Waddling with not a joy in the world, he knocked on that door. Its hinges were rusted over by the sand dunes of time. Almost all my memories were eroding, unable to survive the barren sands. This door, however, was an oasis that replenished me, and all those gone days were revived. The dent in the bottom right corner of the door reminded me of petty squabbles fought among siblings. Yellow paint peeled off its sturdy front and I smiled remembering the memories made beyond this threshold when the paint was still wet. The home-baked meals that enchanted my gaze away from the TV on Sundays, Mom's hugs that snuggled my deepest fears away, and Dad's bedtime stories that beat even the cleverest Roald Dhal tale. I knocked now with the urgency one has when charging towards a loved one.
No answer. Strange as I recall contacting Mother once I landed on my return. I knocked again, a more stern incessant knock than before. Nothing.
I scrummaged in my pocket past old slips and forgotten coins until my hands got a grip of my phone. Annoyed now, I called my mother but it just rang and rang. Once more I called but it did the same. I followed this by calling all my siblings and my dad but as with the others before it they, just, rang. I called my one and only reliable sibling again and like a dog, they picked up the line after a second try. Wheezed breathing came from the other side, it made my brows frown in concern and my mind race. I asked them if they could come open the door because I needed a rest. No reply. The wheezing of their voice becomes more hoarse.
I do not scare easily but when the wind picked up and tickled up my neck I shivered. The shivering was not from the cool wind but from the manic cries that burst from the other end like a symphony. I pulled the phone from my ear in confusion.
At this point, the sky was ushering people inside their bungalows and sketchy clouds set the scene for my anxiety to take center stage. My feet were aching from the plane ride but my neck was stiff from the current circumstances.
I stepped back from the yellow door and peeked around the sides of the large house. Compelled by the calmness familiarity gifts me I trudged around the side of the house to the back. The cloak of night shrouded all my senses and made even the crunch of a tree branch seem like the end of my days. I was on high alert as I waddled forward and then I saw it.
Faintly I could make out the washing line that stretched from the corner of the yard to the red shed. I reached out and felt the clothes. Still wet. Possessed by curiosity and by the commands of my gurgling stomach I headed to the red shed. Cue the hacksaw killer or the insane scientist were the thoughts in my mind. Humor was something I long used to deflect horror as I often did as a child when something horrible happened.
When I was 16 years old my Uncle, Trevor, fell and busted his head open at camp. My sister was the one who saw it all happen and it traumatized her. I coped by using humor to soothe myself from the obvious tragedy. This tool I would use sadly time and again as death plagued my family like words robbed poets of peace of mind. I inched closer and closer to the red shed that looked less dangerous as I neared.
I undid the latch that held what I wondered and what was apart. I felt like Prospero as if my revels had ended and it was time to take my proverbial bow. The latch hitched open making a clinging sound of metal against metal. One breath in and i pushed the door open to reveal...
Really, nothing, there was nothing there but old tools hanging from ceilings, all the discarded bits of toys long forgotten and medals won. I expected a big horror but it seems the only horror was my reflection in an old mirror in the far end of the shed. Irritated by my mind's overzealous hunt, I slammed the shed shut not bothering to latch it as I stormed towards the back of the house and turned the doorknob, without a flinch.
My stomach now conquered my every being and all thoughts of finding my family were extinguished by my need for food.
I strode confidently through the house making the floorboards groan in response. I made my way to the kitchen guided by years of traveling this very same route. I stretched out my hand to find the handle to the heaven i so sought after. The kitchen light pushed against the darkness while i bathed in its white clinical glow. My eyes traveled over my sibling's torsos and past my father's and mother's dismembered heads. Next to Dad's hand, I found the butter and jam. I grabbed the butter and jam but i first high-fived Dad and thanked mom for the lunch, she always made the best lunch. I then stopped and sighed with relief as now i remembered where they were, i sometimes forget these little things.
Humming a careless tune I buttered and jammed two breads and began chomping on them both. While chomping away i realised why mom, dad, and my siblings did not respond because they were all in pieces over the return of their beloved son. I laughed wickedly, as this was the tool i used to cope with such tragedies. I grinned with jam slipping down the side of my chin,i licked it up with one swoop of my tongue. I went down to the cellar to get a white wine bottle to celebrate my return from abroad when i saw my reliable sibling, one hand tied the other gripping their phone. Sweat competed with one another as they raced down my siblings' taut faces.
They grinned with satisfaction and then the true horror unfolded. A snatch of the phone a smash of the head, thump, thump, silence. I heard the sound of sirens wallowing down the road, so i ran to the front porch and gripped my suitcases i left on the porch, one hand on my siblings' phone. The officers pulled up looking rather blue. I told them i called because I feared something happened to my family. Suspicious eyes rested upon me after they investigated the area so I cracked a joke that left them bawling and their suspicious eyes turned quickly to sympathy as they told me what they saw. I welled up just enough tears to deserve of such a tragedy. Death plagued my family and I was but boy trying to get through it with a bit of humor, What was so wrong about that? Just like the time I cracked open my uncle's head because watching him fall made me giggle.
Haha, to think Uncle's head was full of pink gumballs, amusing.