October 28, 2010 § 1 Comment
I’m sure many of you are not aware of the astonishing occurrence that takes place in my neighborhood every day. I believe it’s my duty to inform you of what’s been happening, so that you are not caught unaware as I have been. This event is specifically confined to my street and only begins at the exact moment it becomes too dark for me to see farther than the pool of cool yellow light spilling from the streetlamps. For some reason unknown to mere mortals, it is at this precise second that my street transforms. It changes shape. Becomes… different.
Let me illustrate further. My street is pictured below, serene in the late afternoon contentment of Pennsylvania’s beauty. On a normal day, I emerge from my car after long hours of slaving away in front of a computer and take a deep breath of the fresh air. Small children are often playing in the field across the street and a friendly neighbor or two shouts hello as I saunter up to my house. I wave back and enjoy the sunshine warming my face and settling on my shoulders. A faint chime of music tinkles out and I hear “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. Before I head up the steps, I stoop and inhale the delicate aroma of the pink roses that gracefully arch up the house’s porch railing. In short, there is peace here in my little portion of suburbia. I am able to walk from my car to my house in all tranquility, unmolested by any evil.
However, there are many days when I am not able to return home directly after work. Important life issues call me away from my restful domicile, such as hanging out at Danny’s so I can watch my DVR’ed episodes of America’s Next Top Model or shopping for the cutest new boots at the mall. There are also those days when I transform myself into a mindless drudge, toiling away at the Café, hawking my wares of snow crab claws and crème brulee to NEPA’s masses. All of these incredibly meaningful activities interfere with my ability to arrive home before the sun has set. And I’ve come to know, when the sun sets in my street, things start to change…
Yes, what you’re seeing is true. As an eyewitness, I can confirm that once it is dark outside, my street becomes a den of the blackest killers and home to strange beasts of prey. Generally I make sure I have all my possessions in my purse and ready to grab the second I pull my key from the ignition. This allows me to make the quickest possible exit from my vehicle, which as you can tell, is exceedingly necessary due to the vile creatures that lurk outside. I grab my can of Mace but its pathetic spray proves ineffectual against the snares set for my warm girl flesh. A huge anaconda has somehow escaped the Amazon, sprouted fangs, and is slithering after me, demonic eyes aglow. A pack of carnivorous spiders hasten out of the grass, clicking their pincers as they come in perfect imitation of Shelob, their mighty mother. Bats swoop out of the sky and entangle their blood-red feet in my hair, searching for the pulsing vein in my neck. I am full-out sprinting to my front door now, four-inch heels threatening to topple me with every shaking stride. I try to dodge the grasping tentacles that have oozed out of the sewer grate as I run under the burnt-out streetlight. Despite my panic, I cannot but notice that somehow a large shrubbery has sprouted from the sidewalk across the street. Why? I wonder. The answer becomes obvious in a moment. It is hiding a white-masked man, who now pops up and begins to clamber over it. The orange harvest moon glints off the razor-sharp steel of the knife he grasps. There is blood already leaking down the blade. What victim has he taken before me? What innocent soul was killed in his rage?
I don’t know. Perhaps I never will. The only thing I know at this moment in time is that if I could only just fling open my front door and let the light and warmth of another human’s presence spill over me, everything will go back to normal. Once I set foot in my house, I am safe. All that I have left to do is make it there alive.
(This post was inspired by Halloween and by what I feel every time I have to walk from my car to my house alone in the dark. I am thoroughly convinced that one night every single one of these things is going to be waiting for me outside my car.)