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The Door

knock knock

By Jaye PoolPublished 29 days ago 10 min read
The Door
Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

"Marissa - get up!"

Opening her eyes, Marissa woke up from her midday nap to see the shadow of her best friend and roommate Sammie standing in the doorway of her bedroom.

"Wha..."

"It's Thursday, you got work tonight, remember?"

After quickly washing up, pulling her hair back in a bun, and jumping into her work clothes, she grabbed her purse and opened the green front door to leave.

"Bye Sammie! Don't wait up - I'm closing tonight at the bar."

"Take care bestie!" Sammie responded while curled up on the living room couch watching television.

Leaving her apartment unit, Marissa rushed to her dusty grey Camaro. I need to get around to washing my car. I never have time. Just as she was about to open the door, she heard a voice behind her.

"Excuse me?"

Marissa turned around to see a short, elderly lady pointing her finger in her face.

"Young lady! Do you see how you parked?"

"Uh...what are you talking about?"

The woman, wearing a floral bathrobe and pink slippers, walked behind the car and pointed to the ground. "See? See?"

Marissa followed her, annoyed.

"You double parked!"

The young woman sighed. "Look, lady, I'm sorry, I didn't notice."

"How couldn't you notice?!" the older woman barked, her pink curlers bouncing up and down as she continued her tirade. "You do this all the time! I always see this car parked right here, and you keep taking up two spaces! Rude!"

"Uh...lady, I've gotta get to work." Marissa got into her car and started it up.

As she reversed the sports car, the woman quickly moved onto the grass and yelled as she drove off, "I swear young lady, if I see you parked like this one more time, I'm calling the tow yard, and your car will be gone! Gone!"

That tantrum was so unnecessary, Marissa thought. That neighbor lady has nothing better to do than to watch what everybody else does. I wish she would find a hobby. She looked at the clock on her dashboard. It read 4:30pm. Okay, still have time to grab Dana and get to Mortimer's on time for our shift.

A few minutes later, she arrived at a small beige brick bungalow on a quiet residential street. After texting her coworker, a young woman walked out of the white front door and headed towards the Camaro parked on the street. She got into the car and they headed to work.

"Thanks for picking me up. The car's broken down and it's gonna take months to get it into the shop."

"No problem, Dana. That sucks about your car. Are they busy down at the shop?"

"No, it's not that. It's just that the kids' dad is skimping on child support. I'm lucky I could get him to take them tonight since I had my shift."

"That sucks."

"Yeah. By the way, my sister's coming to pick me up after close. Can you stay behind with Walt to clean up?"

"Yeah, that's fine." Ugh.

A few minutes later, they arrived at Mortimer's, a local bar and grill on the corner in the shopping district. They punched in for the evening shift and began work serving tables.

About an hour later, as Marissa had some downtime on this slow night, she noticed a familiar face sitting at the bar drinking a Crown and Coke.

"Hey Adam," she greeted the well-dressed man sitting on the stool.

"Hey baby," Adam responded, kissing Marissa quickly on the lips. "Got off work early so I figured I'd stop by. Don't let me keep you from your work."

"Oh, you're good. We've got a lull. Are we still spending the day together tomorrow?"

Adam looked away and shook his head. "Uh...we've got a new client, and their project has a really quick turnaround. I'm sorry, baby."

"It's okay, sweetie. Maybe next week?"

"Yeah, sure."

Two sets of couples then walked through the front door of the dim restaurant. Walt, who was working in the kitchen, stared at his distracted server.

"Looks like I got work to do," she told him as she gave him a peck on the cheek.

***

The sun shone brightly in the clear blue sky, illuminating the world below. The two-story apartment complex, coated in beige stucco, glowed. Brilliant orange and violet marigolds were sprouting in triangular beds lined in tan brick. The grass was perfectly cut with trimmed edges.

Not a soul could be seen. Not a soul could be heard. The silence was palpable. The air was cool, yet still.

Marissa looked around and noticed her grey Camaro was freshly washed and waxed. Weird. Where is everybody? She thought.

She strolled towards her apartment building, but instead of taking the outdoor stairwell to her unit, she felt compelled to stay on the ground floor. She knocked on the first door to her left.

"Who is it?" called out a gravely feminine voice from behind the door.

Marissa tried to speak, but could not do so. She felt compelled to knock once more. This time, she knocked very hard.

Still behind the door, the voice yelled, "Stupid kids! If I find out you're playing ding-dong-ditch again, I will find your parents and tell them\, and you'll get in big, big trouble! I guarantee you will!"

