It All Comes Down to This

Only one of us would survive. I know that, now. It has been almost two and a half years that we have been chasing one another, tracking each other down. Seems like a hopeless cause by now, doesn’t it? All these years later…maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Actually, I have been pretty close to catching you a few times, like that time when you were outside your house watering the sweet petals of your flower garden. I have watched you so many times complete this chore from a nearby oak tree. Me, high up in the branches above your head, just waiting to pounce at the drop of a pin, but the moment was always ruined by some chance event. Like your husband coming out to remind you that the PTA meeting was in half an hour. Or your little Sandy-Jane to yell at you that there was no more Frosted Flakes in the pantry. No matter how ready I am, no matter how perfect I plan my schedule, you always find a way to mess it up.
I wonder sometimes, when I’m lying on my purple-flowered sheets at night, the covers pulled up to my chin in anticipation, if you are outside my window watching me, as I watch you. It’s highly likely, really. I watch you, so you watch me. I’ve only seen you watching me once before, and I still argue with myself if that was really even you. Just the back of your head passing behind a crowd once – the golden brown mix of your luscious locks of hair – and you were gone. A stranger among hundreds – but tracking me nonetheless.
I do not even know if I should be afraid anymore; after years of whipping my head around and expecting you to be crouched behind me on all fours, animalistic fangs present, and clutching a lamp, or some other household item that you could use as a weapon. No, fear is not the right word. Impatience – yes, that is it. As much as I hate to admit it to myself, in the back of my mind I want this war between us to be over. To move on with my life, or to die trying. At least that would end the prickling of the hair on the back of my neck, the feeling of constantly being watched. I just could not take another day like this.
And that’s when it happened.
I was perched in your oak tree, when you finally slipped, for the first time in months. After watering your flowers, you went inside and dusted the mirrors and antiques. But, just as you were entering your backdoor, the phone rang, an ear-screeching ring, and you ran to answer it, forgetting to lock the backdoor behind you. Very unlike you. You always lock the backdoor.
But today you didn’t.
This was my chance; I could enter your home, hide, and catch you off guard. I would finally catch you, finally win. It’s against my usual moral ethics – breaking and entering a home, but I was growing more desperate with each passing day and it seemed like my last chance. After all, sometimes you have to do things you aren’t comfortable with doing, if it means getting what you want. Right? Or maybe I’m remembering wrong…but that determined sensation in the pit of my stomach told me to go on – this is what I have been waiting for. All these years come down to this.
As I stepped inside the flowered-wallpaper kitchen, the slight stench of cleaning fluids pierced my nose. I almost forgot – she was a neat freak. This reminded me to run through a list of facts about her, just in case some came in handy for the attack.
Her name was Olivia Craysaw; she enjoyed knitting scarves for her children in her spare time, making them lunches in little brown paper bags, and she always kept the house sparkling clean. Overall, she was the ideal mother: proud, loyal, and sympathetic to the needs of her loved ones. In fact, if I was not involved in this mission, me and her – we could probably be pretty good friends. I have a family of my own, and my children mean everything to me, so I could see where she was coming from.
Nonetheless, it comes down to my life or hers, my beloved family member’s lives or hers. I like to think of myself as a good person, but when it comes down to decisions as harsh and as rigid as these, a line has to be drawn. I have to put my own necessities before others’, and besides, it’s not like I’m trying to win Woman of the Year or anything. No, I’m just trying to give me and my family a long and healthy life without worry or pain.
By now I’m crouched behind a dark mahogany rocking chair in the living room, one that I think Olivia’s grandfather brought over from Italy. It is beautiful, but under the given circumstances, this was no time to admire the furniture. I heard the creaking of the old staircase, and I knew that her phone call ended and she was going upstairs to continue her knitting.
After putting some distance between the two of us, I followed quickly up the staircase and, before long, I was crouched outside the doorway to her bedroom, and I took a quick peek inside and noticed you are doing exactly as I predicted. I have always been fascinated by the way your long fingers move swiftly with the needles, designing an intricate and delicate pattern that is quite extraordinary.
I squeezed my eyes shut and counted to ten in my head. I didn’t want to do this. Not now, not in this way, while she was perched so innocently with her knitting. But it wasn’t my choice to make – this was my duty. I stepped inside the bedroom, and her knitting fell to the carpet. The red string of the piece unraveled and tangled on the floor. I think it was supposed to be a blanket for little Sandy-Jane.





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fanofcreativity said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 8:00 am
Wow, this had me on the edge of my seat!
 
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