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Suggestion

By , San Marino, CA
People tell me that I am very apt to fall under suggestion’s sway. For instance, last Tuesday I was reading one of those deplorable horror novels and, although it was past noon and the sun was shining, I became convinced that there was a bloodthirsty serial killer in the kitchen just waiting for me to walk in unawares. So despite the fact that I was lounging just opposite the kitchen door, despite the fact that anyone wishing to enter the kitchen would have to pass right in front of me to do so, and despite the fact that there was only one way into the kitchen, I was still obstinately convinced that a murderer hid behind that closed door.

And so I sat, unmoving and tensed in my chair, staring at the clean white paint of that kitchen door. It must have been an hour later when, as my stomach began to rumble, my brother burst in, and with one disdainful glance in my direction, sauntered over to the kitchen door.

“No!” I yelled, jumping out of my seat. He gave me a look that said, all too plainly, “You-are-completely-insane-but-we-already-knew-that”. His hand was resting on the metal handle of the kitchen door and I could hardly keep my eyes from it as I exclaimed, “Don’t go in there!”

He decided to humor me. “Why not?” he asked, as if intrigued.

“Because. . . because. . .” How was I supposed to tell him that I thought there was a brutal killer on the other side of the door, just waiting for the opportune moment to slit our throats? “You can’t go in there because there’s a brutal killer on the other side of that door, just waiting for the opportune moment to slit our throats!”

There was a long pause.

“Really?” he asked, his tone dripping sarcasm. I didn’t say anything and he was about to turn around again, when suddenly he took a step forward and bent to pick something up. It was the horror novel. It must have fallen out of my lap when I jumped up. “River of Blood? Seriously?” he asked, reading its title. He flipped to a random page and began to read. After about ten seconds he yawned ostentatiously and dropped the book. “This thing actually scared you?”

Without waiting for my reply, he whirled around and opened the kitchen door. It swung shut behind him and I sat down again. Just as I was reaching for the book, I heard a dull thud from the kitchen and seconds later a little river of red seeped under the door, soaking the pages of a book I would never read again.





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