Tap, tap, tap…tap, tap, tap. Becca climbed out of bed and descended the stairs. Rubbing at her eyes and flipping the switch to provide some light. She reached the front door. She held the handle and peered out the window next to it, but saw nothing. The sky was dark. The large round clock that hung on the wall next to the stairs pointed to 4 am.
She opened the door and looked up and down the porch. The swing slowly moved in the breeze providing a creaking to the otherwise quiet night. The sky was bright with the stars and with the moon shining down, it was something she hadn’t experienced in a long while.
What am I doing here? She wondered as she gazed out across the grass. Small critters rustled in the leaves and bats flew overhead diving for insects.
Jenny had not returned. She called and told Becca she needed a night or two with Bo. He needed some attention and she loved him. She would be back, she had said.
To be honest, Becca enjoyed the alone time. Her thoughts had begun to clear from all of the chaos people shoved in with their problems and expecting her to contribute to their solving. Work hadn’t been too out of the ordinary. The hostess complained about her new boyfriend’s sister, the cook worked quickly and asked for advice for his daughter, as if Becca would have a clue. She figured he just needed someone to bounce ideas off of because when you are doing monotonous work, your mind can drift to your struggles. The manager stopped to discuss the politics of the place, something Becca also listened to but did not contribute. She wasn’t about to be a part of workplace gossip and piss off the people in charge.
She drove into town expecting to stay there for the night, had even taken Cora into her apartment, but after her shift, she longed for the country. The drive was quiet and peaceful. Cora curled up in the seat next to her to nap. She couldn’t believe how calm the cat had been for riding in the car each way.
Now she stood on an empty porch. Assured there was no one waiting for her outside the door in the middle of the night, maybe the tapping was all in my head, she went over to the swing. She reached into the trunk next to it and grabbed a blanket, wrapping it around herself. She sat on the swing and pushed off. She pulled her feet up and laid her head against the soft cushion, eyes gazing to the gentle sky. She let the movements of the swing lull her back to sleep, only to be awakened shortly after by the same tap she had heard earlier.
She sat up, alert. Looking around, she saw nothing outside. She kept the blanket wrapped around her shoulders and returned to the entryway of the house. The tap persisted and she followed it into the library. It came from a wall. She placed her ear against it and listened. Tap, tap, tap…tap, tap,tap.
What are you? The tapping got louder and it began to move. She placed her hand against the wall and followed it. It led her to the doorway, the same place where the scratches were found earlier. This time they were ice cold.
She held her hand against it, feeling the coldness. What the fuck is going on? Is this really happening?
“Wake up,” she heard faintly, “wake up.” She felt a pulling at her. She tried to move her body but it wasn’t making the movements she thought up. It felt heavy and solid. “Wake up,” she heard again.
She realized it was her own voice inside her head and she felt her arm move. Her eyes finally opened and she saw the grass filled with dew from her place on the porch swing.
She squeezed her hands shut and opened them again before running them down her legs. Her legs, she slowly moved off the side of the swing. She felt groggy, like she hadn’t slept at all and yet, wasn’t sure if she was even awake this time either. The feelings in her body weren’t the same heaviness and when her legs touched the ground, she felt it pulse through her body. Different than in her dream.
She went to the kitchen and started to put a pot of coffee on. Her motions robotic after having done this every morning for practically her whole life. As it began to brew, she walked to the library to examine the scratches behind the door.
There they were, just as they had been left. She slowly reached her hand up, expecting something, whether it be burning hot or freezing cold, but she felt nothing. It felt like a scratched up wall. She felt the area around it and came to the same conclusion. It was a seemingly ordinary wall.
The light began to flow into the window in a shimmering way. She went to the bookshelf and examined the books. One stood out. Dreams and their meanings.
Ha. Cute, Aunt Jo. She pulled it from the shelf and felt the weight of it in her hands. Upon opening it, she discovered it wasn’t like the usual dream books she had played around with, the ones that tell you that you dreamt of a spider because you are feeling anxious about a test.
The book in her hand was written as a story, a particular story, and it was a little intriguing. She began reading and couldn’t put it down. She continued as she heard the beep from the coffee maker and held the book to her face as she made her way back to the kitchen.