Category Archives: horror

The Package

Those years when I lived one floor above Haight Street, my bed in a bay window over the intersection and a payphone, 2am screaming 3am crying 4am police sirens, housemate and I throwing beer bottles and shot glasses down at slumming interlopers from tonier neighborhoods, I prayed for a silent room in which to sleep. Now I have that room and a bed as big as an ocean and the silence, pocked only by the occasional chatty owl or pack of coyotes, swallows me. I descend into the maw of a moonless night and visit quietly with all the sins I’ve ever committed, one by one by one, like demon versions of the fence-jumping sheep that allegedly will lead me into the arms of Morpheus.

The thunk of the icemaker pulling water through the house’s pipes compels me up from the expensive sheets (courtesy of a homegirl who works in a bedding shop and is good at finding things that have fallen off trucks – we may carry good purses we paid full price for now, but scratch the surface and we’re still little street hustlers) and in front the white behemoth’s open door. The cold light spills out across the floor as I wince in the fluorescent glare and confirm that nothing has changed – inside is still cranberry cocktail, wine I never drink, chocolates I don’t eat, mineral water. Leafy vegetables bought with optimism and the best of intentions.

I open the freezer, for the sake of finishing the job, and on the fourth shelf down sits a butcher-wrapped package of Cajun red-hots I brought home a year and half ago, bought with hope and visions of a pleasant Sunday afternoon barbecue, smoke from the grill and lemonade and maybe a movie, all phantom projections of an afternoon that never happened. Hot tears sting at the corner of my eyes, I let the freezer door close itself and I sink to the floor, fist to the back of my lashes, wondering why it had to be this way, and think of the other package, more tightly wrapped, more cleverly hidden in the back, behind the frozen cubes of fresh-squeezed lemon juice I made in ice trays before I moved from the last house.

Trio No. 3 (daily prompt)