It was only five doors down to her own house; a three minute walk on a well lit street on a quiet cold night last October.
But that didn’t matter because Damiana Dergmuse knew she was in trouble the minute that door shut behind her and she heard the tumblers in the lock grind together.
With that sound that half block turned into miles and she was going to have to walk it all alone.
” There’s nothing to be afraid of, ” she told herself out loud. ” There’s nothing out here now that isn’t out here when the lights are on. “
Then she took a deep breath and it froze in her chest and she was about to run back into the house she had just come out of because that rah-rah speech she had just given herself wasn’t going to work.
In fact she was about to have a nervous breakdown right there on the street and how would that look?
It was settled she was turning back.
Before she turned around she told herself one more time…she could do this.
It was only five doors down and she’d be there in seconds, minutes if she could just put one foot in front of the other and move.
Then each of those steps would add up until she would be through her own front door and she would find herself in the safety of her own room and the cinnamon smell that always filled her house during the winter months.
Wouldn’t that be better then sitting in front of a neighbor’s fireplace, in a neighbor’s chair, petting a neighbor’s cat in a neighbor’s house?
Of course it would be better to be in her own home so Damiana started to walk and as she passed the first house she heard a thump, thump and then a drag and a hiss and she realized that was the sound of her own heart stopping and starting in her own chest.
” Stupid woman ” she told herself.
She put her hand to her heart and felt to make sure that it was still beating and when she felt it pound against her hand she started to walk again.
And almost hidden under the sounds of her own foot steps and rapid breathing she heard something sliding across the pavement behind her.
What she heard was a dragging sound, metal against concrete and as much as she wanted to stop and turn around to find out what could be making such an awful sound she couldn’t because now she was three doors down from her own home and in the horizon she could see a thin line of orange in the skyline.
Damiana was sure of one thing, that’s not the last thing she wanted to see on this Earth, so she walked a little faster and as she did the sky filled with crows, hundreds of them and they were flying east.
The sun was coming up, and the thin line in the horizon got a little wider and Damiana could hardly breath and behind her the dragging sound got a little louder and a little heavier and she was determined that sound wouldn’t be the last thing she would hear in this life so she picked up her feet and ran.
The scraping sound got louder and she heard a whoosh and she flew up her stairs and to her door and she pushed it open and without turning around slammed it behind herself.
It was morning and the sun was coming through the windows and outside she could hear birds singing and with that sound ringing in her ears she ran faster up the stairs to the top floor of her house.
” Made it!” she cried with relief, ” I’ve made it!”
Then she laid down on her bed and she said as slammed the coffin lid shut over her head, ” There’s nothing out there to be afraid of…not now anyway.”