The door opened. Marissa came face-to=face with an elderly woman in a pink housecoat and matching house slippers. Her expression was one of both annoyance and confusion.

That's the lady who came after me in the parking lot last week!

Just then, Marissa was back in her bed, wearing her pajamas and bonnet. The fingers on her right hand felt slightly sore. She stared at her hand in confusion.

Ugh, that was a weird dream. And why is my hand sore? I guess I slept funny. Anyway, it's gonna be a busy Sunday night and Walt's gonna be on one, so I best get ready for work.

***

Marissa rose from bed on a Wednesday morning. She was off work that day. She glanced out the window to see the side of the parking lot. Cops?

Leaving her bedroom and walking into the front room, she noticed Sammie on the light blue futon watching television intently.

"Hey Sammie! Did you see all the police cars outside?"

"Shh!" Sammie pointed to the TV screen.

Marissa sat next to her roommate and began watching the program.

A young reporter noted, "The murder occurred on the 700 block of Maple Street at the Maple Estates apartment complex."

Marissa exclaimed, "What the?! No wonder the cops are here!"

"Shh!" Sammie shot back.

The reporter then announced, "The victim is 67-year-old Ida Stone. There was no sign of forced entry, and it appears that she unknowingly let in her killer."

The victim's photo then flashed on the screen.

"I...I know that lady."

"You do?"

"Yeah...well, kinda. Remember me telling you about the lady who went off on me in the parking lot last week? Honest to God, that's her."

"According to the police," the reporter continued, "no suspects have been identified. If you have any information that can lead to Ida's killer, please call local police at (555) 555-3456."

Sammie then mentioned, "I heard that she was killed a few days ago, but they just now found her body. Her body was there all that time and nobody noticed until now. Sad."

"For sure. Did I tell you I dreamt about that lady last week after our argument?"

"No. You did?"

"Yeah." Marissa then recounted her dream.

"Creepy," Sammie responded.

"For sure. So what do you have up today?"

"I've got work later. I wanna call off, but they got me scheduled by myself. I'll be the only nurse for that wing."

"Can they do that?"

"Legally no, but the hospital admins don't care. What about you?"

"Eh, just chilling. I wanna spend the night with Adam, but he's on a business trip, and I'd hate to have you come back to an empty home."

"Don't worry about me. Be careful."

A few hours later, Marissa was eating a late lunch when her phone rang.

"Guess what, baby?"

"What?"

"We finished the project early, and now I'm back home."

"That's awesome!"

"Uh...yeah. I need to see you. Let's meet up at the coffee house across from Mortimer's. Give me two hours?"

"Yeah, sounds good. I'll see you then."

Two hours later, Marissa drove to the coffee shop and parked in the adjacent lot. She peered across the street to her place of employment. In the Mortimer's lot was Dana's Kia Sportage. Huh, she finally got her car fixed.

Arriving first, Marissa went to the counter to order.

"Welcome to Joan's Coffee House! What can I get started for you?" a young man asked.

"I'll get a regular hazelnut latte, extra sugar, shot of mocha."

"Okay, coming on up!"

She retrieved her drink and sat at a small table in the corner waiting for her boyfriend.

A few minutes later, Adam showed up. He ordered a drink, then after picking it up, sat at the table with Marissa.

"What'd you get, sweetie?"

"I got a cappuccino. What about you...let me guess, hazelnut latte, extra sugar, shot of mocha?"

"Of course."

Adam smiled weakly. "So, baby, there's something I need to talk to you about."

"Oh, okay. What's up?" He's finally gonna ask me to marry him!

He took a long sip. "So, I've been thinking about this for a while. Marissa, I truly care a lot about you. We've been together for three years now, and I appreciate how great our relationship has been. But I'm bored."

Marissa was taken aback. "What? What do you mean, you're bored?"

"Yeah, I'm bored. Things haven't been exciting between us for quite some time. I care about you, but this isn't going to work between us."

"Are you breaking up with me? Is there somebody else?"

"Yes. It's over. There's nobody else. I made this decision because it's the best thing for both of us."

"Adam...I don't understand..."

"Look, I've got somewhere to be. I gotta go." He then stood up and left, leaving her alone at the table.

After fifteen minutes, Marissa left the coffee house. In shock, she drove around town until dusk.

How could he do this to me?

Why?

I'm so hurt.

What am I gonna do without him?

