Story Excerpts

The Other Side

Shredding and organizing paperwork hasn’t left me with much time for posting. Selling my place will be worth it, but I sure wish I could get to the selling part without all this work,  and without having to move afterward.

This is an excerpt from a novel I wrote in 2008 and 2009, titled “The Other Side.” If I completely rework the point of the novel, it’s got a great premise.

It’s a day like any other. After finishing my morning exercise routine, I shower, eat breakfast, gather my things together, and prepare to leave for work. As always, it’s a struggle to get out of the apartment without letting Serenity, our kitten, get away. The demonic ball of energy, as I lovingly call her, is frustratingly fast and determined to escape her boring confines. Fortunately, my roommate and I have devised a strategy.

Balancing my belongings in one hand, I grab a plastic toy and throw it across the living room. The second the black bundle of fuzz darts after it, I open the door, slip out, and quickly shut it behind me. Immediately, I turn the key in the lock and congratulate myself on another successful exit. Today will not be a repeat of last week, when I arrived at work an hour and a half late because I spent the better part of my morning trying to locate and capture the runaway.

I’m so pleased with my non-eventful departure that I almost miss the only oddity the morning has offered me so far. In fact, I turn and take several steps before it truly registers. Wait. Is that an envelope? I pause to look. Yes, it is.

Curious, I return to the door.

The envelope is secured to the dark wood by means of a single thumbtack, neatly centered and located about a centimeter from the top of the paper. Its smooth white edges form a stark rectangle below the peephole and above the old-fashioned knocker. My name is written across the middle.

I stare. It is clean and unpretentious, unusual but not so unusual as to justify the flurry of excited nervousness that manifests itself as a twinge in my chest.

It’s just a letter. One of my friends chose an obscure method of communication. That’s all. It’s perfectly harmless. But strange. Very strange. My hand trembles as I pull the thumbtack out, a motion that becomes exceedingly obvious once I hold the paper between my fingers and look at it.

I shiver.

The envelope is fluttering. It’s fluttering and I’m almost not breathing. Why is the paper so cold against my skin? Why am I frightened?

Today it’s going to rain from 2:24pm to 4:44pm.

I blink, bemused. Then I reread, certain I missed something. But no. It’s only a single sentence, penned in loopy, slightly messy handwriting, on an unlined and otherwise unmarked piece of plain white paper.

Barely shaking my head, I turn the note over. There’s nothing on the back.

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