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Reality and Delusions
She thought she heard someone in the house. She looked around the living room and saw nothing. A small thud on the wall made her jump in fear. She thought the new neighbors were positioning their furniture and adding finishing touches to the walls. The woman placed her homemade, lemon, tea next to a lamp on the end table. The lemon flavor was redolent, and reminded her of her grandmother’s own recipe. She stood up and the clock ticked louder than she remembered it had ever before. The wooden floor creaked as she walked towards the clock. As she reached up to grab it, the arms of her cashmere sweater slowly slid down her forearm, revealing her dark-cinnamon like complexion. She was not tall enough to reach it. Her fingers danced around, struggling to grip the rounded-edges of the clock. A small whimper interrupted her concentration. She lowered her arm and turned the direction of the now escalating, cry. Out of the darkness appeared a small, brown, cat.
She was frightened at first; she did not own a cat. The elegant cat walked closer to her and pressed its warm body on her legs. Its tail flickered as it circled her body. She hesitantly picked up the cat and rubbed her fingers through its soft, thick fur. The cat’s eyes shot to the dark hallway leading to the door. “Ding dong!” the doorbell rang. The cat jumped out of her arms and sprinted to the door. A small knock on the door mad her follow the cat’s lead. A louder knock on the door mad her walk faster. The last knock sent her sprinting in fear. ‘I don’t remember this hallway being so long!’ she thought in a panic. She couldn’t see anything, as the hallway was still dark, and the lamp from the living room faded the father she ran from it. She stopped in the hallway looking around blindly. Then she saw a small, square of light. She walked closer to the light and realized the light was coming from a crack at the bottom of the door. ‘The porch-light is on…’ she thought. ‘…I thought turned it off when I came in.’
“Meow…” The sound of the cat surprised her. It had been behind her this whole time. The light from under the door allowed her to see most things around her. The coat hanger; her muddy, converse shoes; the mysterious cat, and the brass doorknob were now visible. “Knock, knock, knock, knock!” Each knock seemed to get louder and louder. Which meant whatever was out there, was losing their patience. She looked down from the doorknob, and saw directly where the light was coming from: the pet door.
She installed it when she first moved in to the house. Her dog, Maggie, used the door. Maggie died two years ago, leaving her owner all alone. Memories of the dog brought tears to the woman’s eyes. Through her watery eyes, she looked down and saw the cat, fixed on the pet door. It extended its long neck and slowly lifted its paw. “Don’t tell me you’re scared too”, said the woman. The cat relaxed its paw and looked up to her as if it were to respond. “One of us has to do it, you know”, she spoke to the cat.
“Alright, Dani…” she spoke to herself. “…There is a person at the door. Not a bear, not a ghost, not the boogieman. Just a human being…” She thought of the movie “The Hills Have Eyes” where a family was eaten by cannibalistic mutants. “…Not a cannibalistic human either.” She cleared her throat and reached her arm out to open the door. The doorknob was cold, sending goose bumps through her body. She turned the knob and the cat backed from the door. The door opened and cold air barged in the house, strengthening the bumps on her arms.
Outside stood an old woman bundled in layers of clothing. Her eyes widened and she stepped out into the cold. “Grandma!” she said. “Oh, come in, come in!” Dani brought her grandmother in the house. They walked through the still, dark hallway and entered the living room. “I see you love the tea recipe!” her grandmother said.
“Oh, yeah. It’s really good.”
“Sweetheart, what took you so long to answer the door? I thought maybe you weren’t home!” she said. The little, brown cat walked into the living room.
“Oh! There you are, creepy cat!” Dani said, realizing the cat left her when she opened the door. The cat walked towards the grandmother.
“Hazelnut!” she said.
“Hazelnut? You know this cat grandma?”
“Yes! I was just coming over to get her! She must have snuck out.”
“Snuck out? But you live on the other side of the---”
“House!” she interrupted. “I love on the next side of the house! Your house!”
“What?! But I saw the neighbors the other day, bringing stuff into the house!”
“Oh those are the young kids I hired to move me in! Old woman like me can’t do that alone! Plus, I didn’t want to ruin a surprise like that! So… why didn’t you answer the door when I knocked!”
“Oh, I umm…just…I thought you were a cannibalistic mutant trying to eat me.”
“Oh. Well, you don’t have to worry about that.”