Three hours had passed since Adam ended their relationship. On her way home, she drove past Mortimer's.

What's that?

She circled the block, and drove past the restaurant again, slowing down to take it all in. She watched as a man and woman stood by Dana's car kissing passionately.

Liar.

***

The sun shone high in the clear blue sky, and the neighborhood, filled with nondescript bungalows, was illuminated. The Camaro, which was immaculate and sparkling, was parked on the street in front of a small beige bungalow. The shrubs in front of the home were trimmed neatly with flat tops, and the grass was freshly mowed and edged. On the porch was a hanging magnolia plant, with flowers of brilliant pink, white, and yellow. With no one to be seen and no sound to be heard, the air felt cool and still.

Marissa took note of the eerie silence.

Why am I even at Dana's house? I can cuss her out at work.

She felt strangely drawn to the warm white front door with a grey screen door. Feeling compelled to knock, she marched up the paved path and stepped onto the front porch. As she rapped on the aluminum frame, the force broke the door off its hinges and narrowly missed her.

Whoa!

She knocked again, this time directly striking the coated wooden door. She stood there for a moment.

She's not here.

Just as that thought crossed Marissa's mind, the doorknob made a jiggling sound.

She's home. She's gonna pay!

The door opened.

What the -

Marissa tried to speak, but nothing came out.

"Marissa - what are you doing here?"

Suddenly, she found herself in bed. Her eyes were swollen from crying for the past several days. At least I'm off today.

Her phone rang.

"Marissa - I need you to come in."

"Walt, I'm off today."

"I know. But I need you to come in. Dana...she can't make it."

Marissa sighed. "I shouldn't have to keep covering for her."

Walt's tone shifted. "Marissa...it's important. Please?"

"Alright. I'll be in at five."

"Thank you, Marissa. I appreciate you."

What's gotten into Walt?

***

Marissa trudged through the front door of the dimly lit restaurant. Walt was behind the bar.

"Hey, Walt...what's going on?"

"Could you lock the door behind you and sit down?"

She sat at the bar and looked around, noticing that no preparations were made for evening service. "Are you not opening up tonight?"

Walt poured two shots of bourbon, then came from behind the bar and sat down next to his employee. "Oh Marissa, you haven't heard..."

"Heard what?"

"Something happened at Dana's house. I don't know how to say this, but your boyfriend Adam...he passed away."

Marissa looked away in complete shock, unable to process the tragedy. After a few moments, she could only utter, "What...what happened?"

"He was killed. They got Dana down at the police station, don't know if they think she did it or what. I...I don't know why he was even there. I'm so sorry, Marissa." He then hugged a numb Marissa.

The two continued to talk while downing shots of bourbon.

"Uh…Adam broke up with me about a week ago. He left me for Dana."

"I had no idea. Can't imagine how you feel."

"Not sure how I feel," Marissa responded, taking one more shot of bourbon.

***

The freshly-cut, viridescent grass popped against the rays of the sun, which shone high in the clear blue sky. The grey Camaro, parked next to the sidewalk heading to the apartment complex, was spotless and waxed.

I haven't even thought about washing my car.

Marissa looked down and marveled at the yellow-red and purple marigolds growing in the rich dark brown soil. The flowerbed was contained by a three-walled, beige brick enclosure.

She stepped back from the living room window and shut the blinds. Looking around the front room, the immaculate cleanliness was noticeable. Not a speck of dust could be seen on the coffee table, the window sill, or the flat-screen TV. She reclined on the baby blue futon. Taking a deep breath, she felt the cool, still air filling her lungs.

As Marissa began to drift off, she heard a sound.

Knock knock!

She sat up. What the-

Knock knock!

She tried to call out, but her mouth emitted no sound. She stood up.

No, don't do it.

She continued towards the solid green door, even as her soul screamed.

No - don't answer that door!

Marissa's hand held the cold brass doorknob, and it began to turn. She pulled the door towards her.

fiction

About the Creator

Jaye Pool

Jaye Pool was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she has lived for two decades. She hosts Potstirrer Podcast, which has political and religious themes. She is writing her first two novels.

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Comments (2)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran25 days ago

    Whoaaaa, so I'm guessing that Marissa has been sleepwalking and has killed both Ida and Adam. And omgggg, you ended it in a cliffhanger! I gotta know what happens next hehehehehe

  • Dylan 28 days ago

    Great story! Interesting twists and turns.

Jaye PoolWritten by Jaye Pool

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