala documenting amazing people and their lives and culture, I am a member of a writing group in Tucson. This awesome group of people contacted me online today as they met, and I was able to participate in the day’s exercise. The first line that follows was my prompt. I turned it into something just a bit creepy.
“There’s a surprise for you in the garage,” she said.
Something about the look on her face made me think that it wasn’t going to be a surprise of the good sort. She was smiling broadly, but her eyes didn’t match. I played along anyway.
“A surprise? My birthday isn’t until August.”
“Just go look.”
“OK,” I stared at her. She didn’t look away and kept smiling, but it still felt wrong. She was definitely hiding something, and I didn’t think it was good. I hung my coat on the hook in the hall and headed through the kitchen to the garage door. Nothing looked out of place, the afternoon paper was open on the table where she had been reading it (I presumed) when I came home. The dishes were done and still dripping in the dish drain. She never did them until the last minute. I turned and almost jumped out of my skin. She was right behind me, having silently followed me into the kitchen. I laughed nervously, and she joined in with a chuckle that felt as wrong as her smile. “Am I going to regret this?,” I asked.
“Maybe,” she said, and her face went serious. “I don’t know, really.”
“What the fuck? What is going on with you? What aren’t you telling me?” I tried to push past her back into the hall, but she was like a brick wall, standing there impassive, even the smile gone.
“Go. Into. The. Garage.” She sounded downright evil now. All pretense of normalcy discarded.
I snatched a knife from the magnetic holder on the wall, thinking what? That I was going to stab the love of my life? But was this actually her? I hesitated, and in that fleeting moment, she snatched the knife from my hand and stuck it through the cabinet door. Not just into it, through it, all the way to the hilt.
Holy shit. Not her. Definitely not her. Not knowing what else to do, I turned and opened the door. The garage was pitch black. Not even the light from the kitchen passed the threshold. I squinted, but couldn’t see anything. Taking a deep breath and holding it, I stepped through the door.